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From a Duster in India to the VW Tiguan in Canada: Ownership Review

Even though this is a Tiguan (considered a premium SUV in India) in context, it is equivalent to a Brezza in India.

BHPian Tgo recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

From...

  • double digits Above 0°C to double digits Below
  • 100 km in a Week to 100 km in a Day
  • French quirkiness to German sophistication
  • Dine-ins to Drive-throughs
  • Diesel to Gas
  • Manual to Automatic
  • Road trips to Essential travel

This thread took really long to put together and there's so much to talk about transitioning to an LHD country adding to that the sub-zero weather in the winters. Hoping to put my thoughts across as they come by and keep the ownership experience updated for as long as I own this car.

Likes:

  • Its called the Big-uan for the space available inside
  • Standard safety and equipment package
  • Planted ride and sure-footed handling
  • Decent fuel economy

Dislikes:

  • Lethargic pick-up in normal mode
  • Non-adjustable front centre armrest
  • Some rattles and squeaks

Looks like an overgrown station wagon

  1. Intro and finalising the car
  2. Specs and Features
  3. Winter Driving
  4. Life with the Tiguan

Hello to everyone on the forum. Some of you, who know me a little, know that I moved to Canada last year. With the change in coordinates, a lot has gone through with settling in and embracing the new way of life here. Believe me when I say, it is no different from learning to live by yourself again, like the first time you're out of college. I always dreamed of getting a Mazda or a Subaru as my first car, when I was sitting on the other side of the fence and everything looked greener in Canada. Once neck deep in the waters, the reality hit me hard. It was a long wait for me. Full marks for support to my wife, who never complained, commuting to work or doing grocery runs with bags full and waiting for the bus in icy cold weather. After 8 months of getting accustomed to public transit, something I dreaded in India, and our first baby on the way, the topic of getting a car was akin to the elephant in the room touching all four walls.

Pretext

To be honest, I had given up searching for cars knowing that it would be the biggest investment if you could even call it an investment. I used to look up the specs of entry-level cars from every make, in those days without a job, trying to churn numbers in my head to miraculously arrive at an imaginary stash of cash, that could make it happen. Eventually, it drew me away from the forum with nothing worthwhile to contribute. Moving from RHD to LHD and mostly being ferried around in the back seats, I had lost interest and confidence in driving too.

With the automobile market turned upside down after COVID, North America is no different. 8-10 grand Canadian could get you a lightly used car which you could run without issues for 5-6 years or longer. In that money today, you either get rusty Fender American cars with over 200,000 km on the odo or some Japanese/Koreans with 400,000 km on the odo. Either one, just waiting to throw a mechanical tantrum or boring you to death with its blandness.

Then there is the Insurance situation. You pay more initially when you have no driving history in North America. As you build up a clean record, your premiums start going down in subsequent years. It also depends on the class of license you hold. On the graduated driving license (GDL 5) that I have which everyone else also gets after their learners, insurance turns out to be equal to what you pay for your car in a month. And unlike India, you dare not want to use it. If you think about it, the amount you pay for insurance, in the first few years, is what you can spend on city transit pass for work + Uber for all other needs. Yes, it doesn't make any financial sense, to date.

Narrowing Down

So anyway, I was fortunate enough that the Friends I discovered here in Canada through family in India, are partners and have their own car dealership. I initially pestered them on two occasions to try and find me a car in the $6-8K range and was politely declined due to obvious reasons. There were too many variables and uncertainties with used examples in that price range.

On the third occasion, I was hunting for a new or new-ish Corolla or a Civic. Which was unobtanium in March-Oct 2022. My friend had a few cars ordered new but they had no confirmation on when they would reach their lot. On one of those visits, I was shown two other options. A 2020 Jetta and a 2020 Tiguan. These were low mileage options with the Jetta Comfortline at 48,000 km retailing for CAD 26,000 and the Tiguan Trendline at 25,000 km retailing for CAD 33,000. The brand new Corolla XLE or a Civic EX would cost in the same ballpark CAD 28-30,000. There was another Tiguan with similar age and mileage but was higher up in the model range with a panoramic roof, leather seats and a bunch of other options retailing for CAD 37,000. There was a storm of questions brewing in my head.

  • VW, seriously?
  • DSG failure, don't want that.
  • I am going to street park it, what if...?
  • EA888 2.0 TSI, carbon build-up issues in the intake.
  • I can live without AWD, right?
  • Do I need the extra space? Or should I go for more gadgetry?
  • Could I afford the 20% higher fuel consumption?
  • ...You see how the questions were all related to the Tiguan.
  • I realised, my mind had made a decision. I spent the next two nights clearing the doubts.

Most of the Tiguans in Canada are AWD so can't run away from that. A blessing I would say.

Even though this is a Tiguan (considered a premium SUV in India) in context, it is equivalent to a Brezza in India. It is not a Porsche that I worry about street parking it. I anything is is less prone to "grand theft auto".

Surprisingly but also pleasantly, there is no DSG in the Tiguan here. It comes with an Asian 8-Speed Conventional Torque Convertor Automatic. Good riddance.

Among other examples, fuel consumption is higher, but the space on offer is unmatched. Especially once you factor in tall front-row passengers and car seats on the 2nd row.

EA888 carbon buildup was the only Issue. This is a Direct Injection engine and in a different configuration in other parts of the world, a secondary set of fuel injectors are provided in the intake manifold which clears up the deposits on the intake valves, but not in North America. But VW has had this or a variant of this engine in a bunch of group cars like the Porsche Macan and some Audis too. How bad can it be? We'll see how that goes. BTW, these things rack up miles like crazy as Taxis in Europe.

Getting Her Majesty's blessings

So after two days, I tell my wife to wrap up early from work. We have to go see a car. She knows has heard me mentioning something about a Corolla and a Civic but is asking me to wait for another month. We finally are out, take the bus and get off at the nearest stop to the dealership. We forgot the umbrellas in a hurry and the weather doesn't look good. It starts to drizzle and we had to walk 2 km, or so we had planned. Within the next few yards, the drizzle became a downpour and we run for cover under a tree waiting there for a good 10 minutes, almost getting drenched and kind of not saying it but knowing that I should thank the weather god in some way for rubbing "not having a car" in like this.

We finally reach there and my friend pulls out the car from the lot and hands me the keys to go on a test drive. My wife was like, aren't you going to ask him to come along? I gave her the - I guess that's not how test drives work in this country - look. So we both took our seats and gently edged out onto the road and for the next 30 minutes drove in evening rush hour traffic. I was trying my best to blabber about the car and its positives while nervously driving the bus route which was the only route we could navigate without hooking up the maps and creating more distractions.

Back at the dealership, we went in and my friend started talking numbers. Moved on to my doubts about the reliability compared to a Honda/Toyota. I have explained two things: A) This car is still under factory warranty B) Where are you getting a 25k run Honda/Toyota in the used market? Well, that was a fair answer! and in fact, all I wanted to hear. I didn't see any concerns being raised by my wife on the financial front. So I went on to email them copies of the documents needed to finance it and the registration. Collected from them a few contacts for insurance brokers and it was a done deal.

Continue reading BHPian Tgo's VW Tiguan review for more insights and information.

 
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