Text and photos by Aries B. Espinosa
NASTY NUMBERS are registering in our heat indexes this summer of 2019: 41 degrees C, 51 degrees, and these temperatures are exacerbated by the “urban heat island” effect, wherein a metropolitan area is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities or from the man-made modification of land surfaces.
Which is why it was quite literally refreshing to enter the Pearl White, no-frills-designed, compact yet ultra-spacious 5-seater Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline DSG SUV, and soak in its premium amenities and creature comforts. These things also motivated me to gather four of my friends for a cool joyride up in the mountains at the peak of summer.
And yes, we found the cabin and rear luggage space ultra-spacious. The seats very comfortable, the air-conditioning truly heaven-sent, and most of all, the deceptively small 1.4-liter 4-cylinder turbo gasoline engine with BlueMotion Technology mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission exhilaratingly torquey at 250Nm at 1,750 to 3,000 rpm, even with the SUV filled to capacity.
And there are, indeed, signs that the Tiguan wants its owner or driver to do more than just do the rounds of the city this summer. These are:
That panoramic sunroof. Measuring 12.7 square feet, it’s the largest one I’ve seen yet, and extends from the front passenger to well beyond the rear passenger row. The semi-opaque fabric cover also lets in enough light to tempt the occupants to go for the knobs to let the outside world in. We certainly had a blast (of fresh cool air) when we opened the sunroof (or moonroof) up on mountain roads.
That stubborn fuel mileage readout. Yup, in city driving with moderate to heavy traffic the Tiguan can’t seem to break through that 7- or 8-km/liter barrier. But once we hit the highway and got cruising speeds upwards of 60 kph, those readouts jumped up to over 15 km/liter.
Those rear air-con vents. This may seem like an unnecessary feature in a compact SUV, but owing to the massive luggage space, the Tiguan’s 2-zone Climatronic air-conditioning needs a double boost to the rear. So, yes, our rear passengers never did feel like second-class climate citizens.
That 220V socket. Power is everything, and we truly appreciate what Volkswagen did here, providing a 220V socket that can actually power any household appliance (not just laptops) that could fit inside the Tiguan. And in case you need to ask, there are separate USB slots for cellphone charging.