VW's valet parking
The beauty of today's car marketplace are the gadgets, like sat nav and reverse parking cameras, the fuel efficiencies, variety of engine options, and the driver assisted components, that try to sway you to a particular brand of vehicle, like Volkswagen's Tiguan, the latest offering to consumers in the compact SUV market.
The SUV domain is seen as a major area of growth for a lot of automobile manufacturers, including VW who expect the recently released Tiguan to become its number two bestseller in Australia behind the Golf. There are five models in the range, a six-speed auto or manual for the 2lt 125kW TSI turbo four-cylinder petrol and 2.0lt 103kW TDI turbo four-cylinder diesel variants, and a six-speed auto top of the range 2.0lt 147kW TSI four-cylinder petrol model.
The popularity of SUVs are obvious, in particular their smaller size equating to fuel efficiency, a mute point as people contemplate downsizing their vehicles in response to the current oil shock.
The swing to diesel powered automobiles is on a rapid ascent in Australia and the Tiguan is now the second compact SUV sold in Australia behind Suzuki's Grand Vitara to have this more fuel-efficient and lower carbon emitting engine compared to petrol powerplants.
A big plus for those of us concerned about diesel fumes and its inherent carcinogens is that the Tiguan's 2.0 TDI diesel with common rail injection comes with an oxidising catalytic converter and particulate filter that already complies with Euro-5 standard emission laws.
Australia currently adopts Euro-4 standards, and while Europe will introduce Euro-5 next year, this country has still to announce an introduction date of that stage for domestic vehicles (briefly, the Euro emission standards are designed to reduce sulphur from diesel fuel to minimal levels, and greatly reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, and fine particulate matter from exhausts).
As stated earlier, car manufacturers try to include a previously unused new technology to make their particular model more attractive than the opposition, and in the case of the Tiguan it's a nifty Park-Assist function (an $890 or $1390 option depending on the model) for reversing into a parallel parking space.
Park-Assist gives voice prompts telling you how far to move into position and when to stop before the microprocessors and sensors take over. Once in position, all you have to do is engage reverse, take your hands off the wheel, and the vehicle turns and backs itself into the parking space with the driver controlling only the accelerator pedal, clutch and brake. The system is deactivated as soon as the driver intervenes in the steering process. It's the first park steering assistance of its type in the world, according to VW, and a pretty cool function I've been told by one of our company's auto writers who has driven the vehicle. No more staring at the reflection in shop front windows.
The Tiguan has off-road capability with its 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, however, the space saver wheel instead of a proper spare wheel will have its detractors in this capacity. While the SUV does not have low-range gearing, instead, on six-speed manual models VW said the Tiguan can be driven at an engine speed of 1000rpm or a vehicle speed of some 6.69kmh, which the company said equates to the crawler gear of a reduction gearbox anyway. There is an Off-Road Technology option that costs only $290 and includes Hill Descent Assistance, while the standard Electronic Differential Lock automatically monitors and adjusts the traction of the four wheels. Also, a second body shape with sharper entry and departure angles is meant to arrive in Australia later this year.
The VW supplied fuel consumption figures for the Tiguans range from 7.4lt/100km (ADR 81/01) for the manual diesel up TO 10.1lt/100km for both 125kW and 147kW TSI petrol autos.
Power and torque specifications are 103kW at 4200rpm and 320Nm at 1750 to 2500rpm for the TDI, while the two-model petrol engines produce either 125kW at 4300rpm and 280Nm at 1700 to 4200rpm or 147kW at 5100rpm and 280Nm at 1700 to 5000rpm.
All models have a towing capacity of 2000kg for braked trailers and 750kg for unbraked trailers.
|Priced from: $33,990 (125kW TSI manual)|
$35,990 (TDI manual)
up to $42,990 (147kW TSI auto)
|Body type: Five-door wagon|
|Fuel capacity: 64lt|
|Fuel consumption (ADR 81/01): From 7.4lt/100km (diesel manual) up to 10.1lt/100km (125kW and 147kW petrol autos)|
|Types: 2lt turbo diesel w/ common rail injection; 2lt turbo petrol w/ direct injection|
|Max. power: 103kW at 4200rpm (diesel); 125kW at 4300 (petrol) and 147kW at 5100rpm (petrol)|
|Max. torque: 320Nm at 1750 to 2500rpm (diesel); 280Nm at 1700 to 4200m (125kW petrol) and 280Nm at 1700 to 5000rpm (147kW petrol)|
|Transmission: Six-speed manual (diesel and 125kW petrol); six-speed auto (all models)|
|Warranty: Three-year/100,000km manufacturer's warranty w/ 24hr roadside assistance. There is also a three-year warranty on paintwork and a 12-year anti-corrosion perforation warranty|