The Tiguan for the independent, career female

When it was confirmed that I will be having the Tiguan for five days, my mind instantly processed the news as “Oh my god! That boot space! I can transport so many stuff!

While it is true that SUVs are great for grocery runs and families, I found good reasons on how it suits me as a single female/ business owner.

Just so you know, my written experience here is based on the Highline variant of the all-new Tiguan 1.4 TSI.
The difference of pricing (yes, I agree price is an important consideration for any purchase) between the Comfortline Package (RM149, 578.00) and the Highline (RM169, 578.00) is RM20,000. Sorry gal, you got to sacrifice that LV bag you’ve been eying.

Prices mentioned are OTR, excluding insurance.

So, what are the differences exactly?
 

Clearly, if (1) your behind is comfortable with fabric instead of combination leather, (2) your parking skills are beyond reproach (you are a control freak), (3) you have no use for cruise control (because you are a control freak) and (4) all that LED lights are ornamental, you can live with the Comfortline (and have that LV ).

At the end of the day, the SAFETY features for both are the same. And that is a significant detail for me.

Now that we got the money topic out of the way, let’s see what we get for the Highline.


What made my drive of the Tiguan enjoyable:


1. It is big but it doesn’t feel big.
This is the simplest way I could explain it. In comparison to a sedan, you get more space (both boot and backseat) but you don’t feel like you’re driving a tank around.

This is another reason why I felt that the Comfortline is ok for me, since on the whole the Tiguan isn’t intimidating to manage. And this is coming from someone who drives a manual Kancil and an automatic Myvi (company car). The transition was smooth.

It took me less than an hour to make myself handle the compact SUV like I’ve been driving it for ages.
While it was great that to have the technology of the Highline (Park Assist, rear view camera), I had no trouble parking it despite its size, which says a lot. Thus I could foresee that I’ll be fine without both Park Assist and rear view camera. But of course, if I can spare 20,000 (and sacrifice that LV bag), I would grab the Highline.

2. Easy to handle.
The Tiguan is easy to drive fast, with quick enough steering and like I’ve mentioned earlier, gives an impression that it’s smaller than it is as you step on the accelerator. There is a sense of agility coupled with good body control. Overall it offers good ride comfort for long distance drives which is perfect for me as I have a tendency to hop states whenever I feel like it.
Nyonya chang from Melaka, traditional Hokkien dumpling from Penang, frozen yong tau fu from Ipoh, lekor from Terengganu – these are just some of the business stock that I personally transport monthly, which made me appreciate a safe, solid ride and of course, ample trunk space.

The only gripe I had was that wind noise is conspicuous and starts at about 100 km/h.
While I don’t expect whisper-quiet ride, I’ve had sat in similar range SUVs that offered better sound proofing.

I did noticed too that the suspension is a bit hard.
As Ivan Khong said (I sent him a SOS – what better way to confirm your suspicions than to ask a knowledgable car guy?), suspension is a bit firm and it is one of the key reasons the Tiguan handles well around corners.

Ah, I have to remember that. Driving on Kepong roads (Kepong is notorious for potholes and uneven tarmac!) for my food hunt did gave me a headache from the constant jarring and bumps. My makan buddies seated both front and rear concurred.

3. Comfortable and predictable layout. Some practical space slots, some clever features for convenience.
Everything is laid out in a practical manner that’s easy to get used to. I don’t know about you, but there is comfort in predictability.

The space hacks (storage space) within the cabin are convenient, though frankly some of them were too small to be of much help to me.

I had thought that I could hide my 13″ laptop under the passenger seat, but it turns out that I could only hide a flat box (about 4 cm in height, lower than your typical rice containers) of cookies.

Ok, an umbrella can’t fit here (the umbrella is just for an idea of the length by the way). But a Smart Tag would. And hmmm.. maybe coin box? This compartment was quite shallow.

Likewise, the passenger side storage is shallow. If you live in your car like I do, you might want to haul a box and keep that in the backseat instead.

Cupholders and arm rest storage in the middle is a given feature, but…

…I like these nifty “bands” which can be triggered out (and snapped back into hiding) to wrap around your cups/tall drinks that might top over (think of the Starbucks Venti).

And you can close it to for a neater look.

There are cupholders for the rear seats which is on the centre arm rest that can be pushed into the back.

A mesh strap here that is suitable for small stuff.

Side door storage – great for tapau. I mean, water bottles.

Other features I appreciate were the light that came on automatically when I slide open the cover for the mirror. This works for both sides.

Airplane style fold up trays with cupholders, mounted on the front seat backs, are available for the rear passengers. This prompted me to give serious consideration of getting myself a chauffeur! 🙂
But jokes aside, for those of you with kids, fabulous news – get them to do their homework or shut them up with a tablet.   

