While the Tiguan is starting to get on a bit, Volkswagen NZ has just decided to release the FWD version of its successful small SUV into the local market, in turn reducing the entry price point to $39,990 and remaining remarkably competitive in the process.
But does the Tiguan lose anything (other than drive to the rear wheels) by being shorn of its 4WD system? We spend a week with one to find out.
Likes: Still looks exactly like a Tiguan; a handsome, distinctly Volkswagen small SUV/Crossover. Conservative, yet still unique and distinct.
Dislikes: Starting to look a wee bit dated compared to some of the newer entrants in the VW family and the SUV segment.
Likes: Superbly comfortable and well-made, the Tiguan still impresses from every angle inside, even in absolute base-model trim. Fantastically comfortable and supportive seats are a highlight. Stereo is easy to operate and sounds great. High quality everywhere.
Dislikes: Some hard plastics do sneak in. Steering wheel is oddly thin.
Under the bonnet
Likes: The 110kW/240Nm engine is strong once up and running, while the ?-speed DSG transmission is slick and smooth. Fuel consumption is typically VW-low for a petrol.
Dislikes: Engine and transmission strangely reluctant low down.
On the road
Likes: Losing the added weight of the 4WD system gives Tiguan an added agility, without unsettling the rear end or ride quality. Ride quality is truly exceptional, without compromising handling.
Dislikes: Lack of 4WD noticeable in the wet, but only in terms of ultimate, pushing-hard grip.
A Tiguan shorn of 4WD is something that should have happened ages ago. Done the VW way there is precious-little in the way of compromises, while deleting the 4WD system actually brings a few advantages in some areas.
The 2WD Tiguan feels nimbler than the 4WD version, without compromising much at all in the way of handling. In the wet there is a slight loss of traction that can result from extreme provocation, but in ordinary circumstance the average driver would probably not even notice the lack of rear wheel assistance.
The biggest advantage of dropping 4WD for the Tiguan, however, is the equivalent drop in RRP – the 2WD drops the entry-level ask for a Tiguan to a remarkable -and extraordinarily competitive – $39,990.
This puts it at the same price as a basic 2WD Toyota RAV4, a 2WD 2.0-litre Mazda CX-5 or an entry-level petrol 4WD Ford Kuga.
The VW destroys the Toyota and Ford in terms of quality, ride, handling and performance, and while the CX-5 can put up a fight in terms of quality, the VW also eclipses the impressive Mazda in every other regard too.
While the engine and transmission of this particular car felt particularly unwilling and reluctant down low and particularly off the line, this is, in all likelihood a result of the fact that it had less than 1,000km when we picked it up.
Every car we have ever driven from the VW/Audi Group that has had minimal mileage on it has felt ridiculously tight, and this Tiguan was no exception. They loosen up nicely after a few thousand kilometres, but it speaks volumes about VAG’s build tolerances that they are so tight to begin with.
Engine: 1.4-litre inline four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
0-100km/h: 9.3 seconds
Fuel consumption: 7.1L/100km
CO2 emissions: 164g/km