Better than the Golf R? The new Tiguan R
Roadtrips are always really fun. Whether you're using public transport, a bus or a car, you're bound to find some adventure. Of course, our most preferred option is the car. But what car is most viable for a long road trip? We've already done a huge road trip of over 2000km in a sleek and fast wagon but now we tried something every family has used to traverse longer distances, the family SUV. It's the most popular on the market at the moment, whether sub-compact, mid-size, or flagship, the SUV is crushing it in the car industry. Our choice was the all-new 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan R. A lot of planning and talking had to be done to get this vehicle for the planned dates and to get it approved for international travel, but we all got it done, thank's to VW Switzerland for that! Our route would take us through five countries, 2700 kilometers, and through all kinds of terrain. But you might ask, is an SUV the right option for longer distances? They weigh a lot, aren't aerodynamic, and are they fun? Absolutely. Our main destination was the beautiful Netherlands, where we spent most of our time. The main reason to visit was to visit family but we made a huge road trip out of it. But you know what's between Switzerland and the Netherlands? The beautiful german Autobahn. But first, let me tell you a little bit more about the Tiguan R itself. It's VW's mid-size SUV and it's pretty popular right now, but it isn't a crossover! Powertrain-wise, it's the same 2.0-liter TSI that can be found in the new Golf R which is accompanied by a glorious titanium Akrapovič exhaust and a 7 speed DSG with VW's 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system. Overall, it has 320 horsepower and 420 NM of Torque, that's enough for 4.7 seconds to 100 km/h. Our car was finished with 21" wheels and stunning lapiz-blue metallic paint.
So the first test was the german Autobahn, which meant; high speeds, cruising but also the occasional traffic jam. The Tiguan R sits happily at 200km/h and makes it feel like 130km/h. Everything over that gets a little bit scary but it still took it like a champ, but in Switzerland, we're not used to those speeds. The weight was noticeable though, but luckily the Tiguan R has enormous brakes and a stiff chassis. One issue was fuel consumption, but even at those high speeds, accelerations, and the high weight, it averaged 10.4 l/100km, not too bad. More than average but that's what you get when you're on the german autobahn. But we're delighted to say that it averaged around 8l/100km when driving "normally". When we entered the Netherlands, we were stuck at 100km/h but that was good for our fuel consumption! The Netherlands is as flat as a pancake. A country with beautiful beaches, cute towns, and eery flatlands. Since there weren't any mountains, the roads aren't particularly exciting but the flat land made for excellent launch controls, which the Tiguan R of course has. A huge advantage of an SUV is its enormous luggage capacity and you can carry five people with ease. When we picked it up, we expected the Tiguan R to be a higher and heavier version of the new Golf R, but luckily it wasn't. The Tiguan R has real off-road capabilities and driving modes, a clever torque vectoring system and it also sounds different. You still get those insane cracks and pops from the exhaust, but we noticed the turbo-spool much more. It also drove entirely differently and the suspension was designed to handle more weight and it just fit the characteristic of the car. The good thing was, the Tiguan R could be the car you wanted it to be. In comfort mode it drove like a normal SUV, the throttle response was toned down, the exhaust closed and the suspension was chill. When you switch to the R-mode (through a button on the steering wheel) the exhaust opened up, the gearbox was more responsive and you got yourself a rocket. Most of our time was spent in comfort because it was just a joy. Relaxed and unobtrusive. R-mode was reserved for highway accelerations, the occasional twisty road, and of course the german Autobahn, where we reached a top speed of 252km/h. On our way back we took a detour through the beautiful Ardennes in Belgium and the impressive wine country of Luxembourg. We drove past Spa-Francorchamps, which would've been a blast, but the surrounding area offered some of the best twisty roads. While 24h GT-cars were blasting on the track, we were enjoying the sound of the Akrapovič exhaust on the Tiguan R.
We spent a total of 10 days with the Tiguan R and I have to say that it would be my preferred family SUV, because it is so versatile, not only in a practical sense. It has many personalities that we could enjoy. I even had to transport my granny in it and she would've never guessed that this car could rip your face off in launch control, thank's to comfort mode... Thank's again to the VW Switzerland PR-team for making this journey possible, a time I'll never forget! Things like these influence future decisions of what car to buy, and maybe you'll see me driving a VW in 20 years.