4. GREEN.
I’m a sucker for anything environmental friendly.
Officially recognized as an Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV), the all-new Tiguan comes with a claimed fuel efficiency of 6.7l/100km.
I didn’t do a fuel efficient test since there are plenty of car writers who did. Overall the fuel levels didn’t give me cause for alarm as I zip all over the Klang Valley (and further) for 5 days.

5. Technology and SAFETY.

Technology is supposed to make life easier. And it does in many ways for the Tiguan.

The display (12.3-inch Active Info Display digital instrument panel) tells you everything about the vehicle.
If you are a single independent lady like me, this can be godsend. No more wondering if you should pump the tires or skipping your services due to failing memory.

Entertainment wise you can sync your smartphone to the Tiguan.
For the Highline, there is Apple CarPlay, a stripped-down version of iOS designed for your car. With it, you can send messages with iMessage, play music, get directions, listen to podcasts, stream radio and call people without touching your phone.
Grab a lightning-to-USB cable, plug it into your iPhone, plug the USB end into your car, and you’re set.

And so I was blasting Despacito (don’t judge!) and thoroughly enjoying what the audio system has to offer on my rides.

And here’s the most impressive feature – the Park Assist 3.0 (parallel and perpendicular auto parking).

If you are a newbie to this like me, the below is the step by step method to get the Park Assist to work. Myself and Des (a car enthusiast) wasn’t able to figure out how to use it. So I Whatsapp Ivan Khong again. He hasn’t billed me his consultation fees, but I’ve prepared my salted egg yolk kaya ready to be shipped as payment. LOL.

Step 1: STOP before space.
Step 2: Press the button to activate the Park Assist.
Step 3: Signal to indicate which lot, left or right. (we missed this step!)
Step 4: Follow instructions on screen. You still have to control the brakes. System will twirl the steering for you. However, the Park Assist will be deactivated the moment your hand touch the steering so make sure your hands are OFF!

*insert video*

I have to admit. I’m a control freak and I was initially uncomfortable to let the “car take control”. However, after a few attempts which instilled a bit more confidence in me of the Tiguan’s ability to park properly, I found myself pretty reliant on it.

For safety, the Tiguan possesses all the standard safety features and more. You get the central locking system, anti-lock brake, airbags, electronic stability control, warning signal and light for front seat belts not fastened and more. 

Last but not least, there is ISOFIX, a feature important for any car and for those who have kids. It doesn’t apply to me and likely never will, but it is a feature important to highlight anyhow.

Now that I’ve explained my personal impressions of the Tiguan, let me share with you how I took advantage of it.


My 5 days Tiguan date:


I’ve said before that the most important aspect for me to consider a SUV is the possible transportation space.

So as you can imagine, I made full use of the Tiguan when it was in my possession. This is the standard five-seat version by the way.
Part of my business required me to take part in bazaars to promote my food products. Unfortunately the dates I had the Tiguan I didn’t have any bazaars lined up. However, as you can see from the images below, the Tiguan could certainly handle the load that I would normally bring to a bazaar.

Levers on the walls of the boot drop the rear seats in one motion, something I appreciate since I rather not wrestle with the seats whenever I need to put them down.

There is a hook in place so I figured I could make use of it; by hanging my clothes in the boot!

With the front passenger seat’s ability to fold forward plus absolutely flat cargo area when the rear seats are down, there is plenty of space for long items – think cupboards, shelves, long tables and the likes.  

With the Tiguan at my disposal, I went shopping and saved myself a few hundreds in bookings on theLorry.com.

Just in case you’re wondering, yes, there is a spare tyre and it’s here.

For transportation of makan buddies, my gang was pleased with the head and legroom. One particularly tall (and large) fella said he was able to stretch out his legs to under the front seat. Another loved the back seat air vents which can be controlled on or off.
Keith, the self-professed car enthusiast gave the Tiguan thumbs up on the fit and finish, claiming it as good as imported models. The social media addict Jo was extremely pleased to be able to charge her phone via the 12V port. 

Besides all the conveniences I’ve mentioned before, I’ve also grown fond of the sensors (Park Distance Control). It is a valuable aid that indicates the distance to obstacles behind the vehicle and in front of the vehicle (in some VW models) thanks to an intermittent warning tone and from the screen.

Thus I was able to gauge my parking or if I was able to squeeze past a car on a road.

As below – the different color and layers shows the proximity of the object to the Tiguan.

An object is an object, regardless of whether it is a plant or car.

Driving around was a breeze with feature like Hill Hold control.
Remember this particular incline stretch just before Bangsar Shopping Centre? I use this road a lot because I’m in Bangsar well, a lot.

BELOW: Press this button and you can rest your feet from the brake.

It was raining daily for the period that I had the Tiguan with me. The automatic wipers came in useful when it poured.

Conclusion:
There is not much sexy factor to the Volkswagen Tiguan, but there’s also nothing that annoys. I find it an adequate vehicle packed with handy features (particularly for the Highline) that makes ownership of one a satisfying experience.
The Tiguan is locally assembled, Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) certified and it comes with a competitive price – definitely a SUV to consider.