What do you get when you cross a Tiger with an Iguana? Would you believe me if I said a Volkswagen Tiguan? The Tiguan name actually comes from a blend of the German words for tiger (Tiger) and iguana (Leguan).
This is the Tiguan R, the performance model of this medium-sized SUV lineup, and shares its engine with the iconic VW Golf R hot hatch. So, the tiger under the bonnet is a 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder inline turbocharged petrol paired with a 7-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). Maximum power output is 235kW and torque peaks at 400Nm meaning the Tiguan R is capable of completing the 0-100km/h dash in a respectable 5.1 seconds. VW recommends the use of 98RON petrol and the official combined fuel economy is 8.8L/100km and for my week I used 9.8L/100km.
Not only does the Tiguan R have decent acceleration, the ride from the 4MOTION all-wheel drive with R-Performance Torque Vectoring is comfortable as well regardless of the drive mode chosen. The drive modes available include Snow, Comfort, Sport, Race, Off-road, Off-road expert, and Individual. Under Individual you can customise the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), steering, drive, engine sound, adaptive cruise control and light assistance and save it. But just like the Golf R the simplest way to access the performance is to press the ‘R’ button on the steering wheel to engage Race mode!
This is where the iguana becomes evident, as a master of camouflage this lizard simply disappears into its surroundings and the Tiguan R is capable of similar feat. The conservative design conceals the Tiguan R’s performance with only subtle design elements denoting this is racy version of the Tiguan SUV. These include gloss black accents on the bumpers, quad chrome tail pipes, R badges front to rear and 21” Estoril alloy wheels.
The athletic design continues in the cabin of the Tiguan R with Nappa leather appointed seats with a combination of genuine and artificial leather upholstery and the blue R logo embroidered on the seats combined with decorative stitching in blue. Both front seats are heated and have power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear, 4-way lumbar with three memory positions. But by far my absolute favourite feature on the Tiguan R, there is no gap between door sill and seat so you can’t drop tings down there and it makes it easier to clean!
As the driver you will enjoy the sporty looking heated steering wheel, but may not enjoy using the plastic wheel mounted paddle shifters to ‘manually’ change gears with sport mode on the Tiptronic DSG. The digital driver’s dash is also configurable and changes design depending on the drive mode you are in. The only downside here is the old style pop-up head-up display.
The 9.2” colour touch screen display is nice looking and has a smartphone style display with a configurable home screen. The system has gesture control, which I still cannot use, and also voice control that is activated by pressing the button on the steering wheel designated by a feminine looking silhouette. The voice control worked well for me to make phone calls, change the audio selection and enter a destination on the satellite navigation system.
You can connect your smartphone to the Tiguan R either by wireless App-Connect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or by using one of the two USB-C port at the front of the centre console (there is also one 12V outlet located here). Media sources available include AM, FM/DAB, My Media and Bluetooth and I really enjoyed listening to my music on the optional ($1100) Harman Kardon sound system with 10 speakers, 480W total power output, digital 16-channel amplifier and subwoofer.
There are plenty of ambient lighting colours to choose from and I even found one that matched the LEDS in the tunnel I drove through. Some of the other cabin features I liked included the touch controls for changing the air speed and temperature on the climate settings, the cooled glove box, configurable cup holder area and the big drink bottle storage in front door cubbies that are felt lined to prevent rattles.
The rear seats have ample head and leg room for two adults to sit comfortably there and between them the centre seat can be folded down as arm rest with three different sized cup holders in it. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats due to the overall width of the rear seat. There are rear floor mats to protect the carpet, but no mat over high transmission tunnel.
Rear passengers get digital temp control with two central air vents with manual speed on/off control and direction control. If you have young children in the back, you are able to control the rear temperature from front infotainment system and lock the controls if necessary. Below the rear climate controls there is one USB-C port and one 12V outlet and I liked that in addition to standard map pockets in rear of front seats there are also two pockets at top of seats for smartphones. Similar to the front doors there are large cubbies in the rear doors for drink bottle storage that are felt lined to prevent rattles.
The Tiguan R has a powered tailgate for open/close operated from the button on tailgate, key fob and button in cabin. The boot is adequately sized for a weekly shop or pram and a small shop and if more storage space is required there is manual release for 40:20:40 split fold rear seats in the boot. For securing items there are two hooks and four substantial tie down points and a 12V outlet. Surprisingly considering the Tiguan R has off-road drove modes it only has a trye repair kit, in place of a spare tyre.
All model variants in the Volkswagen Tiguan range have a 5-star ANCAP (2016) safety rating and an Adult Occupant Protection score of 36.6 out of 38 (96%) and a Child Occupant Protection rating of 39.5 out of 49 (80%). Passive safety features on all Tiguan models include driver and front passenger airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, driver and front passenger side airbags and curtain airbags for the front and rear. For convenience the Tiguan R has a reversing camera with a 360o view on right hand side of screen and standard camera on left hand side with multiple camera views available with front and rear sensors, along with auto lights and auto wipers.
Active safety on the Tiguan R comes in the form of VW’s IQ.DRIVE system and includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Emergency Assist, Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring, Manoeuvre braking, front and rear, Travel Assist with Adaptive Lane Guidance, Lane Assist and Side Assist, lane changing assistant with Rear Traffic Alert. ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking system at highway speeds (AEB Interurban) showed good performance and the overall ANCAP score for Safety Assist is 68%.
All new Volkswagen vehicles come with a 5 Year Unlimited kilometre warranty and a 1-year membership to Volkswagen Roadside Assist. If you service your Volkswagen at an authorised Volkswagen Dealer, you can receive an additional 12 months Roadside Assistance. An upfront 5-Year Care Plan for the Tiguan R that covers standard service costs can be purchased for non-commercial use vehicles for $ $3,100 (first service free), saving $954 off the Assured Service Pricing RRP.
The Volkswagen Tiguan R has tiger-like performance thanks the same engine used in the Golf R and the ability to be camouflaged in the urban environment like an iguana in the forest. Priced from $68,990 plus on-road costs and as tested my Lapiz Blue Tiguan R with optional Panoramic Sunroof ($2,100) and Harman Kardon Premium Audio ($1100) was $72,190 plus on-road costs. Design your Tiguan R using the online Configurator or visit your preferred Volkswagen dealer for more information.
|The small gap between the front seat and door sill||Old style head up display|
|Digital temp controls for rear passengers||Only comes with a tyre repair kit|
|Comfortable, nice looking front seats||Plastic wheel-mounted gear selectors|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.