VW's sole SUV offering for the local market has had a rather tough journey of late. Though the stigma on the brand's after-sales seems to have dissipated over time, what's really making it tough now is the ramped up competition.
Despite so, Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) seems confident with the mild nip-tucked 1.4 TSI Highline variant pictured here that was introduced not too long ago. Having sampled it over a recent weekend, we are again reminded that it still drives as good as we once remembered.
For starters, the Tiguan feels unmistakably German at the wheel, in a good way of course. That unmistakably planted and sure-footed feel, despite harnessing typically numb modern electric power steering, is something that remains unmatched in the bulk of its Asian-made rivals.
Another typically Germanic trait lie in its supple suspension tuning, which naturally leaned more on comfort, thus the slight body roll when thrown round bends. Of course, this is both expected and very much forgivable.
Predictably, we know many will appreciate the performance of the Tiguan's 1.4-litre direct-injected and turbocharged heart and slick 6-speed DSG dual-clutch (wet) automatic package. Yes, it' isn't the peppiest in class, but it doesn't feel like its lacking any pep.
Undeniable here too is how easy anyone can maximise this powertrain's efficiency. Unlike many of its rivals, the Tiguan is arguably the easiest to hypermile with, and that's despite it not having novel – read: gimicky – 'eco assist' visual aids found in others.
In fact, achieving VW's official claimed 6.7 litres/100km (combined) fuel economy reading was a cinch, even when subjected to a mix of both urban trawls and highway blasts. In the latter's case, we even saw a reading of under 6.0 litres/100km whilst cruising steadily on an airport run.
ON THE INSIDE
Perhaps what's best about the Tiguan is the fact that it also feels very Germanic on the inside too. There's the impressive overall build quality and high noise and vibration suppression levels for a start, followed by clever use and positioning of soft-touch trims, as well as plush leather seats.
Then there's the Tiguan's respectable features list that includes a dual-zone automatic climate control up front plus a dedicated rear vent, novel 8-inch touchscreen display now boasting Apple CarPlay connectivity, sufficient 12-volt and USB ports, not forgetting the mini tables mounted on the front seat backs. In short, a wholesome, family-friendly environment indeed.
We'll admit, some of the Tiguan's rivals beg to differ here, but the presence of other convenient features such as a powered tailgate, keyless entry and ignition, reverse camera function and the eye-pleasing fully digital dash display will sway many into its favour indeed.
Yes, this is a brand notorious with after-sales service woos in its not so distant past. However, as we mentioned at the start, things don't look too bad anymore if VPCM's pro-active approach to things are anything to go by, especially through its many Volkswagen Cares initiatives.
In the long term though, we're certain that the Tiguan's ease for efficient driving will be crucial in turning it into the ideal choice for many prospects. Lets also not forget its impeccable safety rating thanks to the presence of six airbags, ABS, stability control, hill-hold assist and Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS).
In terms of price, the Tiguan's RM166,560 figure sees it stand a little more affordable over a number of its rivals too, though we know the latter do offer more in terms of kit. Nevertheless, for those seeking a 'basic+' type package, the Tiguan is indeed a solid place to start with.
By the way, for those keen on booking one now, you can do so despite the on-going Movement Control Order (MCO) via VPCM's novel Lazada eShowroom. Do that and you might save up to RM6,000 and even get a year's worth of free insurance and petrol (click here for more details).
Despite its rivals ramping up, the Tiguan still holds up rather well. No doubt, its solid build, respectable drive and decent features count is still a favourable combination for many.
Note: This drive was conducted in in the months prior to the on-going Movement Control Order (MCO). Please comply with the MCO as per the government's guidelines.
Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Highline
Easily the most efficient of the lot, with decent kit list and on-road manners
Is VW's after-sales stigma still a thing?