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My Volkswagen Tiguan AllSpace: Ownership experience

Also, the dealer was quite keen to close the deal, almost surprised even to see someone buying this car.

BHPian narayanbabu recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

This is my first Team-BHP post, though have been using this as a guide for years. So going to pour in my writing and automobile knowledge into this virgin post.

Introduction

So, my car ownership journey has two phases, pre VAG and post VAG.

Palio (2014)-> Beat Diesel -> Optra -> Rapid DSG -> Polo SRT edition -> Polo DSG -> Tiguan AllSpace (2020 Dec).

I am a DSG fan and will drive nothing other than that. Octavia RS as next in line after my Rapid, but some life events forced me to alter plans. Read on to know more.

Prelogue

Since, I got my first DSG (VAG) car, I fell in love with the experience, from someone who always considered AT are for wussies, I realized that I enjoy this drive much more. I used to do long overnight drives (BLR -> TVM, 800+km) very frequently and Rapid made these drive much more relaxing and fatigue free. So, I got a second (used) Polo GT TSI, and ended up with a chance buy of a MT Polo SRT. Few years down the lane, after a lot of mods on my Rapid (improvements like Auto head lights, R340G, TPMS to Level 1 ECU tuning), I realized it was time for a new car. While my wife always wanted SUVs, I was always for Sedans, and still eyes on Octavia RS. On her insistence, tried Kodiaq as well (didn't like the drive experience, roll etc.), so dead lock went on for years.

On the other side, when my first kid was a year or so, we went on a Euro trip by road. And the regulations needed him to be on a kids' seat. This was a revelation. Since then, we have never let him sit on anything but kids' seat. It also became a good habit for him, that he would only sit on child seat. Now we had a second kid, and 2 kid seats on Rapid meant the car literally became a 2-seater. So, we didn't have an option but to go for a 7-seater SUV (while I read random rumors about Octavia Wagon releasing in India, I knew it was wishful thinking). So, set out to find out the safest, most driver friendly 7-seater.

Selection

Though the SUV scene was heating up in India since Kia's entry, there were no "driver focussed" SUVs (+ 7-seater). The Innovas of the world were meant to be enjoyed sitting behind, not behind the wheels. Kodiaq was the only option, it was not selling (anymore) in 2019. We decided to test drive a few cars, once in a while. For some reason, we never considered Endeavour or Fortuner (reason = DSG).

Requirements

  • 7-seater
  • DCT (hence Automatic)
  • ~30L price point
  • Safety and kids' friendly (Isofix etc.)
  • Sun-roof and other such vanity needs.

There wasn't much choice left. Tried Harrier; was a quick "no" as soon as I drove it. Then tried Kia Carnival, it was like a ship (huge!), but also felt like a van. Driving experience was not bad, not great either. So, it made the consideration list, as it had all bells and whistles, plus somewhat met the needs.

AllSpace it is

We had decided to wait for Gloster to test drive, but then I came to know there is this new VW Tiguan variant called AllSpace, which is a 7-seater. In my mind (OG) Tiguan was always a no, pricier than Octavia, worser than Kodiaq, also last updated 2017. But was intrigued by this new variant. From there, it was a blitzkrieg.

  • Test drove on Monday.
  • Made full payment on Tuesday
  • Took home the car on Friday
  • Finished first 1000km by Monday. (This was Dec 2020, peak lockdown time)

I also realized this was the priciest VW car sold in India (woah!) and that it was a CBU and hence "no variants to choose from". Also, the dealer was quite keen to close the deal, almost surprised even to see someone buying this car. The on-road price was coming to ~42L (), but he brought it down to 39L. (Later on, seeing Team-BHP posts, I realized it would have gone even further down), was overall happy with the purchase.

Had no buyers' remorse (despite the hefty cheque), enjoyed every moment of sitting in the car. I was so excited that I left rear door open and drove out of the basement, the door slamming shut by a pillar. Door tip got a dent, luckily since the pillar had rubber padding, no paint scratches.

First week

I could still not believe the overall smoothness and tight control of the car. Since, it was CBU and not yet properly ready for India, Voice control, Maps etc were not functional and the car had this weird "Unable to active emergency call system, please contact the dealer" voice over and red light popping up frequently.

Lane Assist: Something I thought would be a vanity in India, became my most used feature (still is), it is very sensitive, and works even with faded markings. Forces a habit to use indicators to switch lanes.

Auto Hold: Life saver in cities. Since the handbrake is electronic, it supports auto hold, which means, if the car comes to a halt, it will not move forward, even if on Drive unless I accelerate.

Brake Assist: The level of confidence and sense of safety this car provides can't be explained in words. Brake Assist more than anything reminds you occasionally that "I will take care of you".

Boot space: If I fold up the 3rd row (which is our standard config) the boot is HUGE! And it is flat, and well designed, with side pockets, underfloor storage etc.

Memory Setting: Me being 5'10" and my wife being 5'0", memory setting linked to keys, partially helps adjust seats, temperature etc. Still must adjust rear view and steering.

Few other things like the virtual cockpit, nice Head Unit etc.

Must say, the car was getting better with each drive, discovering something new and feeling "wow!" about it.

