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2015 VW Tiguan Review: 155TSI R-Line, 132TSI, 130TDI, 118TSI Photo:
 
 
Peter Anderson | Oct, 22 2014 | 10 Comments

What’s Hot: Refinement on-road, settled handling, strong new diesel engine
What’s Not: Bit dull looking, even the R Line; steering wheel is too high
X-FACTOR: Euro technology and dynamics, and conservative but appealing lines lift the refreshed Tiguan above most in a me-too segment

Vehicle Style: 5-door compact SUV
Price: $28,990 - $44,990

Variants Reviewed
Model Engine/Trans Power/Torque Fuel Claimed Tested
118TSI 1.4 litre petrol, 2WD
6spd man / 7spd auto
118kW/280Nm 6.9 / 7.3 l/100km 10.7 (auto)
132TSI 2.0 petrol, AWD, 7spd auto 132kW/280Nm 6.2 l/100km 9.1
130TDI 2.0 diesel, AWD, 7spd auto 130kW/380Nm 8.8 l/100km 11.3
155TSI 2.0 petrol, AWD, 7spd auto 155kW/280Nm 8.8 l/100km 13.1
 

OVERVIEW

Volkswagen's Tiguan may be the German giant's compact SUV, but it comes with great expectations and, in 2015, has a big job ahead of it.

It has to take on the cheaper, capable and very well-equipped Korean SUVs like the Hyundai ix35 and the Kia Sportage that currently dominate the segment.

The 2015 model year brings with it some new armoury, like a new diesel engine and the addition of the R-Line flagship model.

The Tiguan range starts at $28,990 for the six-speed manual 118 TSI, which is front-wheel-drive only and can be had with the six-speed DSG for a further outlay of $2500.

The rest of the range is exclusively all-wheel drive with the seven-speed DSG.

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The 132 TSI jumps to $36,990, followed by the $39,990 130TDI with the range topping out with the 155TSI R-Line at $44,990.

The wide gap between the 118 TSI is accounted for not only by the lack of driven rear wheels but a noticeable difference in specification.

Options include a $2000 sunroof, $1300 sat-nav, $3500 leather trim and the $2500 R-Line package.

The 2015 Tiguan is a physical facelift that’s as mild as they come, especially for a model dating back to 2008.

The addition of the R-Line branded option pack and the new 130TDI and 155TSI R-Line, along with new standard equipment, has come with just a small price rise to keep it in the hunt in a competitive segment.

 

THE INTERIOR

  • 6.5-inch screen with reversing camera
  • sliding and reclining rear seats
  • Leather multi-function wheel

The Tiguan's interior is a clean design that is weathering well and built extremely well. The seating is comfortable and becomes more so as you work your way up the model range.

The basic seats get the flick on anything above the 118 TSI, replaced with nicely sculpted units with better adjustment as well as a very appealing cloth/alcantara mix.

The R-Line package adds a little bling, including brushed aluminium on the steering wheel, a dinky set of gearshift paddles, R embossing on the headrests and R logos about the cabin.

The 155TSI R-Line also adds the sat-nav and leather with electric driver's seat as standard. Leather is a $3200 option on top of the R-Line package in the lower models.

Throughout the cabin there is plenty of storage, including under-seat drawers up front, bottle holders in the front doors and dual cupholders for the front passengers and a deep central bin that also hides the USB and AUX ports.

However, eyebrows continue to be raised at VW's inability to fit a standard USB port like on the Golf.

All doors have door-pockets and there are also storage pockets for rear-seat passengers.

The central stack has a space to throw your phone ahead of the gear-selector, as well as a small storage bin with a retractable lid next to another open slot, another opportunity for phone stowage.

The 60/40 split rear seat slides through 16cm to allow either more luggage or to bring unruly toddlers within easy reach. The rear seat-backs can be reclined for sleepy pensioners or grumpy teenagers wishing to slip out of sight.

The seat itself is wide enough for three reasonably slim passengers but there is plenty of head and foot-room on offer from the high-set seat. The middle armrest in the rear contains a cupholder.

The new bigger sat-nav screen is excellent and easy to use, with big on screen buttons and a well thought-through approach to shortcut buttons.

The bluetooth pairing was slightly counter-intuitive, but we got there in the end. To avoid burning your phone battery, there's space for 20Gb of music on everything on the 132 TSI and up.

 

ON THE ROAD

  • Petrol 1.4 TSI is front wheel drive only
  • Two petrol 2.0 litre TSI engines - 132kW and 155kW
  • New 2.0 litre TDI diesel has 130kW and 380Nm of torque

The 118 TSI is almost indistinguishable from its predecessor.

The surprisingly strong engine, which is really only a few Nm down on torque, pulls well and the steering is light and accurate.

It rides well on the smallest wheels of the range and is almost on a par with the similarly front-wheel drive CX-5.

The 132TSI isn't noticeably swifter but with more gears and all-wheel drive down below it feels a lot more secure.

The 155TSI in the R-Line shares the swift-and-smooth shifting seven-speed DSG, the engine-transmission package also sharing stop-start and brake energy recovery.

The R-Line's adaptive damping handles the increase in diameter of the wheels to 18 inches more than adequately, smoothing out what could be a very bumpy ride when comfort and normal modes are selected.

The 130TDI is the biggest change to the powertrain options. With another 27kW and 60Nm on tap over the old 103 TDI, this is the absolute best all-rounder for the average buyer.

It pulls cleanly through the gears and is incredibly quiet.

Despite the hammering it copped from the press corps, the new diesel was averaging well below 10 l/100km (so its claimed average of 6.2 l/100km looks almost within reach).

All are excellent highway cruisers but perform just as well around the city.

The 155TSI R-Line is a blast on back-roads, with an ability to change direction without too much body-roll from the high body.

It may not have been super-fast, but it was a lot of fun. All models feature VW's XDL, a sort of electronic limited slip differential that helps quell understeer and improve traction under acceleration.

It isn't as obvious on the Tiguan as on the Golf, but it certainly helps make the front-end point the way you want it to go.

The only real grumble is the slightly high-set (albeit adjustable) steering wheel.

 

SAFETY | RATING: 5/5 (based on 2014 model)

ANCAP rating: 5/5 Stars - this model scored 34.25 out of 37 possible points.

Safety features: Six airbags, ABS, brake assist, brake force distribution, traction and stability controls, engine braking control, fatigue detection, ISOFIX child seat anchorage points.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

The refreshed Tiguan, particularly in 130TDI form, builds on the older model without making any huge changes.

With the addition of reversing camera and a better basic specification without much of a price rise, Volkswagen has ensured the SUV stays competitive. It's not the outright class leader but it does do things a little differently.

It is also impressively refined.

While it's bested for price by its Korean competitors, neither can match the Tiguan's on-road feel and settled handling.

Lastly, in the case of the R-Line model, a picks up bit of 'badge cachet' from the Golf R without the high-performance engines or fuel and insurance bills.

MORE: Tiguan News & Reviews
MORE: Volkswagen | SUVs | Family Cars

 

PRICING (plus on-road costs)

  • Tiguan 118TSI - 6-speed manual - $28,990
  • Tiguan 118TSI - 6-speed DSG - $31,490
  • Tiguan 132TSI - 7-speed DSG - $36,990
  • Tiguan 130TDI - 7-speed DSG - $39,990
  • Tiguan 155TSI R-Line - 7-speed DSG - $44,990
 
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