Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Volkswagen Tiguan compact diesel SUV
Meet the car that parks itself
September 2008

ALL of your instincts tell you not to do this.

All the paperwork says it will work out fine.

Others have tried it successfully during the vehicle’s launch so relax and have a go. What kind of man are you?

What I’m attempting is to do is allow the new Volkswagen Tiguan compact SUV to reverse park itself.

It comes with a nifty party trick that makes parallel parking a breeze _ if you hold your nerve.

The system is called “Park Assist’’ and is offered as a $1390 option.

It uses sensors to measure parking spots as the car travels past them and, if there’s enough room, the instrument panel informs the pilot it’s good to go.

You then put it in reverse and take your hands off the wheel and the VW guides itself in at up to 7km/h, a computer calculating every inch.

The Tiguan is 4.4m long and this gizmo can squeeze the SUV into a space with only 70cm to spare at either end.

Park Assist still requires the driver to put a foot on the brake when it is in position. At any time it can be overridden by grabbing the wheel.

The curious part about all this technology is that it is still much quicker, and far less harrowing, to do the job yourself.

Still it’s a neat addition that you would not expect to find on a relatively affordable imported car.

The Tiguan - VW’s first compact 4WD - is full of surprises.

Its name for a start. This is a very unusual combination of Tiger and Iguana that was the moniker chosen by more than 35,000 as the most popular of five names supplied to a German magazine.

The range starts off with an entry-level 125TSI (priced from $33,990) that comes with a 125 kW 2.0-litre petrol engine and climbs to a range-topping 147TSI ($42,990), with a more powerful 147 kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol heart.

Our test vehicle was the 103TDI 6-speed automatic that will set you back $38,290 ($35,990 for a six-speed manual) and is powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

There is strong mid-range pull thanks to the 320Nm of torque - which makes overtaking a breeze - and auto gearshifts are extremely smooth.

It is equally at home zipping around town or cruising on the open road where the diesel can perform at its economical best.

Fuel consumption figures average a shade under 8 litres for every 100km travelled.

The nimble Tiguan feels surefooted at all times courtesy of VW’s excellent 4Motion four-wheel-drive system.

Steering is accurate and the compact off-roader corners confidently for a high rider, with very little body roll.

One of the main benefits of the Tiguan, is its size and flexibility.

It is not too big and not too small and you can fold or tilt the rear seats to suit your lifestyle.

Safety is another plus, with recent awarding of the prized 5 star EuroNCAP safety rating highlighting its credentials.

Helping this was the inclusion of 6 airbags and Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) as standard.

There are plenty of convenience features, such as alloy wheels, roof rails, cruise control and a multi-function steering wheel. There’s also an 8-speaker sound system with MP3 compatibility and auxiliary input, electronic handbrake with hill-hold feature, air conditioning and heated mirrors.

One of the few grumbles is the Tiguan’s space-saver spare wheel, which is hardly suitable for such an adventurous vehicle.

But there are many benefits to this clever, stylish and beautifully balanced SUV.

Refined, safe and versatile, the all-rounder is going to be a big hit Down Under.

And don’t forget, it can park itself.



Tiguan 125TSI 6 Speed Manual


Tiguan 125TSI 6 Speed Automatic


Tiguan 103TDI 6 Speed Manual


Tiguan 103TDI 6 Speed Automatic


Tiguan 147TSI 6 Speed Automatic



Metallic / Pearl Effect Paint


Panoramic Electric Glass Sunroof


Satellite Navigation RNS510 with RVC Plus - 103TDI & 125TSI


Satellite Navigation RNS510 with RVC Plus - 147TSI


Satellite Navigation RNS510 with RVC Plus & Dynaudio - 103TDI & 125TSI


Satellite Navigation RNS510 with RVC Plus & Dynaudio - 147TSI


CD Changer (with RNS510)


Dynaudio 300W Premium Audio System - 103TDI & 125TSI


Dynaudio 300W Premium Audio System - 147TSI


Park Assist - 103TDI & 125TSI


Park Assist - 147TSI


Bi-Xenon Headlights with Cornering Lights


Leather Upholstery with Electric Driver's Seat - 103TDI & 125TSI


Leather Upholstery with Electric Driver's Seat - 147TSI


New York 18" Alloy Wheels - 103TDI & 125TSI


New York 18" Alloy Wheels - 147TSI


Comfort Package - 103TDI & 147TSI


Off-Road Technology


Anti-theft Alarm System


Front Fog Lights - 103TDI & 125TSI $390



LAUNCHED: May, 2008

ENGINE: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo-diesel

POWER: 103 kW at 4200 rpm

TORQUE: 320 Nm at between 1750-2500 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

ECONOMY: 7.9 L/100 km

PROS: Refined, user-friendly, safe

CONS: Spacesaver spare tyre

WEIGHT: 1630 kg

BOTTOM LINE: $38,290 (full list and options at bottom of article)