The ugly duckling with a golden heart.
Given that the Tiguan has its engine sourced from the Golf GTI, I thought it would be a rather sluggish ride since the 2.0 Liter turbocharged engine is now powering a big SUV rather than a small hatch. My fears were unfounded, though, as the 180hp engine with the 280Nm of torque (form 1,700 – 4,500rpm) pushes the Tiguan from 0 to 100kmph in just over 8 seconds.
More importantly, the 2012 Tiguan felt extremely nimble on the roads, where I could overtake cars on highway with ease. City driving was also respectably fast as the turbo never hesitates to kick in whenever required. The engine is, in fact, just as rev happy as the GTI, where touching 6k RPM is just a matter of flooring the accelerator hard. Of course, more than just the powerful grunt, the force comes into play immediately, even with 4 passengers onboard.
I will say that the slight acceleration lag I felt in the Golf GTI is also present here, but I don’t mind it at all since I don’t expect an SUV to give me twitch perfect responses anyway. Thanks to the 7-speed dual clutch gearbox DSG, performance was even better in Sports mode, but I really didn’t feel like I needed it much as stock performance (in Normal mode) was just that good. With a rated 8.6 liters/100km the 2012 Tiguan ran 480kms from the full tank I received it, with over 1/3rd of the fuel tank still left to go.
In conclusion I’ll say that the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan may not be to everybody’s liking, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Inside the Tiguan is an extremely refined experience, with decently powerful performance. More importantly is the ride, which is comfortable and very responsive from the get go. With a starting price that’s at a respectable AED 115k, the VW Tiguan is a definite contender for the small SUV market.