How I decided on the Tiguan among other good SUVs: 1 month of ownership

I felt that the engine of the Skoda Kodiaq was not that responsive since I had already taken a test drive of the VW Tiguan by then.

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The Tiguan - Buying Journey and first-month ownership review - totally worth it!


Having driven cars like Swift and Celerio, I upgraded to a Hyundai Elantra 4 years back. The purchase of the Elantra is also a story for another time when I had gone to buy the Creta in 2019 but without any test drive, got sold on the Elantra and booked it on the spot. In a span of 5 mins, I had moved on from a budget of 15 lacs to 21 lacs and from one segment to another.

I loved the Elantra and for me, it was the first taste of semi-premium cars which set the standards for me - the 2 Ltr Petrol engine, nice cabin isolation and supple suspension - it indeed was a great experience. But the one thing which I never accounted for was the low seating position in a sedan which would become a pain for me.

In hatchbacks which I owned earlier, one sits straight and high unlike in a sedan where you sit low-reclined and this created a new problem for me - backache! Over the last year this problem became quite prominent in the Mumbai traffic where any drive of more than 20-25 mins caused me discomfort and in Mumbai 20 mins is what it takes at times to just get out of parking, let alone go someplace 5 or 10 km away!

This got me thinking and while the inherent need for an SUV and comfortable seating position became stronger, the prospect of owning a new car in the semi-premium/premium segment also parallelly excited me - and while financially it was a stretch, the excitement pushed me onwards!

Buying journey:

I could only semi-convince my wife (You know what I mean as she looks at savings more than spending being from the Finance side!) and started scouting in May'23, the two most critical requirements being - a solid petrol motor and an SUV due to the aforementioned 'seat comfort' reason.

The cars I looked at with a planned budget of up to ~50 lacs:

  • Hyundai Tucson - A good car, all-round package but two things I could never get my head around - the under-powered 2 ltr petrol, same as my earlier Elantra and build quality apprehensions (the CKD coming to India somehow did not inspire total confidence, dare I say, the Elantra felt a much better built car being a CKD as well)
  • Hyundai Alcazar - Again a good car overall but two concerns - the weak-ish 1.5 petrol turbo and even in this car I could not find comfortable seating despite a TD which lasted ~40 minutes
  • Toyota Hycross - never a serious contender as the waiting time was 24 months, the Toyota people also did not seem too interested in selling either the Hycross or the Fortuner
  • Did not consider any Tata/Mahindra cars since I feel while they are great cars but will take at least another 4-5 years before they reach close to the finesse and reliability of Japanese/Korean/European manufacturers
  • Audi Q3 - A superb car though the VFM equation did not work out for me - most of the features and space one could want you could get in a Tiguan or a Kodiaq - yes, agree you don't get the premium badge
  • BMW X1/Merc GLA - the petrols on paper look underpowered (Another reason for not going with Marquee brands was the even higher cost of maintenance as well as the price-value equation) - I personally believe the value equation with Marquee brands makes good sense beyond models priced >70 lacs which for me was beyond budget - no offense to the current owners - these are all great cars and I envy whenever I see one!
  • Skoda Kodiaq - Boy, what a car, the smile on my wife's face said it all in the TD (and she is not even a car buff), it made the shortlist, although I felt that the engine was not that responsive since I had already taken the TD of the Tiguan by then
  • Tiguan - a car which at first was just another option for us, in fact, the first time we saw the car - our first impression was just about OK - the seats impressed me though - one of the few cases where I never needed to adjust the seat too much and it just worked! The car really does grow on you though - I took a couple of test drives apart from numerous showroom visits whenever I got a chance while traveling. Every time I saw/drove the car, it grew on me and made more and more sense + the super comfortable seats, it was shortlisted as well.

Deciding in favour of Tiguan:

In the end, the decision was between Kodiaq and Tiguan - and what tilted in favour of Tiguan was:

  • Same platform - same engine - better tuned and more responsive
  • Apt size and fun to drive, never really needed those 2 extra seats of Kodiaq
  • A good ~9 lac cheaper compared to top-end Kodiaq (compared to Tiguan with 4 yr SVP, 4+2 yr EW)
  • What I was foregoing in Kodiaq which was important to me - ventilated seats, 360 deg camera
  • What I was getting additional in Tiguan - IQ Matrix LED Head Lights (One of the best I have seen), Not a 360 deg camera but yes it has 360 deg sensors (It is there in the newer OBD2 models from June onwards, god knows why VW is not publicizing it - it's a great feature and has been working great for me)

I bargained hard with the SA and booked the Dolphin Grey in Aug'23 with a delivery date fixed for Sep'23 first week. The SA was super prompt and helpful and since the car was in stock (June MFD), all timelines worked out and we took the delivery on 1st Sep'23. As a part of the deal, got 4 yrs SVP with 4+2 yrs EW and changed a few of the so-called default accessories to what I wanted.

First-month ownership experience:

Observations over the first month (~850 kms), I will also talk about some points from my experience which people have raised concerns about:

  • Drive experience - The car is just amazing, in Sports Mode it shows its true colours and pushes you back into the seat, just too good
  • Build Quality - top notch - feels built like a tank, not even a single niggle or cabin noise yet
  • Handling - handles like a charm, brakes with aplomb, it makes you push the car hard - the confidence it inspires is just amazing
  • Ride Comfort - This is where I was apprehensive reading about it online - my experience - it is fairly ok now after 850 kms of run-in. Point to note - when the car is new it rides a bit harsh but give it 500 kms or so on the odo and the ride does smoothen out. What also does not help the cause is that for some reason the showroom guys kept the tyre pressure at an insane 46 psi for the TD vehicle as well as in my car when it was delivered - again, god knows why. Keep TP at 34 psi and it rides much much better. Is it as good as Kodiaq or even my earlier Elantra - it is not - but it is 90% there for me - if one wants a car which is well-planted at high speeds then low speed ride comfort may have to be compromised a bit I feel.

Things which I miss/could be better:

  • Ventilated seats - This for me was super-critical since my Elantra had it, but looking at the VFM, compromised here and ended up going for an after-market solution (the one I am using is only half effective though) - this is the biggest miss for me in an otherwise superb car
  • Audio Mute Button - Don't know if the option exists but I have not found any button to mute the infotainment, it is a chore moving the volume knob/button all the way up/down every time
  • Phone call controls - there is no dedicated button to accept/end calls - it is all controlled through either the ICE screen or the sub-menu within the instrument cluster - very tricky when you are driving and not at all user-friendly
  • In Auto AC mode the air recirculation mode is switched on/off automatically by the system leading to unpleasant smells entering the cabin at times. As a result, I am regularly running the AC on manual mode with air recirculation switched on. On the same note, the cooling efficiency also is lesser than my erstwhile Elantra, I would rate it a 7.5/10, it is not bad, it is just ok.


  • After Sales Service - Having read so much gloomy stuff about VW/Skoda after-sales, don’t know what to expect, only time will tell
  • Long-term Reliability - Have parked in my mind additional expected spends over the course of ownership - I truly hope those parked funds remain parked and do not get used!! I am very happy with the car so far and plan to keep this for at least 6-7 years if not more
  • Resale - My last car Elantra also did not have a very good resale value but I enjoyed it every bit for the duration I owned it. I believe that as your ownership crosses 7-8 years the percentage loss gap on resale also reduces a bit - I do understand for many it is quite important, but I am okay with that compromise as for me the ownership and drive experience over the time I own the car is more important than the resale value ~7-8 years down the line.

I hope my experience helps someone out there and adds value, thanks for reading!

Sharing a few images from the delivery day.

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