“But mummy, where did the road go?” Owen questions innocently from the back seat as the sideways, torrential, and non-stop rain belts down on the little Tiguan and all around us. Both hands planted firmly on the wheel (but not in a stressful way as I do love a good storm to drive in), I smile and answer.
“It’s there, my love. The rain’s just giving the road a bit of a bath right now. Someone will pull the plug soon and it’ll be back.”
Satisfied with my response, we both continue to enjoy the rumbling thunder and ooh and ahh as lightening strikes all around. We’re driving through a tornado-grade storm, a rare occurrence for our neck of the woods, but it’s happened and here we are, sitting in the 2015 Volks Tiguan Comfortline making our way home in the downpour.
Neither of us are at all stressed or worried, and there’s a good reason for that. The Tiguan is tough, safe, and comfortable even with the storm raging around us. With winds gusting in the 50-70km/h range, the Vdub held strong to the road without much wiggle, even when travelling at 65-70km/h (we’ll thank 4MOTION for keeping all four wheels firmly planted where they needed to be).
As I traverse the rain-soaked road and focus past the water that’s coating my windscreen much too quickly for the wipers to clear, I spot one of the brightest rainbows I’ve ever seen in the distance, where there’s a small bright break in the ominous charcoal black thunderclouds.
“Look, kiddo,” I announce. “See the rainbow there? That’s what happens when you don’t focus on the storm and look at what’s on the other side where the light breaks through…”
Weathering the storm in all the right ways
Of course, the 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan isn’t just a tornado-grade trooper, it’s also a highly capable everyday family crossover. With a solid build and a great drive, the Tiguan checked all the right boxes in my mind for my needs as a single parent with an almost 4-year-old.
Seating is comfortable and roomy, and great for those long-haul drives. As we trekked out to the countryside for the weekend, the 3+ hour drive went by in a flash with nary a complaint from me and my son content in the back with a great view of everything around him thanks to the large windows. And with 674 litres of trunk space, we had more than enough space for all the lake gear we needed to bring (I thought children started to need less the older they got … someone lied to me).
The comfy seats coupled with the Tiguan’s multilink rear and strut-type with lower control arms front suspension (as well as telescopic dampers both front and back), kept the ride relatively smooth. Although, it is important to note the Tigger still has a bit of a “sporty” nature to it and so harsher surfaces can be jarring.
Where the 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline 4MOTION really shone (before it weathered the epic storm) was in its ability to off-road with the best of ‘em. With 200mm of ground clearance, the little CUV made it up to a cottage where a Range Rover Sport greeted it head-on. And it didn’t even break a sweat while making the journey. To say I was impressed was an understatement.
And on the open road, the Tigger was just as much fun. The 2.0L TSI turbocharged 4-cylinder mill pushes out 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque and is quite peppy. Coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Tiguan is responsive and quick (when asked to be). There’s virtually no lag from the turbo, and there’s a pleasant grumble from the engine when pushed, as well. This isn’t a fast, blow-your-mind at the track vehicle, but it’s highly capable and sufficient for everyday life as well as highway merges and stop-and-go traffic. Really, what more could you want form a crossover in this segment?
I had hoped for a bit better gas mileage in all honesty as I was averaging in the 11L/100km range and was doing mostly highway.
A storm-cellar design
Where the 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan falls a bit flat is in the way it looks from the outside. While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with its design -- in fact it’s extremely classic and sophisticated in its look -- it’s just dated, at least when compared to the competition. When you’ve got companies like Mazda with KODO and Nissan braking design barriers left and right with their floating rooflines, etc. the Volkswagens tend to look a little too safe.
The 2015 Tigger is a bit like a storm cellar in its design: you know it’s functional, you know how it works, you know it’ll always be there and it will be comfortable for the time you need to use it. But it’s not particularly exciting. And that’s a shame because the VW Tiguan is a great little CUV and our predisposition to allow looks dictate our purchases means that Tigger doesn’t always win out where it should.
Revered as a benchmark by other manufacturers lining up brand new compact crossovers, the VW Tiguan truly is one of the best. However, it’s high price (as-tested close to the $35k mark) and dated look outside and in keep it at the bottom of the sales barrel.
Volkswagen named their Tiguan so because they combined the words Tiger and Leguan (German for iguana) to promote its usability, diversity and strength on the road. There’s much to be said for something that lives up to its name, and the Volks Tiguan does just that.
That was never more true than when we finally emerged from the torrential rain, gale-force winds, thunder and lightening 3+ hours later. When I finally parked the Tiguan at home that afternoon, I actually patted the steering wheel and said, “Good little Tigger, thank you.” It had gotten my son and I home in one piece and without any worry. If that’s not a strong selling point, I don’t know what is.