2017 Volkswagen Tiguan

Has grown bigger and more premium

"Is it the most important Volkswagen in years?"

"Tiguan is intended to attract more buyers from the competitors, but it won't have an easy job."

"The Tiguan sculpts an exceptional sweet spot in the jam-packed SUV market," said Issam.

Since the model's launch in 2007, Volkswagen sold 2.8 million units worldwide of the Tiguan. With the introduction of the new Tiguan, the eight-year lifecycle of its predecessor comes to an end. Tiguan definitely has a reputation to live up to. It took Volkswagen such a long time to bring us a Tiguan worth that reputation. As most of you don't know, around 25 percent of total production is expected to be sold in Germany; it is clear Volkswagen's best-selling SUV is truly popular in its home country!

I took the 2017 Tiguan over a weekend for a spin in Lebanon's capital, Beirut.

First of all, it's bigger than the previous generation with a longer wheelbase that has additional space for rear seat occupants, as well as an excessive boot with an additional 50 liters of cargo space. It feels a size larger than its predecessor inside and out, with plenty of room in the cabin.

I stepped into the cockpit and could instantaneously notice the brilliant materials and a diversity of eye-catching finishes throughout the cabin - the Tiguan is a classy place to be. It's also comfy, with a perfect driving position. All Tiguan models get an eight-inch touchscreen which overlooks the dashboard. Gratefully, there are visibly marked shortcut buttons on both sides of the screen and the tri-zone climate control, also detached, sits below the screen and is easy to control.

The new Tiguan feels lighter than its equivalent predecessor and feels more enthusiastic and fun to drive. The ride around the village and on the highway was quiet and well controlled across the broken surfaces we did encounter. In truth, the steering is my concern, as far as I'm concerned. It's not 'sporty' in the old-fashioned sense, however, as the steering lacks in feedback and becomes unnecessarily heavy in its Sport setting. In Normal mode the steering gives a nice balance in weight and openness.

The engine is quiet, as we know it and is quick to respond to keep things stimulating by offering its maximum 340 Nm of torque between 1,750 and 3,000 rpm. There actually is no point of pushing it to more than 4,000 rpm. The DSG-gearbox provides sharp gear changes and proved to be quick thinking when switching the speed from fast to normal driving.

My judgement is reasonably altered from the one I asserted nine years ago on the first-generation Tiguan. At that time I compared it to the Korean and Japanese manufacturers. Nowadays, the new Tiguan is not only a rival of a lower price-point such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, but also of more luxurious premium rivals such as the BMW X1 and the Mercedes GLA. Tiguan might also grab the attention of some clientele looking at the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC.

Pros: Gorgeous new design, largest boot in its class, high-end and refined interior, standard safety features
Cons: Steering wheel lacks feedback, pricey full-equipped model
Rivals: Mazda CX-5, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Jeep Cherokee, Renault Koleos
one word: grownup
3.5 stars

2.0L TSI, inline 4-cylinder, 180 hp @ 3,940 - 6,000 rpm, 320 Nm @ 1,500 - 3,940 rpm
AWD 4MOTION, 7-speed Tiptronic DSG with paddle shifts,
0-100 km/h: 7.7 sec, top speed: 207 km/h, fuel consumption: 7.4-7.3 L/100 km
weight: 1,645 kg

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