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Driven: High hopes for VW Tiguan 162TSI

Star performer: Volkswagen is planning for its fastest accelerating Tiguan to be the fastest out of showrooms too.

Volkswagen banking on at least one quarter of Tiguan sales to be 162TSI


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25 Jan 2017

VOLKSWAGEN says that its new Tiguan 162TSI will be one of the top performers in the medium SUV’s arsenal, making it as important to the range as the GTI hot hatch is to the Golf.

With initial orders already stretching past a quarter of all Tiguan sales, the company is confident that newly-released petrol-powered range-topper is well on its way transcending the mainstream rivals.

If it is as well received as Volkswagen hopes the top Tiguan will poach Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 customers, while luring buyers away from more expensive alternatives such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA and GLC.

Backing it up are premium features such as the availability of adaptive chassis, variable-ratio steering and 20-inch alloys on the sports-focused R-Line, advanced driver-assist safety including AEB Autonomous Emergency Braking, radar cruise control, post-collision secondary braking, and full LED multimedia instrumentation.

According to Volkswagen Group Australia product marketing manager Jeff Shafer, strong early consumer demand for the more expensive variants vindicates the decision to position the Tiguan more upmarket than its smaller predecessor.

When released in September last year, the base front-drive 1.4-litre manual leapt $3000 to $31,990 before on-road costs, compared with the new range-topper that goes on sale for $48,490.

“The car has moved up a little bit from the outgoing price, but when you look at our sales mix, the feedback we’re getting is customers are moving even further up the range,” he told GoAuto at the launch of the Tiguan 162TSI in Sydney this week.

“For us that is a great sign of the product is doing well, and really finding the space that we want it to be in. We want to it be seen as a premium vehicle, that you get a lot of car for the money, so it’s a good value proposition.

“And we haven’t seen any issues there at the bottom of the range.” The single-spec Highline 162TSI brings LED headlights with cornering lights, leather upholstery, heated front sports seats with driver’s side memory, keyless access and start, a powered tailgate with hands-free operation, an eight-inch central touchscreen, satellite navigation, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifts, powered rear-view mirrors, privacy glass and 18-inch alloys. The latter, along with a more aggressive rear diffuser (featuring twin functional exhaust outlets) give the game away on the outside.

The newcomer is some $7000 more expensive than petrol-powered 132TSI Comfortline AWD it slots above, though the $49,990 140TDI Highline AWD diesel remains the Tiguan flagship for now.

Options such as the $4000 R-Line package are currently seeing a 70 per cent take-up rate, while the $2000 Driver’s Assist package and $2000 panoramic sunroof are also expected to be popular.

The R-Line pack is the only way to specify adaptive dampers as part of the Adaptive Chassis Control system that also includes the variable ratio steering, as well as a body kit, overtly more luxurious interior, and the 20-inch alloys.

Customers opting for the Driver’s Assist pack get the 12.3-inch digital instrumentation, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, Reverse Cross Traffic Assist, and a 360-degree surround-view camera.

Volkswagen points out that even when fully optioned, the 162TSI Highline at $56,490 undercuts the smaller GLA AWD equivalent by more than $4000.

Under the bonnet is a variation of the Golf GTI’s 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, delivering 162kW of power between 4500-6200rpm and 350Nm of torque between 1500 and 4400rpm.

Unlike Volkswagen’s venerable hot hatch, the dual-clutch transmission that is the Tiguan’s sole gearbox is a seven-ratio rather than six-speed item.

It can scoot to 100km/h from standstill in 6.5 seconds (1.2s faster than the 132TSI), average fuel consumption of 8.1 litres per 100km, and produce 186g/km of carbon dioxide.

The preceding Tiguan equivalent was the 155TSI, and that featured a 155kW/280Nm 2.0-litre four-pot turbo petrol, but despite being a significantly larger vehicle, the new 162TSI is 0.8s faster to 100 yet uses 0.7L/100km less fuel – a corollary of its marginally lower tare weight (1637kg versus 1642kg).

All other statistics, such as a 2500kg braked towing capacity, 60 litre fuel tank, 201mm ground clearance, 2681mm wheelbase, 11.5 metre turning circle, and 615-1655-litre luggage capacity, remain the same as other Tiguan AWDs, as does the current-generation Golf-derived MQB modular transverse architecture, MacPherson strut-style front suspension, and multi-link rear end.

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