Review of the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan: A refined flavour for the SUV connoisseur

The facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan replaces the diesel engine with a refined petrol engine that is a lot of fun to drive.
The latest Tiguan is a pricey proposition, despite being packed with features in a single fully-loaded trim. Its direct competitors are far behind in the price comparison.

The Volkswagen Tiguan has been on the Indian market for some time, and it has received a mixed response from customers who have a preference for SUVs. But, unlike its younger sibling, the Taigun, which is aimed squarely at the mass market, the Tiguan has always appeared to be a product aimed at a select group of buyers who value visual cues and drive dynamics over brute machismo or svelte sportiness.

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The most recent Volkswagen Tiguan facelift appears to be ready to carry this forward, while also providing several significant updates to the model it replaces.

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a pricey proposition at an introductory and ex-showroom price of 32 lakh, and there is little to argue against it. However, look past the sticker price and you’ll find an SUV that is unconcerned about what its direct competitors are up to and instead wants to compete in the lower end of the luxury car market. Volkswagen is confident that the new Tiguan deserves its price tag because it is aimed at a niche, possibly aspirational buyer, as evidenced by one fully loaded Elegance trim.

Characteristics of the Volkswagen Tiguan’s drive

The biggest change on the 2021 Tiguan is under the hood, so its performance credentials will be put to the ultimate test. Tiguan replaces its 2.0-litre diesel engine with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that produces 190hp and 320 Nm of torque, following the larger trend in the Indian car market.

This clearly means that anyone looking for a premium SUV with a diesel engine will have to look elsewhere. For everyone else, however, there’s a lot to like about the current offering.

This petrol engine, which was previously seen inside the now-discontinued three-row Tiguan AllSpace, looks even more refined, sporty, and eager in the five-seater Tiguan. The mature character of the engine shines brightly here, whether it’s a pull to the three-digit mark on the speedometer or a casual mid-speed day out within city limits. Of course, don’t just admire the engine; the seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox is also a work of art, ticking off numbers with ease even with the tiniest of throttle inputs. Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system distributes power to all four wheels. There is an Eco Mode, but the Sport Mode adds a youthful touch to this SUV for a little extra fun. Normal Mode, on the other hand, is a good compromise between the two. When the going gets tough, there’s always the Off Road and Snow terrain modes to fall back on.

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Review Of The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
Review Of The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

On that note, the new Tiguan’s suspension remains firm, resulting in a slightly stiffer mid-speed ride experience over road aberrations in the real world. But, thanks to the Tiguan’s well-balanced steering wheel, decent cornering ability, and excellent NVH control, it handled almost any challenge we threw at it in Delhi and the surrounding highway roads we drove on.

As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover; similarly, don’t judge the Tiguan by its appearance (alone).

Exterior features of the Volkswagen Tiguan include

However, in any market, looks are important, and Volkswagen has given the updated Tiguan just the right reworks to help it retain its original visual character while also adding new features.

Take, for example, the car’s face. The square proportions are unchanged, but the updated model now comes with a new set of sleeker headlights that promise to provide better illumination regardless of terrain or weather conditions. We weren’t able to verify this claim because we only had the vehicle until late afternoon.

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What was visible, however, was a reworked front grille and an updated grille to give the Tiguan’s face a more contemporary look.

The design of the 18-inch alloys has been updated, and the rear profile has been updated with LED tail lights that now have dual illumination.

Review Of The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
Review Of The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

This means that when braking, the illumination takes on a pattern theme that not only looks cool but may also improve safety.

The Tiguan was never intended to stand out in a sea of muscular SUVs. It was never marketed as a sporty product with alluring curves and creases. Instead, we have an undeniably elegant, undeniably European, and undeniably Volkswagen vehicle.

Highlights of the Volkswagen Tiguan’s interior

When you step inside the new Tiguan, you’ll notice that the Volkswagen flavour is all over the place. While the overall layout of the dashboard remains unchanged from previous models, there are a few notable changes.

Take, for example, the air conditioning control touch panel. The physical controls have been replaced by this panel, which increases the vehicle’s premium quotient. Then there’s the new VW logo on a new flat-bottomed steering wheel, which can also be found in the Taigun.

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The eight-inch main infotainment screen may appear small in terms of size, but it blends in nicely with the overall layout of the vehicle’s front cabin. It responds to touch, accepts gesture swipes, and is bright enough to use in direct sunlight. Marks, on the other hand, should be removed because it attracts a lot of fingerprints, and the fit into the frame, at least in our review unit, was less than ideal, which was visible when the sun rays shone through.

I’m also perplexed as to why Volkswagen would choose to pamper the driver with seat-adjustment switches while leaving the front passenger to rely on muscle power. If we’re going for the ‘premium’ tag, just add the switches and memory function here as well.

Review Of The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
Review Of The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

Thankfully, both front seats have heating capabilities, which came in handy during our drive in Delhi, which was experiencing a cold spell at the time. Even at 9 a.m., the temperature was in the single digits, so having heated seats was a huge plus. Thank you, Volkswagen.

However, Delhi has a similarly hot summer, and I find that the Tiguan’s seat ventilation is a big letdown. So, no thanks, Volkswagen.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the new Tiguan’s cabin. The 10-inch customizable driver display, 30-color ambient lighting, a large panoramic sunroof, and three-zone climate control all contribute to a relaxing cabin.

When you sit in the back seats, the pleasure continues. Passengers have plenty of leg and knee room on this plane. Tall passengers should be able to get enough under-thigh support and headroom. The level of seat cushioning is excellent, and the recline angle on the backrests of the seats is standard.

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The fifth passenger, on the other hand, is likely to be severely underserved, as the floorbed’s hump continues to eat into legroom, while the centre console – complete with air vents, a Type C port, and a 12V charging socket – juts back quite a bit. I’m also not convinced that three adults will have enough shoulder room to be comfortable on longer journeys.

The Tiguan has 615 litres of boot space, so you won’t have to compromise on luggage for those long trips. The boot can be opened by pressing a button inside the cabin, using the FOB, or even swiping your leg.

The verdict on the Volkswagen Tiguan is as follows

The Tiguan will be assembled locally at the company’s plant in Aurangabad, which should have resulted in a lower price than what is being asked. Hyundai Tucson and Jeep Compass petrol variants are significantly less expensive than Tiguan, and even the diesel variants are less expensive. With a price tag of 32 lakh, this Volkswagen is unquestionably pricey.

However, with one fully loaded variant, one can get the plethora of features that new-age customers have come to expect, as well as a drive quality that is unrivalled by any of Tiguan’s direct competitors

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