The crossover market is one of the most fiercely competitive. There is no dearth of choices in this segment, which is flooded with a raft of Japanese, Korean, American and European models. However, even in this crowded group, the Volkswagen Tiguan manages to stand out. It’s definitely not the best looking, but it distinguishes itself from the rest with its bullet-proof build quality.
This is a quality that’s apparent right from the moment you open the doors. They feel reassuringly heavy for a car in this price category shut tight with a satisfying clunk. The quality of construction and workmanship inside is also right up there with the best. There are indeed some hard plastics used in the cabin, but these are also not of the tacky, cheap variety. Any limited use of hard materials is off-set by the rest of the trim, including polished aluminium and premium leather. Unlike many other models in the category that feel compromised in one way or the other, everything about the Tiguan including the buttons and knobs on the dashboard feels like they have been built to last forever.
The superb construction also translates to the way the Tiguan handles on the road. It feels composed and firm, probably a bit too firm for the liking of some. In fact, it’s safe to say that the performance and dynamics come at the expense of ride comfort. It’s one of the best crossovers to drive, but not the most comfortable to ride in. Even the engine feels too high-strung for a car that is supposed to be more family-friendly than anything else.
One annoyance I had this week was the oversensitivity of the sensor that keeps a tab on the windscreen washer fluid level (yes, there is actually one for that too!). It’s a rather loud warning and irritatingly keeps popping up intermittently at an average rate of four to five times over a half an hour ride. And since it senses the water level in the tank, the warning comes up every time you accelerate or go ground a highway ramp. Apart from this mild irritant, I’m enjoying the Tiguan very much.