The next step up is to a better-equipped 1.4-litre DSG Comfortline model from $36,990, but the smart money should go to the 2.0-litre models with seven-speed DSG and all-wheel-drive in Comfortline and Highline variants. In addition to the superior driveline, the Comfortline includes a driving profile selector, three-zone climate control, satellite navigation, colour multi-function display and fog lights. The 132TSI (for 132kW) starts at $41,490 while our test car, the 110TDI, is listed from $42,990. Highline models get significantly more powerful engines; the 162TSI and 140TDI are from $48,490 and $49,900 respectively. They come with LED dynamic cornering headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless access, electronic tailgate, Pro satellite navigation, heated and electric adjustable sports seats with memory positions, gearshift paddles and leather-appointed trim. Our test 110TDI can be optioned with several of these features.
Tiguan is notable for the everyday practicality provided by a well-thought-out cabin. Access and seating comfort are particularly good, from short doors with multiple holding positions that avoid banging a wall or the adjacent car, to their wide-opening access and hip-high seats with long, supportive cushions. A full range of manual seating adjustment, including lumbar and seat height, is provided for both driver and front passenger, although the height-adjusting levers are crude in their operation. Drivers also have steering reach control. There are many appealing touches such as multi-adjustable headrests, multiple storage compartments, a cooler box and an Audi-style navigation screen in front of the driver.
Head and leg space all round is particularly good, with the rear seats having travel adjustment, and the trim presentation looks smart and durable right through to the tailgate. The rear seat passengers get temperature-controlled air vents, seatback tables, childseat anchorages on the seatback and well-positioned lighting, pockets and power outlets. The regular luggage space is impressive and complemented by firm square walls, and 40/20/40 split-fold seats provide plenty of versatility. In the notably long load area, there are handy lighting and power outlets, a non-lipped floor and even a grab handle on a tailgate you can stand under in bad weather. The narrow space-saver spare wheel isn’t ideal, but it at least has the same rolling radius as the road wheels.