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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 132 TSI Comfortline owner review

  • Performance, refined engine, fun to drive
  • Features
  • Build quality
  • No LED headlights
  • 3 years of warranty
  • Sound system

About the Volkswagen Tiguan

Anonymous purchased this Volkswagen Tiguan new with additional options for $56,740 (including all on-road costs). Anonymous would buy this car again because: “Decent-looking midsize SUV with more than enough performance with all the features you would need. If you’re after a midsize SUV that drives well, performs well, practical and is better built, for the price, I think this is as good as it gets. Fortunately I have nothing much to complain about.”

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

It has been four years since I bought this vehicle in the year 2018 (January). It is a MY18 vehicle built in Germany as per the VIN. I have done about 60,000km so far and to be honest I have not had any issues with it. Apart from the usual annual services, I never had to visit the dealership for anything.

I have looked after the vehicle as best as I could with regular maintenance services on time at the Volkswagen dealerships at the standard rates. I must mention the battery had to be replaced in around three years which I believe is mostly due to the face the vehicle was left unused for some time during the COVID lockdowns but VW replaced it including a site visit under the warranty.

Also, the tires were replaced at around 56,000km. The vehicle came equipped with Michelin Primacy 3 tires which were great for this vehicle, offering great confidence in all conditions, and never had a flat tire in their lifetime.

Unsurprisingly I replaced them with Primacy 4 even though they are on the premium side of prices.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

As mentioned above for the four years I have owned the vehicle, it has been great along the journey and I love it.

The standard service costs are on the higher side but I believe other manufacturers are also catching up in this regard, apart from Toyota I believe. I would also recommend taking the three- or five-year service packages as they would cut down the costs considerably.

I also missed out on the five-year warranty VW now offers on all vehicles. The vehicle requires minimum 95 RON fuel and I have always managed to use the 98 RON. Not sure if it makes any difference to the performance or long-term reliability.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

Not much to complain about. I bought the vehicle from one of the Volkswagen dealerships in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The vehicle was delivered within two weeks of placing the order. The dealer was also kind enough to provide me two giant Volkswagen branded umbrellas which I still use in heavy rains.

The regular services were done to my satisfaction and given I did not have any complaints, I did not need to interact much with them. I must point out that there was once a scratch on the panel which I noticed immediately after my second service but they were happy to fix it on the same day.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

Yes. The total driveway price was $56,740. I selected two options that were available at the time: Luxury Package for $4545.45 and the Driver Assistance package for $1818.18.

The dealer also charged me $1081.82 for a protective leather pack. If I remember correctly, the Luxury Package includes a panoramic sunroof, which makes a huge difference to the cabin feel, and leather seats.

The driver assistance package includes a 360-degree camera, active info display, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, auto-emergency braking both front and rear, blind-spot monitoring, and a park assist. I have detailed all the features in another section below.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

If you prefer a vehicle that drives well and offers more than adequate performance with a refined engine and nice quality interiors with decent slightly conservative looks then this vehicle is perfect.

I believe the engine is borrowed from the Golf GTI, however detuned to 132kW of power and 320Nm of torque. Even though the power is low compared to the GTI, I feel the 4Motion all-wheel drive system makes up for it.

Volkswagen claims 7.5 seconds from 0-100km/h for this version of the Tiguan and it feels true in the real world. The 162TSI drops this another second if you need more performance. There is no doubt the Tiguan models offered in Australia are powerful.

There is also Sport mode and Individual modes, along with off-road and snow modes. I usually drive in the Normal mode and found Sport useful in quick overtakes. It is also very easy to switching by just pushing the DSG stick once downward.

I must point out that the engine does have a sporty note to it and shows it is never under stress even with hard accelerations. It is a very refined engine and no wonder VW uses it in most of its vehicles. The low down torque is what makes a significant difference to the performance of the vehicle than the above mentioned power figure.

It is a characteristic of most VW petrol engines where they have often moderate power figures but noticeably higher torque from very low revs, and that is what really surprises you in the real-world driving from standstill or going up the hills. If you are new to the VW DSG some people may find flooring the acceleration pedal there is a slight hesitation from the vehicle to move forward.

However, if you have been the driving the vehicle for sometime then you would not feel it. For me the trick is to accelerate exponentially, in other words press the pedal gently a little and then floor it. You would get used to it and would not notice it at all after a while.

The long-term efficiency indicated on the instrument cluster is 7.4L per 100km which I think is not bad for a petrol car with this amount of performance. The figure does drop below 7.0 sometimes on the long journeys. I feel the efficiency increased over the life of the vehicle.

