There are times when ignorance is bliss, when you wish you didn’t know what you do know. Take the VW Tiguan sports utility vehicle (SUV). The version available in SA is too compact for my needs, so doesn’t feature on my shopping-list for a new vehicle in 2017.
I’ve been driving Subaru Foresters for years and there’s no guarantee that if I stick with an SUV (I’m also considering a proper 4x4) I won’t stay with the brand.
But when I heard recently that a long-wheelbase Tiguan would be coming to SA, my ears pricked up. I called VW and asked if it was true. Yes, came the answer, but only in 2018. Hope, then disappointment.
Why an interest in the Tiguan? Because I drove the latest SA version recently and, space apart, it ticked most of the boxes I need.
Actually, the latest Tiguan has 9% more boot space than its predecessor and has made better use of it. It’s the first SUV to be built on VW’s new cross-model platform, meaning it shares many elements with Golf, Passat and the next Polo.
VW has also spruced up the looks. It’s no beauty queen but it doesn’t need to stand aside for the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and others.
I tend to work vehicles hard, in terms of offroad use, and was concerned that the 1.4l TSI DSG Tiguan might lack power. In fact, the 110kW engine was sufficient — though I would be more comfortable with the 2l model.
A couple of irritants: the turbo lag; and the slow response after the stop-start engine switches off when the vehicle stops.
I tried to pull quickly across the road into a petrol station before a long line of oncoming traffic arrived. By the time the engine woke up, it was too late and I had to wait for 43 cars to go by. Believe me, I counted.
Overall, though, the test-drive reinforced my view that the Tiguan is a class-topping SUV. Now, if VW can only bring forward its launch for the long-wheelbase model ...