We have no idea how Volkswagen (VW) came up with the Tiguan name but combining two animals, the tiger and the ‘leguan’ (iguana in German), certainly seemed like an unnecessary flirtation with a biological disaster.
Well, so much for our misplaced misgivings. As it turns out, the Tiguan is one of the best soft-roaders in the market even though in Malaysia, where car tax is higher than sin tax, it’s pegged to other premium brands such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
In other parts of the world, this VW entry level SUV sits on the same plain as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
For 2012, Volkswagen decided the Tiguan needed to look like the rest of its siblings, and so it got a nose job, new taillights and other tweaks under the hood to make it better.
The Tiguan is certainly designed to offer comfort to urbanites who drive it around town.
The interior comes in stylish brown leather and good quality plastics. Audio is a touchscreen unit while the driver’s seat has electric motors.
There’s also a reverse camera and Bi-Xenon headlights that swivel into the corners.
VW has also loaded the Tiguan with safety features which include the usual ABS, ASR, EBD, EDTC, airbags and many others.
The tall seating position helped us to navigate comfortably in traffic while the 2.0TSI turbocharged engine, with 208hp on tap, made light of traffic light takeoffs. Indeed, with 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 213km/h (claimed), the Tiguan can even shock the modified hatchbacks plying our roads.
The 7-speed DSG gearbox with 4Motion permanent four-wheel-drive works well, smoothly and quietly in the background.
Since its launch in 2008, the Tiguan has sold more than 700,000 units worldwide. Almost all were driven on paved roads although the Tiguan was designed to take some light off-road bashing, which we did with this revamped version.
Our idea to participate in the next Rain Forest Challenge in the Tiguan was gunned down by our office, and so we did the next possible thing, drove it around a rock quarry.
But hang on, doesn’t the Tiguan appeal mostly to the ladies? It does, and since we are TopGear and we do things properly, we got a lady to drive the Tiguan around the quarry while we sat outside under the shade with our cocktails and mocktails and waited for her to get the Tiguan stuck in some sand pit.
She didn’t. Instead, we watched her traverse the sand pit, shoot across loose rocky surfaces and even wade through some mud holes.
“This is FUN!,” she grinned, while trying to stop us pulling her out of the Tiguan. Apparently, the 4Motion system worked well enough to provide her with traction to move forward.
The front end also has a good attack angle from the underside of the bumper, allowing her to go up some of the ant hills. In fact, on an empty stretch of dirt road, she was pushing it to speeds above 100km/h and according to her, “the Tiguan felt rock solid! I like”!
Back on the highway, the Tiguan demonstrated its mile-munching side, cruising effortlessly at 110km/h or even higher. Around corners, some bodyroll could be felt, quite naturally, since this is, after all, an SUV.
As with other modern European engines, the 2-litre engine returns a combined figure of 8.6L/100km, and we got around 10L/100km, no thanks to a heavy right foot.
Overall, we sort of like the Tiguan. Yes, it looks very feminine and but, do remember, the most practical human being has always been our mother.
If you are practical and you want something different, who knows, the tiger and iguana combo could be just the thing for you.
1,984cc, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 208hp @ 5300-6200rpm, 280Nm @ 1700-5200rpm, 7-speed DSG gearbox
RM236,888 (nett selling price)
The engine is the tiger, the 4Motion is its iguana, but the price is its achilles’ heel.