New models - Volkswagen - Tiguan - 5-dr diesel wagon range
First drive: VW Tiguan spices up small SUV sector
German giant lands its first compact SUV in Oz, the diesel Tiguan priced from $36K
28 May 2008
By PHILIP LORD
VOLKSWAGEN has launched a compact SUV wagon to add some European spice to the highly competitive segment dominated by Japanese and Korean manufacturers, providing an understudy for its premium SUV, the Touareg.
The Tiguan joins one of the biggest single segments in the Australian car market, and like its competitors, the tough gravel of the school’s soccer field carpark will be as much off-roading as most will see.
The compact SUV segment accounted for almost one in every two SUVs sold and eight per cent of the total car market in 2007.
Dominated by the Japanese brands, Volkswagen has chosen an aggressive approach to pricing. It was expected early on that the Tiguan would open at a premium price - more than $40,000 - but instead the compact German all-wheel drive will arrive at a price starting at $33,990.
That's only $2000 to $3000 more than the entry-level versions of the Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV-4.
Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Jutta Dierks said at the Tiguan launch in NSW’s Blue Mountains that VGA will sell every Tiguan it can get this year, with supply limited due to international demand.
Volkswagen expects it will only sell around 1000 Tiguans in 2008, but believes it could sell around 5000 per year in 2009 as restrictions on supply ease.
Only the diesel 103TDI will be available at launch, with the petrol models to arrive late in the year. Volkswagen believes 80 per cent will be automatics and that half its volume will be diesels.
The Tiguan will be offered with two petrol engines and one diesel. The 125FSI and 147FSI petrol are to arrive late in the year, with only the diesel 103TDI on sale now.
The Tiguan is based on the current Passat front and mid-section floorpan and suspension and Golf V tail section floorpan, and its driveline consists of a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic with tiptronic mode (standard on 147TSI), hooked up to a 4Motion Haldex-clutch all-wheel drive system.
The front suspension is by MacPherson struts and at the rear there’s a four-link independent set-up.
The entry-level model is the 125TSI, powered by EA888 turbocharged petrol 2.0-litre engine that develops 125kW at 4300rpm and 280Nm at 1700-4200rpm.
The 125TSI manual consumes 9.1L/100km (auto: 10.1L/100km) and burns 218g/km of C02 emissions (auto: 240g/km). The claimed 0-100km/h sprint time is 8.2 seconds (auto: 9.2 seconds).
The 103TDI has a 2.0-litre turbodiesel that develops 103kW at 4200rpm and 320Nm at 1750-2500rpm. This is Volkswagen’s first common-rail diesel, and meets Euro V regulations that will apply (in Europe) in 2009.
Fuel consumption for the 103TDI six-speed manual is quoted as 7.4L/100km and C02 emissions at 195g/km (auto: 7.9L/100km and 209g/km). The 103TDI manual accelerates to 100km/h in 10.5 seconds (auto: 10.7 seconds)The 147TSI is the top-of-the-range model using the Golf GTI engine, with maximum outputs of 147kW at 5100rpm and 280Nm at 1700-5000rpm, and comes with the auto transmission only.
The 147TSI consumes 10.1L/100km, emits 240g/km of C02 and accelerates to 100km/h in the same time as a 125TSI manual (8.2 seconds).
Both petrol engines require 98RON premium unleaded and the fuel tank capacity is 64 litres for all Tiguan models.
The Tiguan is able to tow 750kg unbraked and 2000kg braked with a towball download maximum of 100kg. It also has a roof load capacity of 100kg and a total payload of 600kg.
The Tiguan has scored a five-star Euro NCAP overall safety rating, with five stars also awarded for passenger protection, four stars for child safety and two stars for pedestrian protection.
The rear seat is split 60:40 and it can be adjusted 160mm fore-aft, while the seatback has a recline function. This allows for more rear legroom or cargo space as required.
The cargo capacity with seats up is 395 litres, and up to 1510 litres (and a 650kg payload) with the rear seats folded.
The standard equipment list is extensive. The 125TSI and 103 TDI feature ABS brakes with EBD and Brake Assist, ESP stability/traction control, plus front, side and side curtain airbags.
There is also 16-inch alloy wheels, semi-automatic air-conditioning, a leather steering wheel with multi-function controls, cruise control, an electronic park brake with hill-hold function, radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility, auxiliary input and eight speakers.
The Tiguan also has height adjustment for the front seats and the centre front armrest, electric adjustment/heated side mirrors, power windows, remote central locking and black roof-rails.
The 147TSI has sports front seats with lumbar support, a six-CD changer with touch screen, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, an auto-dimming rear-vision mirror, auto-on headlights with coming/leaving home function, dark tinted rear and rear side windows, 17-inch alloy wheels, front foglights, a chrome grille and roof rails, dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning, low tyre pressure indicator, a foldable front passenger seat and folding tables on the rear of the front seats.
An interesting technical highlight is the Tiguan’s optional Park Assist. This system, when activated, will steer the Tiguan into a car space in a reverse parallel parking manoeuvre, the driver simply operating the foot controls to modulate speed. Once the driver takes hold of the steering wheel the system is deactivated.
While perhaps not quite as good as the T3 Transporter’s crawler gear, the Tiguan six-speed manual can be idled at 1000rpm with a vehicle speed of 6.69km/h.
An off-road option pack is offered that - like a simplified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response - alters the throttle response, enhances traction control response, allows more lock-up of the ABS braking for better bite through on loose gravel surfaces and activates Volkswagen’s version of hill descent control, that can set speed to a maximum of 4km/h to 16km/h.
A low tyre pressure indicator and a compass in the multi-function display are also included.
Other options include bi-Xenon headlights with dynamic cornering lights, leather upholstery, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, electrically operated panoramic glass sunroof and Volkswagen’s new RNS510 satellite-navigation system with Rear View Camera.
Colours include Candy White, Reflex Silver Metallic, Deep Black Pearl Effect, Wild Cherry Red Metallic, Catalina Blue Metallic, Silver Leaf Metallic and Mountain Grey Metallic. The pearlescent and metallic paint colours cost extra.
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