Fringes

The car comes with the European manual. I have the habit to reading the manual end to end before using any product. And as I read the Tiguan manual, I was in for a heart break. Traffic jam assist, Adaptive Cruise control, 360 view, blind spot assist. Few things I saw in the manual were not to be found in the car. Dealer had no clue either. After a bunch of research, realized the radar unit is active in the car, but the features are not enabled in India. I even got some leads on how I can just replace the Steering buttons and activate the features from software. I want to go ahead and get these done. But not finding a reliable partner in crime, and fear of losing 4+ years of warranty has kept me away. (Still game if someone wants to help me out)

Misses

Air conditioning: It sucks, I was driving a friend's s-presso, and it has 10 times better A/C than tiguan. 2nd row situation is bad, 3rd row is like a furnace (even if your A/C is in full mode). And 3rd row doesn't even have any ventilation options. The dealer said A/C would be weak if I am on economy mode, but I can attest that it is useless in all modes.

3rd Row: To be honest, as soon as I drove the car for the first time, I knew I am buying it. 3rd row was no more a factor. But practically, 3rd row is tight. Can "adjust", if 2nd row is pushed ahead, otherwise just good for kids. Also, it is terribly hot there.

Software updates: Dealer has limited clue on how this vehicle works (at least at the time I bought). So he didn't know when he will get the software for India, so maps didn't work. Voice control didn't. I managed to download and apply maps myself. Had to wait for 4 months to get Voice control working. The infotainment system runs EU ROM, with some interesting VW apps which don't work in India. Also, the annoying "emergency call system" error.

Boot opener: The "Wag your leg to open boot" never worked when I genuinely had my hands full, or whenever I tried to show off (basically never worked). No way to close the boot remotely, I read here somewhere, pressing and holding boot opener switch will close the boot, It does not

Mileage: This is expected, but still hurts, I get 9-10 kmpl, whether I am in city or the highway. Whether I am in economy or normal. Haven't got 600km range in a full tank till date.

Bells and whistles: Whatever is there is "classy", but it is not loaded like a Kia or a Hyundai. For example, it has limited WLAN support, but not in any way "a connected car", the infotainment system is average, the maps/navigation is okay. No wireless charging, 230V port, USB C port, no electronic seat adjustment for passenger seat, ambient lighting customization etc. TPMS is primitive, informs if there is "pressure loss". If this is supposed to be most expensive VW car, expected it to have everything that a T-Roq or Taigun would have (it is not the case).

The drive experience

The car is a bliss to drive. After getting this car, it was a pain to drive the Rapid, the steering felt hard, the suspension felt hard, the seat felt hard. I feel guilty of my stepson like treatment to it, but Tiguan has just spoiled us. Easily end up climbing high speeds in BLR-CHE highway, without even realizing, (early morning trips, dead straight strips). But these aside, the car just feels safe and in control all the times. Never have I tried to push the car to a point where it started struggling or rattling. At times, I forget it is a 7-seater family car! In the last 7 months and 12k kilometers, there has not been any deterioration of performance or pickup. It has been as it was on Day 0.

Have off roaded quite a bit. Though car suspension evens out most of what comes its way, the car has a low spot near its nose, so if you're not careful, you end up dinging it against the floor. I have a regular countryside route which I drive over weekends, when once I drove through that in my Rapid I actually realized how bad the roads were. It's not an apples-apples comparison, but Tiguan just absorbs all of it.

This is the most expensive car I have ever driven so can't compare with the name brands (BMW, Audi etc.), but the steering has the right amount of weight, being electronically powered it has very high fidelity and you can move it precisely (I had the same feeling when I moved from Beat to Rapid, but now Rapid steering feels extremely hard to maneuver relatively). In terms of power and response, I have never had a situation where I had to wait for the gush, whether for a quick overtaking maneuver or for speeding up in general. The 180+ BHP and 320NM seems to be more than what I can explore as a driver maybe. Also, the engine is extremely silent, that with auto-stop feature, you at times don't know if you're car ignition is on or off.

Ownership

I haven't taken the car for its "official" first service. There is a 1000 km and 5000 km checkup which honestly involved just toggling the software flag saying checkup done I guess, and then cleanup. I took it mostly with the expectation of software update. I am close to the first proper service (15k km), will update on how it goes. When I bought the car from showroom, there was a 2mm dia, white spot (paint gone) on the body, which I mentioned to the dealer, he apologized, but don't know what my expectation was, so beyond an awkward conversation didn't get any resolution for it. Overall VW dealer folks have been cordial, especially the RM who closed the deal is prompt to help with any queries. (Compared to Skoda, VW seems to be a few notches better at least in the way they interact with customer, can't comment of service quality yet).

There are a bunch of accessories like mats, bumper protection stickers, VW child seats etc. which quite honestly were way too expensive for it's value (compared to similar aftermarket counterparts). So, I spent ahead and 30k or so getting a ceramic coating done (aftermarket), which has helped a lot. Car boot, doors at times have opened to the wall, and even occasional front/rear ending to walls and minor accidents have left no marks on the car. Though on high traffic corners, the coating seems to just start wearing down.

My verdict?

Two kids' seats, 1 mini fridge, vaccuum cleaner, rolled up mats, icebox and diaper bags. This is like home to us. As Saturday morning comes, we pack food, and leave to some uninhabited place around Krishnagiri or Thalli. During the lockdown, this was our only way to get out of 4 walls to somewhere exciting. Our 2-year-old and 4-year-old have spent more time in this car than anywhere else. In the 8 months, the only remorse (envy) is when looking at the 2021 version which has a tiny bit more features than ours. Only if we could exchange this for the new one (even if for a little premium).

Also, in the 7-8 months, I have not encountered another Tiguan AllSpace on road. This kind of exclusivity is something even a Jaguar owner may not have.

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