Used VW Tiguan gives plenty of engine and drive choices
VOLKSWAGEN'S Tiguan was a medium SUV benchmark from day one. It made its debut in 2008 and by late 2016 a second generation arrived, leading many smitten owners of the original to upgrade - so there are plenty of examples in the used listings.
The earliest examples can be had for under $10,000. But those in the 2013-16 year range have improved style, engine choice and equipment. Owners overwhelmingly report positive things for these and some still will have factory warranty remaining.
Your choice is vast, too. There are front and all-wheel drives, autos and manuals (although VW didn't sell too many with clutches) and diesel or petrol turbo engines.
Diesels that were part of VW's "Dieselgate" scandal were recalled to be rectified but petrol versions won't have the potential taint. Beyond that, all the Tiguan engines are decent jobs with ample shove.
The manual gearbox is a sweet thing if you can find one, while the dual-clutch auto, with six or seven forward ratios, appears not to suffer the same costly gremlins as earlier examples. Supply issues in 2013-14 meant there are "Pacific" badged Tiguans with conventional six-speed torque converter automatics.
Safety features and cabin quality are top notch, later models adding desirable gear such as reverse cameras and rear parking sensors. Options were costly but the original owners of some mid-range examples would have added the likes of leather trim and Park Assist - the Tiguan could literally park itself.
Positives were numerous: the Tiguan drove well, with pleasing engine/gearbox combinations, assured handling, quiet cabin and ability to soak up road imperfections.
Rear seats had decent head and legroom for the class, sadly at the expense of cargo space. With rear seats up, the boot's 395L wasn't much better than the Golf hatch stablemate, precluding kids' buggies or bikes.
The range started with the manual 118TSI, joined in August 2013 by a dual-clutch (DSG in VW-speak) auto.
A lustier 2.0-litre powered the 132TSI and in Golf GTI tune (155kW/280Nm) propelled the 155TSI to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds.
Thriftier diesels were in the 103TDI and its October 2014 replacement, the 130TDI.
That same month the 155TSI R-Line made its expensive entry as the sporting family SUV. Its R-Line body kit complemented satnav, leather trim and power driver's seat and the
18-inch wheels plus adaptive chassis control gave impressive cornering ability.
At the budget end, the 118TSI had daytime running lights, Bluetooth, cruise control and 16-inch alloys. The 132TSI and diesels added
17-inch wheels and dual-zone climate control.
Seek out a 132TSI Pacific and you get auto headlights and wipers, fog lights and Park Assist.
All Tiguans (finally) received reversing cameras in late 2014, while model year 2016 versions added 6.5-inch touchscreens and desirable Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Style-wise the first-gen Tiguans look plain compared to the current model but are by no means unattractive.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Owners of this vintage report few problems. Of the dissatisfied few, some complain of water pump failure and excessive oil consumption crops up occasionally in feedback.
Check for engine and transmission leaks, make sure no dash warning lights stay on and that services (every 12 months/15,000km) have been performed.
A Tiguan with DSG may show some jerkiness at low speeds, a twin-clutch trait - annoying as it is, shouldn't be cause for concern.
Check AWD versions in particular for off-road damage to the underside. Check whether the boot is big enough for your intended use.
On a diesel, check that a VW dealer has remedied the Dieselgate coding. On the recall front, others came in November 2013 for a light fuse, April 2016 for an airbag concern and June 2016 for child locks.
These Tiguans may look a bit dated today and have limited boot space but they make up for it where it matters with a classy, spacious cabin and excellent overall drive, no matter the engine choice or driven wheels. Serious problems aren't widely reported in later cars but if you find one with warranty remaining you'll have peace of mind.
Bill Norquay: We have done 108,000km in our diesel. I love it, it is a joy to drive, very comfortable and economical. The rear tailgate catch had to be replaced at $250. Coming back from a road trip last year it went into limp mode. The dealer found a problem with the exhaust gas recirculation cooler that would have cost about $2500 but VW picked up all except $150. The first set of Pirellis lasted 70,000km. It has never used a drop of oil. It is still on the original brakes and there is still plenty of life left in the pads. The services are a bit more expensive than some. I can travel from Melbourne to Sydney on one tank with about 150km to spare.
Agatha: I bought my 125TSI seven-speed new and it's done almost 120.000km. My kids are already fighting over keeping rights. They regularly borrow it and love its luxurious solidity and the engine's silkiness. I looked at upgrading three years ago but nothing could match its power and smoothness. Servicing and repairs were not cheap but the 15,000km intervals soften the impact. It uses no oil and I run it on 98 RON, averaging 9.5L/100km. The dual-clutch automatic has given me no trouble. The boot could be bigger but the sliding back seat compensates. For the next upgrade, I can't see anything but a new Tiguan or perhaps Skoda Kodiaq/Karoq.
For 2013-16 versions, VW sold about 22,000 examples. Among the used listings, nine out of 10 are automatic, three out of 10 are front-drivers and nearly 40 per cent are diesels - and the base 118TSI is the most commonly available. The sporty 155TSI is a rare listing.
For 2013 models, the 118TSI manual ($28,490 new) is worth $15,500 in good condition, with about 75,000km. The range-topping 155TSI ($42,990 new) is valued at $23,350.
For 2016 models, pay $22,150 for the 118TSI manual ($28,990 new) and $34,800 for the 155TSI ($44,990 new).
The mid-spec Pacific ($35,990 new, now no more than $24,000) holds value better than both.
Retained values for the 2013 Tiguan are about the same as Hyundai's ix35 and the Mitsubishi ASX but are left behind by Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and, to a lesser degree, Nissan Qashqai. Tiguans from 2016 hold value better than ix35 and ASX from the same year but still trail the CX-3, HR-V and Qashqai. - Red Book
VW TIGUAN 2013-16
PRICE NEW $28,490-$44,990
SAFETY 5 stars
ENGINES 1.4-litre 4-cyl twin-charged, 118kW/240Nm; 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo, 132kW/280Nm and 155kW/280Nm; 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 103kW/320Nm and 130kW/380Nm
TRANSMISSIONS 6-speed man, 6-speed auto, 6 or 7-speed dual-clutch auto; FWD/AWD