The Volkswagen Tiguan arguably more of a people’s car in 2021 than its smaller Golf stablemate, given it’s the brand’s best-seller worldwide.
As buyers in most markets move to SUVs for their perceived practicality gains (true or not), it’s a not surprising Volkswagen’s Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 competitor is becoming increasingly popular in what is Australia’s largest vehicle segment.
This year saw the facelifted model arrive in Australia starting with the 110TSI Life base variant, followed by the 162TSI Elegance and R-Line models, then the 147TDI Elegance (on test) and R-Line diesel, and finally the 132TSI Life.
It comes as Volkswagen Australia is battling supply and stock issues across the line-up, with the Tiguan one of several model lines experiencing delays.
On test we have the more luxuriously-appointed 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance, something of an alternative to premium Euro cars including the likes of the (related) Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Volvo XC40.
At nearly $60,000 before on-road costs, is this diesel Tiguan a good buy?
The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance starts at $53,290 plus on-road costs, a $1000 increase on the 2021 model.
Volkswagen Australia has been pretty candid about ongoing stock and supply shortages of various models including the Tiguan, which at the time of writing leaves most variants unavailable on the local configurator.
See the full 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan price list below:
- 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 110TSI Life: $40,590
- 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Life: $44,590
- 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI Elegance: $51,790
- 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance: $53,290
- 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI R-Line: $54,790
- 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI R-Line: $56,290
All prices exclude on-road costs.
The Kings Red metallic paint on our tester adds $800, while the Sound & Vision package (harman/kardon premium audio, 360 cameras and HUD) adds another $2500. Our review subject also featured the $2000 panoramic sunroof.
All up, the Tiguan 147TDI Elegance you see here lists for $58,590 before on-road costs, meaning you’ll be spending well into the $60,000 bracket once the usual fees and taxes are finalised.
That puts the Tiguan up against a number of premium players as well as mainstream competition, including:
- Audi Q3 40 TFSI quattro: $55,900
- BMW X1 sDrive20i: $55,900
- Ford Escape Vignale AWD: $49,590
- Hyundai Tucson Highlander 2.0D AWD: $52,000
- Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.2D: $52,380
- Mercedes-Benz GLA200: $57,789
- Lexus NX300h Luxury 2WD: $60,500
- Mini Countryman Cooper S Mini Yours: $61,900
- Peugeot 3008 GT Sport: $54,990
- Toyota RAV4 Cruiser AWD Hybrid: $46,415
- Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design: $56,990
All prices exclude on-road costs
Choosing the Elegance line in either 162TSI or 147TDI guise brings the following:
- Vienna leather seat trim
- Power-adjust front seats with electric lumbar
- Heated front seats and steering wheel
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Adaptive Chassis Control (adaptive dampers)
- IQ.Light Matrix LED headlights, dynamic rear indicators
- 9.2-inch infotainment touchscreen
- Rear privacy glass
- 30-colour ambient lighting
- Extra chrome and silver exterior trim highlights
That’s on top of the standard specification of the base Life models, which includes:
- 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Satellite navigation
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wireless)
- 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro (virtual instruments)
- LED headlights, fog lights, tail lights
- Automatic headlights and wipers
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Space saver spare wheel
- Power tailgate
- Tri-zone climate control
- Heated, folding mirrors
The Volkswagen Tiguan wears a five-star ANCAP rating based on testing carried out in 2016 on the pre-facelift model.
The Tiguan scored 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 80 per cent for child occupant protection, 68 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 68 per cent for safety assist.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- AEB (low-/high-speed) with pedestrian/cyclist detection
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Travel Assist (adaptive cruise + adaptive lane guidance)
- Blind-spot assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Parking sensors (front + rear)
- Driver fatigue monitoring
- Emergency Assist (pulls vehicle over if driver is unresponsive)
There’s also seven airbags scattered throughout the cabin, including dual front, front side, side curtain and driver’s knee inflators.
As we’ve noted in recent reviews, the facelifted Tiguan brings much of the same inside, albeit with some minor differences.
You’ll notice the new steering wheel, which in Elegance guise forgoes the fiddly touch-capacitive setup fitted to the R-Line, as well as a refreshed interface for the infotainment and Digital Cockpit displays, and a new gearshifter.
