Ever since Volkswagen Philippines launched the five China-sourced vehicles a few months back, a lot of people got their curiosities stoked. “Assembled in China” was almost a bad word… well, until it was released to the public.
I was one of them until I actually drove one. VW Philippines let me test-drive a Tiguan 280 TSI DSG Comfortline for a whole week. First thing I noticed upon climbing was the smell; the VW smell. The interior smelled of European finish, not the cheap plastic scent. I knew right there and then, this Tiguan was still a Volkswagen.
The seats are finished in leather/white stitching combination that evokes a sporty feel. The front sets have adequate lumbar and leg support that is similar to racing seats. To help keep costs down, the entertainment system is the ordinary LED system with Bluetooth and USB ports. Four speakers surround the passengers with decent sound. Dash is all plastic, but tastefully designed to blend with the interior. The cargo area can be maximized by folding down the rear seats.
Important amenities, however, were made standard by VW, such as Cruise Control, Auto Hold, rain-sensing wipers, Start-Stop engine feature (You can turn off this option, like we did), Automatic headlights, Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) and front, side and head curtain airbags. One big plus is the huge panoramic moonroof.
A 1.4 litre petrol TSI with Blue Motion engine now powers the Tiguan. Before you scoff at the displacement, please note that it is Turbo and fuel injected. While 150ps (148 hp) sounds low by todays standard, 250 Nm of torque and a 6-speed transmission can propel the Tiguan to a respectable acceleration rate. It’s quite frugal to, with an estimated 10.5km/L average city consumption.
As with almost all VW aesthetics, overall profile and shape is simple wedge and boxy angles, a little conservative but doesn’t go out of style. Similar to its bigger sibling, The Touareg, it’s more of an small SUV than a crossover. Wading height is taller than a sedan, so no problem in traversing minor flood waters. Meaty 235/55/17 wheels add stability during high speed runs.
The front fascia is classic VW design, linear grille that blends with the projector headlamps, and rectangular foglights are caged in horizontal vents. There is also a lower grille in the valance panel that directs air to the cooling system.
Overall, the Tiguan is a no-frills crossover. Simple, yet evokes a luxurious feel that only Volkswagen can give. Sure, it’s devoid of some options that are present with its competitors, but what it offers is more than enough for the typical owner. What you need is what you get.
Price as Tested: – ₱ 1,648,000
Text/Pics by Earl Manalansan