It would seem like crossovers are here to stay; in the past few months, I have already driven six different models, all from different manufacturers, each one of hoping to carve out a bigger piece of the lucrative pie. Of course there were exceptions to the formula that really stood out, like the gargantuan Infiniti QX80 or the convertible Range Rover Evoque.
Of course, the two I mentioned are dedicated to rather niche audiences, as the majority of crossovers are aimed squarely at the mass market, offering up oodles of practicality and a raised ride height for a commanding view. The numbers speak for themselves as thousands of households here in Singapore and dare I say South East Asia that were fed on a diet of sedans have made an exodus towards crossover ownership.
Now, owning one here in the tropics makes perfect sense especially with the high frequency of flash floods we have been experiencing all year round. Where sedans and hatchbacks instantly become submersibles, a raised platform, in the form of a crossover should not have any problems transversing knee-high flooded asphalt – a scenario I found myself in a couple of years ago back in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia, where on a driving holiday.
Back then, Volkswagen loaned me a first generation 2.0-litre Tiguan for the 500km road trip, and due to the monsoon season, KL’s roads became massive canals and river networks. Thankfully, the Tiguan with its raised ride had no problems at all getting us safely to our destination, which of course brings me to today’s test-drive – the second generation 2.0-litre Tiguan R-Line.
If you remember, it was only just last year where the crossover was unveiled to the world at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, however seeing it on Singapore soil is a vastly different story altogether. The first thing that would probably strike you is its size, the Tiguan has grown in all directions, nearly mirroring the dimensions of the previous Touareg actually.
The Tiguan also ushers in a new styling language for the brand’s crossover range, while the first generation still looked like a Golf on stilts, the new car is drastically boxier, more muscular and packs a tonne of presence. Together with its increased exterior size, the interior has also grown considerably.
Boot space has swelled to an overwhelming 520-litres, up from the previous 395-litre. The rear bench will even slide out to increase luggage space to 615-litres and if u flip the seats up, it expands to a staggering 1,655-litres. Speaking of the back seats, they are now even bigger than ever, seating three full-sized adults with ease. Mounted to the back of the front seats are flip-up tables similar to the ones you get in a plane. Rear passengers also get climate control as well.
Moving to the front, cockpit ambience has been bumped up several notches as well. First up, the huge digital instrument cluster that displays just about everything is vibrant and crisp and if that was not enough, there is an equally large touch-screen infotainment display featuring Apple/Android/Bluetooth connectivity that occupies the centre console.
For the 2.0-litre R-Line, you will get VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system as standard with a rotary selector located just aft of the gear lever, allowing the driver to setup the Tiguan to the owner’s preferences.