Tiguan is kind on the fuel tank

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

Encouraged by the response of motorists to the Touareg, Volkswagen are taking another step into the SUV market with the launch of the award-winning Tiguan.

With economists predicting the price of oil to hit the $130 a barrel mark by the end of the year, motorists had better brace themselves for some hefty fuel increases in the months ahead.

It is against this background that Volkswagen have shrewdly developed a 1,4-litre engine for the Tiguan that still turns out an impressive 110kW of power.

Driving from Port Elizabeth through to East London during a media launch last week, journalists had a chance to get to know the basic 1,4 model, and also a 2,0 litre diesel.

The Tiguan comes in three different specification levels - Trends&Fun, Track&Field, and Sport&Style - depending on what your primary use of the vehicle will be.

First up, the Trend&Fun is designed for those who spend more time in the urban jungle than they do getting down and dirty off-road.

Safety features are prominent - as they are in all versions of the Tiguan - with six airbags, an electronic stabilisation programme and an electronic parking brake.

The Sport&Style comes with a few extra features - wider wheels, chrome roof rails, leather seats and cruise control. The suspension is also designed to reduce body roll.

The Track&Field is your best bet if you prefer to spend your time bundu-bashing than cruising the boulevards of Sandton.

Hill descent assistance, ABS brakes and accelerator protection come standard. Also thrown in is a compass just in case you get lost while exploring the great outdoors.

But it was the small 1,4 engine that grabbed my attention.

Not only possessing an amazing amount of grunt for an engine that small, the 240Nm of torque enables overtaking with ease.

An added bonus with the 1,4 is that consumption is greatly reduced and you can expect to squeeze 8,4 litres per 100km.

Pricing for the Tiguan starts at R247500 for the basic 1,4 TSI Trend&Fun - through to R347000 for the 2,0 TSI Sport&Style Tiptronic.

These prices include a 5-year/60 000km AutoMotion maintenance plan and 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.