Our test car’s Sound & Vision package ($2500) brings a 10-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system outputting 480W, as well as a surround-view camera system and a head-up display with pop-up polariser. In my opinion, this pack is a must-have.
The screens are crisp in quality and snappy in response, and everything works in a familiar way unlike the new Golf Mk8’s fiddly new interface.
We did experience a couple of issues with the wireless smartphone mirroring, though, something we haven’t previously with Volkswagen’s MIB3 system. My iPhone 12 Pro Max would connect but not play phone call audio through the car’s speakers, nor could Siri speak to me.
It didn’t happen every time, but when it did it was very frustrating. It seems to be isolated to this vehicle, though.
As is the Volkswagen way, comfort and ergonomics are a high priority in a Euro-basic way. It’s all logically laid out, the seats are supportive and well-bolstered, and there’s a wide range of adjustment for the seats and steering wheel.
For those who like the high-riding feeling of an SUV, the Tiguan offers quite a demanding driving position that perches you quite high in the cabin which will appeal to many – even if I prefer to sit a little lower myself.
Additionally, storage in the first row is near exemplary, with deep, felt-lined door bins, a large cubby under the centre stack big enough for a large smartphone (though no wireless charger, odd), a configurable cup holder area in the centre console, as well as a large centre cubby under the adjustable centre armrest.
If you don’t opt for the panoramic sunroof seen here, you also get a nifty roof storage system that can hold sunglasses, wallets and the like. It almost has Skoda levels of storage and thoughtful touches.
Build quality is typically Volkswagen solid, though as we’ve found in recent years the company is focusing more on tech instead of all-out tactility. While upper levels of the dashboard and front doors are soft-touch and the touch points are leather/leatherette trimmed and mostly padded, the mid- and lower tiers of the cabin are finished in harder-wearing plastics.
It just doesn’t scream ‘premium for the people’ in the way some of Volkswagen’s previous products have, and could be the key difference for some between the Tiguan and a premium-badged product. It’s still good, though.
Hop into the second row and there’s more than enough space for two tall adults, three at a pinch. Note the large hump in the centre allowing for the all-wheel drive hardware, though the rear footwells are wide enough to compensate.
There’s plenty of head- and legroom for 6’1-ish me behind my driving position even with the optional panoramic sunroof, and the seats slide and recline for maximum passenger comfort or maximum luggage space.
Amenities include a third zone of climate control with directional air vents, flock-lined door bins capable of swallowing large bottles, map pockets behind the front seats, and a fold-down centre armrest with cupholders.
Parents can make use of the ISOFIX child seat anchors on the outboard positions, and top-tether points behind all three rear seats. The centre seat also folds individually if you want to stow a longer item between two rear passengers,
Further back again the Tiguan offers up to 615L when the rear seats are slid forward, expanding to a handy 1655L with the second row folded. It’s easily one of the larger boots in the segment.
There’s remote release levers for the back seats and an adjustable boot floor. When folded, the seats sit almost flat with the floor put in the higher position.
Other handy features include velcro-lined boot floor dividers, cubbies on either side, and bag hooks.
Under the floor, there’s a space-saver spare wheel.
Power in Tiguan 147TDI models comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel with outputs of 147kW (3600-4100rpm) and 400Nm (1750-3500rpm).
Drive is sent to the company’s 4Motion on-demand all-wheel drive system via a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. In most driving conditions the Tiguan will default to front-wheel drive and activate the rear axle when slip is detected.
The oiler features Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) in the form of AdBlue to reduce NOx emissions, and is Euro 6 certified. Idle stop/start is also standard.
Volkswagen claims the 147TDI 4Motion can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds while using 6.1L/100km of diesel. By comparison, the 162TSI manages a 7.0-second sprint to 100km/h and uses 8.5L/100km on the combined cycle.
All 4Motion versions of the current Tiguan are rated to tow up to 2500kg (braked), with a maximum downball weight of 200kg. The 147TDI models quote a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 2320kg.
I won’t beat around the bush, the fundamentals of this Tiguan are pretty damn similar to the other variants we’ve sampled so far.
There’s a sense of solidity, stability and tautness to the on-road manners consistent with other Tiguans and the wider Volkswagen passenger range.
