Long-term introduction: Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Life

Published Jun 26, 2023


Johannesburg - In the past two years we’ve tried out almost every version of the Volkswagen Tiguan that’s available to local buyers, and we’ve been mostly impressed with what they have to offer, from the new TDI to the popular TSI petrol models and even the high-performance Tiguan R.

But what’s it like to live with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle globally? To find out, we’ll be spending the rest of the year with the Pure White 1.4 TSI Life model that you see here.

Our test car arrived with an interesting specification mix that keeps it basic in some ways but also packs in more than a few premium features, which really highlights the power of choice that owners have when buying a Tiguan.

For instance, our car has the entry-level 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen, as well as traditional analogue instruments and a conventional fold-out key that you have to insert into the ignition and crank just like everyone had to in days gone by.

I’ll admit that I’ve become accustomed to the convenience of push-button start, or maybe spoilt is a better word, but it really doesn’t take long to get used to a conventional key again.

And besides, the smaller infotainment and operating system also has its advantages, as it has more conventional buttons and dials (no annoying slide controls here) and as a result it’s quite user-friendly. On top of that, I like the look of those conventional instruments beneath their deep-set cowls.

It’s actually been refreshing to experience the Tiguan without all the optional bells and whistles, but VWSA has treated us to more than a few enticing extras, including Vienna leather seats, 19-inch Victoria alloy wheels (which cost R10 900), Area View camera system with Park Assist (R15 250), IQ Drive Package with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Change System and Autonomous Emergency Braking (R20 600), Folding Trailer Hitch (R10 300) as well as the Panoramic Sunroof (R17 500), which also happens to be VW’s most popular option.

Some of our Tiguan’s more luxurious features are standard, however, including three-zone climate control, electric tailgate, LED headlights and park distance control. If you manage to avoid the temptations of the above mentioned options, the base price for the Tiguan Life stands at R677 900. But finding that configuration in stock could be another challenge..

Power comes from the familiar 1.4-litre TSI turbopetrol engine, with 100kW and 250Nm. It provides punchy performance, decent overtaking acceleration and the ability to cruise comfortably and quietly on the highway.

While we do plan to stretch our Tiguan’s legs soon, its first month with us has seen it parading the urban jungles, where it has so far consumed 10.6 litres per 100km. That is well within the segment ballpark for town driving, and that number will no doubt drop considerably once we’ve done some highway driving.

The only niggle so far is that the six-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox sometimes holds onto ratios for a little longer than we’d prefer, even in Eco mode, but we actually managed to improve consumption slightly by using the steering paddles to change gear.

Regardless of how you change gear, the shifts are smooth, and all round it’s an easy car to drive, and the ride quality is decent too.

So far the Tiguan has been a comfortable, practical and refined urban runabout, and now we are looking forward to stretching its legs a bit. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

IOL Motoring