It might surprise to learn that you can buy a brand-new Volkswagen Tiguan for less than $40,000. But with entry-level specification and two-wheel drive only, will you feel short-changed?
Base price: $39,990. Powertrain and performance: 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four, 110kW/240Nm, 6-speed automated dual-clutch manual (DSG), front-drive, Combined economy 7.1 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 9.3 seconds. Vital statistics: 4432mm long, 1686mm high, luggage capacity 470-1510 litres, fuel tank 64 litres, 17-inch alloy wheels. We like: Value for money, impression of quality, ride comfort. We don’t like: New Tiguan will make this one obsolete next year, another $10k on Tiguan TDI 4WD is money well-spent. How it rates: 7/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? Four-wheel drive is no longer a given with crossover vehicles: most makers now offer two-wheel versions of their off-road-style wagons, a reflection that most buyers have no intention of venturing off the beaten track. This suits Volkswagen perfectly: it’s been on a mission to compete with mainstream Japanese and Korean brands for some time now, and offering an entry-level version of its Tiguan crossover in front-drive has allowed it to bring the price down to just $39,990.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Even in entry-level form, the Tiguan is perky – just like other mainstream VW models like Golf and Polo. It’s powered by the ubiquitous 1.4-litre TSI turbo-petrol engine, with a quick-shifting dual-clutch gearbox. It’s parts-bin VW stuff, but also proven and accomplished. It’s a powertrain with real zest.
You do still miss the four-wheel drive on-road at times, though. The high-riding Tiguan does roll around a little and the front-drive chassis is sometimes affected by weight transfer: when the inside-front wheel goes a little light, it’s easy to generate wheelspin. Overall though, the Tiguan is a competent and comfortable machine. The steering is consistently weighted, the ride is smooth (thanks partly to smallish 17-inch wheels) and the handling predictable.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? The Tiguan benefits from its VW parentage inside, with high-quality materials and excellent fit and finish. The cabin does not stand out for styling or features, but there’s an air of quiet classiness that makes this car feel more expensive than it really is.
The Tiguan is carefully specified to keep the cost down, so there is some compromise in comfort and convenience to keep that price below $40k. You get automatic lights but not wipers, for example. Or parking radar on the rear (no camera) but not the front. Or VW’s semi-automatic Climatic air conditioning instead of the full dual-zone climate setup.
No, the Tiguan 2WD doesn’t necessarily feel sparse. But if you expect to be swathed in luxury just because you’ve gone for the European model, you might be disappointed. The Tiguan TDI 4WD has much more equipment – but then it costs another $10k.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? The Tiguan 2WD is a great buy and a quality product. It certainly deserves consideration if you’re shopping for a compact-crossover in the mainstream space and don’t want or need off-road ability. The only thing that might hold you back is the knowledge that this Tiguan is nearing the end of its product run. There will be an all-new model next year, so if you’re looking at owning this car for the next three years or so, you might want to wait. Although, who knows whether VW will be able to offer a model at this price again?
EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST Air conditioning: Climate Audio: CD, iPod compatible Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/no Blind spot warning: No Bluetooth: Yes Cruise control: Yes Driver footrest: Yes Gas discharge headlights: No Head-up display: No Heated/ventilated seats: No Keyless entry/start: No Lane guidance: No Leather upholstery: No Parking radar: Rear Power boot or tailgate: No Power seat adjustment/memory: No Remote audio controls: Yes Satellite navigation: No Seat height adjustment: Yes Self-parking technology: No Split/folding rear seats: 60/40 Steering reach adjustment: Yes Stop-start: No Trip computer: Yes
Find a Volkswagen Tiguan TDI HERE