Life with a Volkswagen Tiguan Life: our long-termer impresses with its practicality

Published Aug 22, 2023


Three months into its long-term tenure with IOL, our Pure White Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Life has proven its worth as a solid daily driver and family car.

Although it’s the least powerful model in the Tiguan range, which includes a brawny diesel as well as a 162kW 2.0 TSI and potent 235kW R model, which now breaches the million-rand mark, the 1.4 TSI is priced at the sensible end of the scale.

You’re looking at R614 600 in base form or R686 700 in Life guise, before options, while the sportier looking R-Line starts at R753 700.

Its comfort and practicality shine through

Having spent some quality time with the Volkswagen Tiguan Life in everyday driving situations, we’ve come to appreciate its practicality and how much thought Volkswagen has put into its functionality.

Back seat passengers have come to appreciate the abundant rear legroom which, behind my rather average driving position at least, allows for some leg stretching space. The back seats can also recline slightly, handy if your passengers want to take a nap, and they can slide forward if you want more boot space.

It’s unlikely that you’ll have to do that though as the Tiguan offers a generous 520 litres of luggage room in its standard configuration. This vast load bay is easy to access thanks to electric tailgate operation being standard.

Those in the back also get their own air vents and temperature controls, as tri-zone climate control is also part of the deal when you buy a Tiguan Life.

There are some thoughtful touches that we’ve come to appreciate too. In addition to magazine pockets (which, admittedly are becoming a bit redundant) the front seatbacks also have two small upper pouches that rear occupants can use to stow smaller items such as their phones. It also has reading lights positioned above each door.

Unfortunately there are no USB ports in the back, which could be a deal breaker for some of today’s teens, although there is at least a 12V power socket for those happy to use a more traditional car charger.

The Tiguan does have two USB-C ports in the front console, just above the wireless phone charger.

The cockpit area is user-friendly all round, despite our car coming with a conventional key rather than push-button ignition, which is optional.

Our Tiguan Life has an interesting mix of specification and options - click here to read more about that in our initial long-term update.

Tiguan offers decent turbo-charged performance

Although it’s the least powerful model in the line-up, the Tiguan 1.4 TSI is still very comfortably powered for a vehicle in this segment.

While some rivals are compromised on the performance front with normally aspirated engines and whiny CVT gearboxes, the small-capacity Tiguan motor is turbocharged and offers effortless power both in urban settings and when you need to overtake on the open road.

It is paired with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission which swops its cogs swiftly and smoothly in most driving situations, although one niggle is that it tends to hold onto lower gears for a little too long at times, even in Eco mode.

Speaking of economy, our Tiguan TSI has so far averaged 9.8-litres per 100km, but most of our driving has been in the urban jungle, and this figure is coming down as we spend more time on the freeway.

In two recent highway trips across Gauteng, we saw figures of between 6.4 l/100km and 7.7 l/100km, showing what is achievable with a frugal mindset.

IOL Motoring