EVER wondered what an SUV would look like in activewear? Ponder no more because here it is, the Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI.
With the 162kW 2.0-litre turbo engine from the Golf GTI hot hatch slipped under the Tiguanís bonnet, hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive, Volkswagen has created a medium SUV that, on paper at least, looks like it should be more athletic than your average grocery-getting soft roader.
The on-paper numbers are promising. Though itís more than 300kg heavier than a Golf GTI, the Tiguan 162TSI manages to equal the 6.5sec 0-100km/h sprint time of its hatchback cousin. How? Thank the off-the-line traction of the 162TSIís 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and an extra gear ratio.
But in rolling acceleration, the quickest Tiguan lacks the willingness and verve of its hot-hatch sibling. The extra mass is definitely felt. Suddenly, it becomes apparent why this GTI-engined Tiguan doesnít bear a GTI badge of its own Ė itís quick, but ultimately not quick enough.
It doesnít sound like a GTI, either. There are hints of induction rort coming through the firewall, but most of the time that noise is drowned out by a diesel-like grumble that only disappears from the middle of the tacho and up.
The 162TSIís handling, however, is definitely up to snuff. Accurate steering and excellent body control combine with a well-sorted chassis to make the Tiguan 162TSI an SUV you can properly hustle. We only wish there was a little more grip from the all-season Pirelli rubber.
Electronically adjustable dampers come with an optional R-Line package (along with 20-inch alloys, a bodykit, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and more), and they alone make this $4000 spend a box worth ticking.
In Comfort mode the dampers almost completely dial out the brittleness associated with the R-Lineís guard-filling rolling stock (18-inchers are standard on the 162TSI Highline), while also introducing a smooth and compliant ride thatís worlds apart from the fussy nature of the standard fixed-rate dampers.
Variable-ratio steering is another key feature of the R-Line pack, reducing the amount of lock-tolock travel to a twirl-minimising two turns. Progressively decreasing in ratio the further you turn from centre, the steering is precise, well-weighted (in Normal mode anyway) and imparts an agile feel to the driving experience.
Better-sorted, faster and more broadly appealing than the Subaru Forester XT and Ford Escape Titanium Ė other mid-sized SUVs with vague aspirations of sportiness Ė the 162TSI R-Line is the new Tiguan at its finest.
Missing a GTI engine note; extra spend to get crucial adaptive dampers Pace; agility; stylish and high-quality interior; smart design; tech Model Motor Max power Max torque Transmission Weight Economy 0-100km/h Price On sale Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI R-Line 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 162kW @ 4500-6200rpm 350Nm @ 1500-4400rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1637kg 8.1L/100km 6.5sec (claimed) $52,490 Now
The 162TSI comes in top level Highline grade as standard, and features the same niceties enjoyed by its diesel-engined 140TDI Highline counterpart.
Things like a powered tailgate, keyless entry and ignition, heated seats, leather upholstery, LED headlamps and 10GB of onboard music storage. And thatís on top of the Tiguan rangeís built-in virtues of standard autonomous emergency braking, a roomy rear seat and a sizeable 615-litre boot when you scooch the sliding rear bench forward.