Volkswagen Tiguan: The emancipation of soccer dads

If you are mulling over parenthood, don’t let anyone or anything dissuade you; starting a family is a magical and soul-enriching experience. That said, we would be lying if we told you family life doesn’t encompass a myriad of compromises, particularly when it comes to the choice of ride.

I wish I can call myself a ‘stay home dad’, something which I’ve yet to be able to afford, but I do take on my share of ‘soccer mom duties’; school runs, tuition, violin classes…but curiously anything but soccer. I can’t deny having one of these urban-centric SUVs (that doesn’t cost a second mortgage) is really handy for families, but for someone who cherishes quality time spent behind the wheel, it would have to take some doing if I am to allow myself to be assimilated as part of the growing SUV collective.

Tiguan eschews sinewy lines for hard creases, and it looks just fine.
Not quite macho, but it’s unisex

I appreciate the fact that the second-generation Tiguan has a boxier profile and retains angular details and hard creases on its body, it stands apart from the soft curves and flowing lines favoured by SUVs of oriental origins. The generous application of lower body cladding also reinforces a more ‘robust’ impression, even if it doesn’t have all-wheel drive to back it up. I wouldn’t call the Tiguan masculine, but more importantly, neither would I be mistaken for driving the missus’ car, if you get what I mean.

Digital displays add cool factor to an otherwise business-like interior.

Like many models that hail from the Volkswagen group, you won’t find any frivolity or wasteful indulgences in the Tiguan’s cabin. The dash layout is familiar and business-like, but it’s also a study in functionality and user friendliness. Maybe the build quality isn’t quite as impressive now that rivals such as the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 have caught up (and may have even nudged ahead), but the technology on show (a must-have USP these days), namely the expansive eight-inch centre infotainment touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, is very slick and a joy to use. Oh, there’s also Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Fully digital driver’s instrumentation is pleasing to look at; dubbed Active Info Display.

When a chore isn’t really one

A satisfying journey doesn’t necessarily have to involve hundreds of kilometres, a short return trip after dropping junior off can be just as telling. Many liken the Tiguan to a Golf on heels, but I think that’s not doing it justice, neither does the spec sheet; 150hp/250Nm from a turbocharged four-cylinder and the 8.9-second achievement in the 0-100km/h benchmark are respectable numbers on paper, but not exactly breathtaking.

Turbocharged 1.4-litre four-pot that punches above its weight, aided ably by 6-speed DSG.

What’s remarkable about the Tiguan is that it behaves as if it stood no taller than a Golf, its higher centre of gravity reduced to a non-event by virtue of its resistance to roll and a sharp turn in. The suspension damping is on the firmer end of the scale (as you’d expect a Volkswagen to be) accompanied by a tangible ‘connection’ to the road via the steering, with the ride never getting tiresome over difficult surfaces. Now, add a punchy 1.4-litre turbo that’s hooked up to a fast-shifting dual-clutch transmission (wet-sump six-speeder this time around) and you have a SUV that’s unusually agile and fun to punt around town. The Tiguan is possibly the perfect foil to mundane errands.

Low ride height (comparatively) means easy egress/ingress; legroom and headroom more than adequate.
It’s time for gender parity

For a segment that continues to grow healthily and will very likely replace the traditional three-box saloon as the primary family car, there should no longer be any excuses as to why a mass market soft-roader isn’t able to appeal to both sexes equally. And while the Volkswagen Tiguan isn’t the prettiest nor the most spacious in its class, it certainly can stake a claim as the most gender equal of the lot, one that doesn’t leave soccer dads behind.

Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Highline
: RM168,990  Engine: 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged, FWD Output: 150hp/250Nm Transmission: 6-sp dual-clutch auto Performance: 0-100km/h in 8.9s; top speed 198km/h Wheels/tyres: 235/55 R18 (F&R) Safety: 6 airbags, Electronic Stability Control Warranty: 5-year/unlimited (w/ 3-year maintenance included)