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The GTI of small SUVs

Friday, August 29, 2014    

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The 2014 VW Tiguan hits the three Cs for those shopping for a compact sport utility vehicle: comfort, confidence and convenience.

The Tiguan is the GTI of the segment, both literally and figuratively. As with most crossover SUVs, manufacturers tend to use a chassis from somewhere else in their range of models. However, few would have the Tiguan's pedigree as it's based on the multi-award winning Golf, yet it surpasses the simple moniker of a 'jacked-up' Golf.

While there is the expected corporate fascia, stepping into the Tiguan confirms it's much more than the sum of its parts. Of course, there is the familiar look and feel of most VW products, but that means high quality materials with intuitive ergonomics that will have most at home sitting in the driver's seat. There's more than enough space for all passengers, front and rear, and when ordered with the panoramic sunroof the cabin feels even larger. That's comfort taken care of.

The powerful 2-litre turbocharged engine delivers for a wide range of driving styles from puttering around in traffic, to enough grunt to haul cargo fully-laden with ease, and plenty in reserve for those spirited moments. Hitting triple digit speeds in the Tiguan is simply a matter of pushing the gear lever into sport mode. Confidence can be had that the very same 4MOTION all-wheel drive system that allows it to traverse adverse terrain aids on-road behaviour as well, with the traction control system kicking in when it believes things are getting silly.

Fully loaded, the Tiguan packs an impressive array of features that either work invisibly to make operation easier or enhance the driving experience. Standard and optional equipment can range from steering mounted controls, an excellent touch sensitive operated eight-speaker system, automatic headlights, and rain sensitive windshield wipers make the Tiguan a nice place to be. Even rear passengers get in on the long list of convenience items with foldable trays into the back of the front seats and their own air conditioning vents.

The 2014 VW Tiguan starts at JA$4.9 million.

— Rory Daley

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