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Volkswagen Tiguan 1.5 eTSI review: Comes with wide suite of comfort and safety features

Volkswagen Tiguan 1.5 eTSI review: Comes with wide suite of comfort and safety features
PHOTO: sgCarMart

Over 7.6 million examples of the Volkswagen Tiguan have been produced since 2007, Volkswagen states.

That's not anywhere near the production figures that models like the Golf and Beetle have achieved, but with the Tiguan claiming the title of the firm's bestselling model since 2018, there's little doubt that it already is set to become one of Volkswagen's most successful nameplates.

At least, that's what the initial impressions of this third iteration of the much-loved SUV suggest.

More homely, less bold

On the outside, this new Volkswagen Tiguan is, admittedly, missing some of the ruggedness and road presence of its predecessor. I imagine the loss of the sizeable grille of its predecessor, as well as the use of more rounded details such the head lights and this new car's weaker shoulder line, ought to bear much of the blame here.

Having said this, if you're a fan of the new design language that Volkswagen has utilised on its ID. lineup but are not quite ready to make the switch over to all-electric power just yet, this new look for the Tiguan should appeal.

Bigger screens, easier operation

Step into the new Tiguan, however, and the upgrades are more impressive.

Most striking is the fact that the infotainment system is now a freestanding 15-inch item, as opposed to the 8.0-inch system from the previous Tiguan. The new system is certainly an upgrade, with fresh fonts, impressive resolution, deep blacks, and bolder colours. But the big story of this new infotainment system is that it now comes with a new voice assistant system.

Named IDA, the system is as competent at picking up your commands as the systems available in other premium brands. However, examples of the Tiguan offered here in Singapore will only able to make changes to localised features (such as the car's air-conditioning settings), so you will not be able to utilise the integrated ChatGPT available in other markets to find answers to general knowledge questions.

Is the Tiguan hurt by the omission? In an age when nearly everyone has a smartphone at hand, I doubt so.

And the rest of the system is a triumph. It would have been nice if the system allowed you to adjust the fan speed of the air-conditioning right from its lower bar where you can change the temperature.

However, navigating the various menus here is a breeze, and you can customise the shortcut buttons offered on the top right of the screen for easy access to the settings you find yourself constantly adjusting.

The rest of the cabin, meanwhile, also scores high when it comes to overall useability. You get physical buttons here on the steering wheel of this Tiguan, instead of the fiddly touch-sensitive ones that Volkswagen has taken away from the Golf, and the controls and switchgear here are all nicely damped and just exude quality.

Less power, greater polish

Likewise for the drivetrain of the Tiguan.

This new iteration of the SUV now comes to Singapore powered by a 1.5-litre unit that produces a total of 129bhp, allowing the car to be registered here with a Cat A COE.

There's no getting around the fact that this Tiguan isn't a keen performer. The 220Nm of torque from the engine feels just about enough to tug the car along, but if you end up late for the school run, its weak delivery at the upper ends of the rev range and dull throttle response will frustrate.

Still, it is a remarkably refined thing. Quiet and scarce of harsh notes when pushed, eager to simply sail along with the engine shut off when you're coasting on the highway, and paired with an equally smooth seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the drivetrain of the Tiguan gets its job done in a fashion entirely appropriate for a family transport: Practically unnoticed.

The ride quality here, meanwhile, is nothing short of excellent. Cushy and nicely damped, the Tiguan rides over obstacles in a manner that rivals products from more premium marques.

Better than ever

So, should you join the ranks of the 7.6 million who have gotten their hands on the Tiguan? For now, it is hard to recommend otherwise. Many of the Volkswagen Tiguan's closest rivals are currently not available here, awaiting the arrival of their own latest iterations.

These include the Nissan Qashqai (no longer offered since May 2024, although we are expecting this updated example to arrive here before 2025), the Peugeot 3008 (no longer offered here since January 2024, although a petrol-burning variant that shares its design with this new E-3008 is set to arrive here by the start of 2025 latest), or the Citroen C5 Aircross (no longer offered here since January 2024, with its replacement yet to make its international debut).

There is, however, the Mazda CX-5, a new mild hybrid variant of which recently made landfall here in Singapore starting from $209,888, practically matching the Tiguan's $209,900 asking price if you opt for the 'Life' trim that only differs from the 'Life Plus' trim example we have here by the omission of a high-definition Matrix head light system and dynamic turn signals (all prices as of 6 June 2024). 

Pick the Mazda, however, and you'll miss the large infotainment system offered in the Tiguan, alongside a host of nice touches including massage seats and a panoramic sunroof.

With its wide set of features and high drivetrain refinement, it really is not hard to see this new Tiguan continuing the success of its previous iterations. Prepare to see it rise to become another one of Volkswagen's many storied and widely popular nameplates.

What we like

  • High drivetrain refinement
  • Sizeable 15-inch infotainment system
  • Comes with a wide suite of comfort and safety features

What we dislike

  • Less powerful than before, and feels very much like it
  • Exterior design will not appeal to those who like their SUVs strong and rugged

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This article was first published in sgCarMart.

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