The fuel tank size is 60L which should be good enough for 800km from a single tank of fuel. The vehicle also comes equipped with auto stop/start which I found to be working seamlessly. I felt it turns off the engine even before the vehicle comes to a complete stop and turns the engine back on instantly as soon as you lift off the brakes or move the steering.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

I think when I bought this vehicle in 2018, the technology offered was class-leading. The 360-degree camera quality is excellent, to be honest. Also the Audi-like active info display – a digital instrument cluster really uplifts the cabin feel. I believe the customisations offered in this and the screen quality are still the best in class even by today’s standards.

Lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise are fantastic and these features really help in the long-distance interstate travels, driving in the poor light conditions and the poor weather. The system also alerts the driver through vibrations in the steering wheel when you try to switch lanes if there is a vehicle in the blind spot.

The steering also feels seemingly heavier to turn in such situations. The same applies if you try to change the lanes without turning the indicators on. However, I must point out that the system does disable itself when driving on the long dirt roads as the dust starts to cover the radar at the front or if you take the vehicle into snow. But this is very rare and it comes back online after sometime.

Other minor features include low temperature notifications when the outside temperature starts dropping below 5 degrees. Driver coffee break alerts when you drive continuously for few hours. Auto dimming rear view mirror. Electric handbrake.

Auto hold, which holds the vehicle from moving while on the very steep roads. Electric tailgate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired). Keyless entry, where to lock the doors you just need to swipe the door handle and it unlocks when you grab the door handle (no buttons). The standard wheel size was 17 inches for this model and came equipped with the Michelin Primacy 3 tyres.

One of the features that’s missing and I would have loved to have are LED headlights. They make a huge difference to the looks of the car. To be honest I did not realise this until the day I took the delivery of the car.

It is good to see that the latest generation of Tiguans are offered with matrix LED headlights which are also likely to appear in the next generation of Polo as well. I would definitely tick those if I am replacing my current one.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

The performance and handling of this car are what make it really fun to drive. Obviously, it is not a performance or track-oriented car but it’s a great combination of mid-sized family SUV with the added fun factor as a bonus.

You would feel more confident to make turns even at high speeds than you could probably do in another car in the same segment. The same is evident on roundabout exits or on twisty mountain roads. The low-down torque is also what makes so much difference and really pushes you forward or out of the corners.

If you are on the cruise control which I use almost all the time, the system also slows down the vehicle automatically depending on the steering position, thus providing more control. All in all, at this price range and in this segment, I believe this is as good as it gets.

Coming to the comfort, given that this vehicle is slightly tuned towards sporty driving, some may find the suspension as firm compared to other vehicles in this segment. It is not bad by any means but I guess it depends on what matters to you the most.

The seats are very comfortable and you would not feel fatigued even on very long drives. It has been my primary vehicle for long road trips covering 1000s of km a day and I could not fault it. Last year I did take the vehicle to the outback (Melb-Adelaide-Coober Pedy-Uluru-Kings Canyon-Alice Springs and then all the way down to Woomera and back to Melb) and it has been a wonderful experience.

The trip did include a lot of rugged dirt roads, especially the road from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs via Larapinta Drive with a quick detour to the Gosses Bluff crater. The only concern you would probably need to have is finding the premium fuel.

However in the above trip, except once or twice where I managed with 95, I was always able to find the 98-grade fuel.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

One of the main reasons I may decide to keep my current vehicle for much longer is that there is not much else that is as good as this vehicle or better. As mentioned above, it has almost all the features you would like to have in a new car, it drives well, and has the performance other vehicles in this segment cannot beat and I have not had any issues with it so far.

So personally it is hard to justify replacing it considering the price of new vehicles these days. The only thing that bothers me the most is that even though it offers a towing capacity of 2500kg, it makes it almost impossible to use it with its low lowball limit of only 100kg.

For the latest generation of Tiguans, VW did increase this limit to 200kg but I am not sure if there were any physical changes to the vehicle made or only the certification. Alone this reason is also not good enough to replace given that I have never owned or towed a caravan before but it is something that I very much would like to do.

The other option is to buy a seven-seater instead that also offers better towing capacity, something like Q7 maybe, but given everything is moving to electric now, I am not sure if it is wise to spend over $100k on an ICE car.

Would they all be worthless in 10 years? But again there are really no electric vehicles just yet as good as a $100k ICE car. ID Buzz maybe? Right now I believe Model 3 is the closest one to justify its price.

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Show Breakdown
Technology 8.5
Reliability 9
Ride & Handling 8
Price & Features 8
Purchase & Aftercare 8
Performance & Economy 8.5
Ownership Experience 8
Top Line Specs
5 ★
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