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VW Tiguan gets more impressive

By Rory Daley
Observer writer

Friday, December 06, 2019

TAKE the already impressive Volkswagen Tiguan sport utility vehicle, slather it in some R-Line upgrades from the brand's performance division and you have a vehicle filled to the gills with practicality, technology and performance far beyond its market segment peers.

On the outside, the R-Line differentiates itself instantly as the R-Line additions add plenty of visual aggression to the svelte styling of the regular Tiguan. Wheels are bigger, broader and blacker.

The wheel wells are now filled with dark-finished 19-inch wheels wrapped in lower-profile, wider performance tyres. The dark treatment continues with a new front grill, bumpers in gloss black, a rear spoiler, and matching side extensions. A pair of larger chrome exhaust tips further signal this SUV means business.

The transformation goes on inside as well. Step past the stainless steel R-Line branded scuff plates, after being led to the driver's seat by puddle lights and the racy theme continues. Black leather with silver stitching covers everything possible, giving the Tiguan a very upscale sports car feel. Glossy piano black and soft-touch materials complete what is a very comfortable cabin. Passengers are also in on the comfort game due to the seven-seat layout.

The second row enjoys such amenities like picnic tables, and is able to partake in the panoramic sunroof that increases the sense of interior space. The third row folds out of the trunk flow when necessary, if not the second row can be dropped flat for maximum carrying ability. The infotainment screen at 10.25-inches works more like a tablet, sensing when a finger is by near pulling up contextual menus. It provides plenty of connectivity and excellent sound quality.

From the power-heated seats, one can see the all-digital instrument cluster that works great with the controls on the chunky leather-wrapped steering wheel. There's plenty of technology to make the Tiguan easy to operate, from fully automated headlights that move with steering angle to being able to park itself. With adaptive cruise control, automatic engine START/STOP and automatic brake hold, the vehicle is a darling on the long highway haul or through thick traffic, offering up tips on how to save fuel in the instrument cluster.

For those who are a bit more hands on, flip the Tiguan into SPORT mode or stepping onto the pedal unleashes the full power of the two-litre turbocharged motor. Other class rivals require a degree in computational physics to perform an overtake manoeuvre, not the VW. Acceleration is direct, like a drone strike, as the seven-speed DSG gearbox shifts fast enough to access all of the 178bhp and 236lb/ft of torque.

The major benefit of the R-Line package are the steamroller wide 255/45/19 tyres that further give the standard all-wheel drive 4MOTION system plenty of traction through the corners. Indulge in the shift-paddles and the Tiguan can invigorate any commute.