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    2021 Volkswagen Tiguan First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Sagar Bhanushali

    19,344 Views
    Volkswagen Tiguan Right Front Three Quarter

    Why I would buy one?

    Build quality

    Smooth drivetrain

    Why I wouldn’t buy one?

    More expensive than before

    Uninspiring interior

    Verdict

    7.5 / 10

    Right Front Three Quarter

    It’s been four years since Volkswagen introduced the Tiguan in India and since then this discreetly impressive SUV has been the go-to choice for people looking for a solid, all-rounder SUV that feels at home be it at the lobby of the most expensive hotel in town or in the middle of nowhere. The seven-seater AllSpace version introduced later only upped the Tiguan’s usability game. Now, Volkswagen India has pensioned off the original Tiguan and dished out a major facelift for the model, complete with refreshed styling, a better-equipped interior and a more refined drivetrain. On paper, then, the 2021 model outdoes the original, but is it any better to take on the competition?

    Engine and Performance

    8 / 10

    Engine Shot

    Locally assembled at VW India’s Aurangabad facility, the 2021 Tiguan is built on the brand’s MQB platform. There is no diesel fuel option anymore like the rest of the VW Group cars but you do get all the refinement of the now popular 2-litre, four-cylinder TSI engine with the seven-speed DSG gearbox. Peak power is rated at 190bhp and you get 320Nm of torque right from 1,500rpm which is great.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    We are plenty familiar with this 2-litre TSI power-plant and in the 2021 Tiguan it remains a smooth performer. It’s a sweet unit that makes a good noise as the revs rise and in terms of power delivery, it’s extremely linear all the way till 6,000rpm. It feels particularly strong around 2,500rpm mark once it’s properly on boost and because the gearing is tall the engine runs quite leisurely at highway speeds. Speaking of gearing, the seven-speed dual clutch auto, shared with other VW and Audi cars, works well in the Tiguan.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    In Normal drive mode, the shifts are seamless and the gearbox is decently quick to react to pedal inputs. In Eco mode, however, it gets lethargic and also it allows the engine to coast as soon as you get off the throttle for better efficiency. In its sportiest setting this gearbox really becomes alive and progress is immediate as you press on the throttle pedal though we would like to add that it lurches a little too much at slow speeds when you are in Sport. The best thing then is to leave it in Normal drive setting for a comfortable drive because it’s adequately responsive nonetheless. In Normal it remained well behaved in the few moments of stop-start driving we were able to come across during our short stint with the Tiguan.

    Right Side View

    Ride and Handling

    8 / 10

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The Tiguan impresses big time when it comes to the ride and handling setup. We will get around the only negative first which is the low speed firmness – some of the sharp-edged potholes sometimes filter into the cabin but not to a point that it gets uncomfortable. At highway speeds the Tiguan shines through and displays composure and solid poise even across rutted roads. Except for a slight jiggly feel at the rear, the Tiguan shows remarkable composure at high speeds and remains fully unfazed. The reassuring feel you get at any speed is the most impressive bit about the Tiguan’s ride and handling set up.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Like before, the Tiguan also comes with all-wheel drive and off-road modes which alter the drivetrain and the traction control system for some mild off-road capabilities. The ground clearance, too, is impressive – we never got even close to scrapping the underbody during our drive and that is something we feel would persuade many buyers to go for the Tiguan over a similarly priced sedan.

    Interior Space and Quality

    7 / 10

    Dashboard

    The cabin is quintessentially Volkswagen, from the simple dash layout, familiar chrome highlights, lots of black and of course, the solidly put together materials. The design in here may be conservative at best, but there is no denying that the whole cabin is made up of high quality bits. The Tiguan, in fact, uses plenty of bits and bobs from the VW Group parts bin - impressive touches include the beautifully finished steering wheel and soft-touch plastics over the dashboard and door pads. The entire center panel (including the slim air vents, the infotainment system and the climate control panel) is angled towards the driver. Does it feel striking or premium? Striking? Not exactly, but if you consider certain rivals like the Toyota Fortuner or the Jeep Compass, the Tiguan’s fit and finish and overall quality is a step higher.

    Front Row Seats

    The amount of space and comfort on the 2021 model remains the same. In terms of space, headroom and legroom at the front is excellent and the visibility outside, too, is wide and clear thanks to the thin A-pillar and a low window line. Get in the back and things get even better – the headroom is more than adequate and even with the front seat pushed all the way back, there’s good legroom. Thanks to a generous seat base, the Tiguan’s got the all-important under thigh support covered as well. Despite the all-black upholstery, the cabin doesn’t feel claustrophobic because of the panoramic sunroof and the large side windows.

    Second Row Seats

    Features and Equipment

    7 / 10

    Infotainment System

    A big portion of the 2021 update can be attributed to the improvements inside the cabin and the additional features. For instance, the Tiguan now gets a new steering wheel (similar to other VW SUVs) and the same capacitive touch controls for the climate control as the Taigun. The 10-inch fully digital instrument cluster and the 8-inch infotainment screen are also refreshed and feature VW’s latest MIB3 software.

    VW has launched the new Tiguan in the fully loaded Elegance variant which has everything. The most important upgrade comes in the form of the Matrix LED headlights which can adapt to varying lighting conditions by changing the geometry of the beam. Other features include a 3-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, 8-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, an 8-speaker audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 30 shades of ambient lighting, different drive modes and some more. In terms of safety, the Tiguan is loaded with six airbags, ABS, EBD, disc brakes all around, hill descent and hill hold.

    Right Side View

    Conclusion

    7.5 / 10

    Front View

    The 2021 Tiguan has been launched at Rs 31.99 lakh ex-showroom. At this price point, it finds itself in a mixed field of soft roaders and body-on-ladder SUVs. It’s more expensive than its direct rival – the Jeep Compass, but then it justifies it by packing in more equipment, a more refined petrol powertrain and better quality all around.

    All in all, the 2021 Tiguan remains a deeply impressive performer. It’s a well-proportioned, tech-laden, classy offering with an understated slant that will make for an appealing alternative to the Compass and even premium soft roaders like the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi

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