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[Behind the Wheel] Volkswagen Tiguan -- good value, low price

Volkswagen’s bestselling SUV comes with enhanced features

The Volkswagen Tiguan (Volkswagen Korea)
The Volkswagen Tiguan (Volkswagen Korea)
It is not the fanciest car, but Volkswagen’s Tiguan shows that being faithful to the basics can be a charm.

Around the globe, the sport utility vehicle has sold over 6 million units, earning a reputation as a steady seller.

For Volkswagen Korea, it is the most important model, since it accounted for over 10,000 of the 17,615 units the company sold last year.

With a clear and differentiated strategy to position itself as the best value for money among all imported car brands, Volkswagen Korea brought in a revamped, second-generation Tiguan in July. While adopting new functions as standard, the automaker has lowered the price, with new discount programs to make this model even cheaper.

The Korea Herald had the chance to test-drive the Tiguan 2.0 TDI Prestige front-wheel drive model for about 60 kilometers across Seoul. 

The Volkswagen Tiguan (Volkswagen Korea)
The Volkswagen Tiguan (Volkswagen Korea)
At first glance, several modifications were noticeable that gave the car a sharper look.

The horizontal grille was slightly larger, and a new slat had been added. The LED headlamps were narrower, changing the impression of the “face” of the vehicle.

Inside the car, the rear seat had ample headroom and legroom, and the large trunk was another plus. The second-row seat is not folded flat.

The interior design may be lacking some luxurious finishing touches, but given that the car starts at 40 million won ($34,522), it was good enough. It is simple and sticks to the basics.

The digitalized dashboard showed that the car was up to date, and it was easy to control and access information such as the full-screen, high-resolution navigation.

On the road, the Tiguan was suitable for city driving and was also a reasonable family car with adequate space.

The vehicle picked up speed smoothly on highways, and the accelerator and the brakes reacted at decent speeds.

It would have been nice if Volkswagen had included powertrain options other than diesel, as the industry is hustling to provide “greener” options. But the automaker explains that it has an EA288 Evo 2.0-liter diesel engine, which cuts nitrogen oxide emissions by about 80 percent compared with the previous engine. 

The Volkswagen Tiguan (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
The Volkswagen Tiguan (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
It also complies with one of the strictest emissions regulations in Europe, Euro 6d, according to the automaker.

With the latest engine and the seven-speed direct shift gearbox, the vehicle can exert up to 150 horsepower and a maximum torque of 36.7 kilogram-meters.

For a front-wheel drive vehicle, the wheels reacted very quickly to light turns of the steering wheel. It did not feel quite as firm as desired, but opinions may vary depending on preference.

The new Tiguan is also equipped with driver assistance features that are convenient on the clogged roads of Seoul.

The car’s Adaptive Cruise Control worked nicely in a traffic jam, automatically controlling the speed of the vehicle to the designated 30 kilometers per hour and keeping a safe distance from the car in front of it.

It appeared to sense the car’s presence well enough to smoothly reduce the speed, preventing the sudden stops that sometimes occur in other cars.

The driver assistance features also include Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Assist and Rear Traffic Alert.

The panoramic roof, standard for the Prestige trim, expanded nicely above the seats below. The Head Up Display function also is standard for the trim.

As the automaker emphasizes, one of the biggest strengths is the price. Volkswagen said it has cut the starting price of the new Tiguan by up to some 2.4 million won from the previous model.

The price for the lowest trim, 2.0 TDI Premium, starts at 40 million won. The highest trim, 2.0 TDI 4 Motion Prestige, is priced at 46.5 million won.

The company said it is offering a 5 percent discount for those using the Volkswagen Financial Service program and a 3.5 percent discount for those paying cash. With those discounts, the SUV falls within the 30 million won range, the company added.

By Jo He-rim (