Driven: VW Tiguan 1.4 TSI R-Line

Often overlooked, sometimes underrated, but always a stalwart mid-sized SUV in the South African market. Enter the Tiguan

I’m guilty. I’ve been distracted by all the interesting metal coming out of Korea, and even a few pretty French whips that have recently surfaced. And then there’s the exciting budget SUV segment occupying my brain space, so I seldom remember that the maker of the ‘people’s cars’, produces a great car for the people.

This latest iteration of the Tiguan has never looked better. Sharp and desirable, and that my test car came with a tow bar well, that just means I’m going absolutely everywhere in it. With my bicycle. And hey, that just means I’m really living with it. See, I ride pretty much anywhere I can and that means gravel travel and lots of it. It’s brimming with standard features including cruise control, air conditioning, a fully-kitted eight-speaker audio system with radio, USB and Bluetooth plus safety features such as airbags, ABS with EBD, central locking and more. But mine was the R-Line so came feature laden including those 19″ inch Valencia alloy hoops, VW’s Composition Media Radio, cabin ambient lighting, plus the R-Line leather sports steering wheel and shift paddles. Also present, a multi-color active info display, with profiles.

Opt for the R-Line and you’ll be further faced with two drivetrain options. A 1.4l TSI with 6-speed DSG to the tune of 110kW, or a GTI-like experience courtesy of the 2.0 TSI with 7-speed DSG, good for 162kW, you decide. The prior is yours for R654,200 in FWD, the latter at R720,700 which is a lot of money, but then it is a lot of car plus is AWD. Personally, I felt the 1.4 hit all the high notes that I require in a car of this nature, its 110kW more than up to the task.

If you’re looking for a handsome, well-equipped midsize SUV that’s almost a rare sight in our ever-evolving traffic, the Tiguan is a great option. You can spec yours to favour styling or performance, but either way, it’s underpinned by a comfortable, competent chassis that will engage its pilot and lull its passengers. I merrily crushed hundreds of kilometres of gravel in one, with a smile on my face and a bike on its arse, and would happily do it again.

Quick Stats: VW Tiguan 1.4 TSI R-Line
Price: R654,200
Powertrain: 1.4l fwd,  110kW, 250Nm, 6-speed DSG auto
Performance: 0-100kph in 9.2 seconds, 200kph top speed, 7.7l/100km fuel consumption

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