The steering is fluid, predictable and progressive, the overall chassis balance strikes a good compromise between engagement and comfort. The diesel does feel a touch nose-heavy compared to the petrols, but not by much.
What’s really different in the 147TDI versus its petrol siblings, is its character in terms of performance and overall power delivery.
Despite having the second-quickest 0-100 claim of the range at 7.9 seconds (the 132TSI doesn’t have a quoted time as yet and the full-fat R arrives in 2022), the diesel is far more relaxed in nature – lazy almost – mostly in a good way.
There’s 400Nm from just 1750rpm and the Tiguan just rides that wave effortlessly in normal driving, and the engine is refined with next to no clatter entering the cabin – you could almost be fooled into thinking it wasn’t a diesel.
It’s a similar story on the open road, where the 2.0 TDI settles into an almost silent hum, with the DSG sitting happily in seventh at 100km/h well below 2000rpm. There’s always plenty in reserve to overtake, too.
Where it falls down a little bit is the transmission calibration. At times the Tiguan’s bent towards efficiency means it’ll search for the highest ratio as soon as possible, occasionally setting off in second.
What this means is, if you need to suddenly mash the pedal to make a gap in traffic at a roundabout, or coming through a slip lane, there is a moment of hesitation before the DSG drops a couple of gears and gives you that sweet torque.
It’s most evident in Comfort and Normal modes, where response is dialled down a little bit to balance performance, efficiency and comfort – the adaptive dampers are excellent, by the way.
Knock it into Sport and it’s noticeably more perky, but then you’ll need to shift out of that mode to stop it holding gears and making more noise than it needs to.
Back to the dampers, as the Elegance grade is even more comfortable in Comfort than the R-Line thanks to the smaller wheels and chubbier sidewalls. Personally, the increase in comfort and reduction in road noise is a no-brainer.
As noted in previous reviews, Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive assistance suite is excellent. My favourite feature is Travel Assist, which combines adaptive cruise and lane guidance functions for semi-automated driving on the freeway, with hands on the wheel of course.
On the topic of hands-on, the new steering wheel has touch sensors in the rim so you don’t get the annoying alerts to put your hands on the wheel because the vehicle hasn’t registered any driver inputs like my old Golf. It’s the sort of tech you expect from luxury brands, and it’s standard across the Tiguan range as well as the smaller Golf.
The plentiful outward visibility likewise deserves praise (thanks big glasshouse) and you’re aided by an (optional) surround-view camera, parking sensors and mirrors with kerb-side dipping.
I will say the 360-degree cameras weren’t as crisp as I would have liked, and didn’t provide much help when parking at night in the rain. Likewise the head-up display, again optional, serves its purpose without doing anything special.
Night-time vision is boosted by the excellent IQ.Light Matrix LED headlights standard on Elegance and R-Line models. The low-beam is great, as is the adaptive high-beam which is fun to watch go through the motions on poorly-lit roads – yes, I’m a bit of a geek.
The Volkswagen Tiguan is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Scheduled maintenance is required every 12 months or 15,000km – whichever comes first.
Volkswagen offers prepaid servicing plans for the Tiguan: a three-year plan will set you back $1200, and the five-year plan costs $2400.
During our time with the Tiguan 147TDI, we averaged an indicated 6.6L/100km over 586km which including urban errands during Melbourne’s ‘snap’ lockdown and some more extended highway stints. Not far off VW’s 6.1L/100km combined claim.
I learned a couple of things during my time with this Tiguan – firstly, I still believe diesel has a place in modern motoring, and secondly, I prefer the Elegance version over the R-Line.
Especially as an oiler, the Tiguan is well suited to the more luxurious vibe of the Elegance, and combined with the $3000 saving compared to the R-Line it’s a better rounded proposition compared to mainstream and premium offerings.
The diesel only makes sense if you spend a lot of time on the highway, though, so the peppier (and cheaper) 162TSI Elegance is arguably the sweet spot in the range balancing performance, features and overall comfort. If only either the Sound & Vision package and/or the panoramic sunroof were standard.
Otherwise there’s not a lot wrong with the Tiguan 147TDI Elegance, offering the bones and tech of an Audi Q3 in a less showy as well as a more practical and affordable package.
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