Tiguan 1.4 Twin-charged advantage

By LEE PANG SENG | 17 July 2014

Volkswagen’s Tiguan 1.4 combines excellent fuel efficiency with performance thanks to its high-tech powertrain.

The trend of going smaller in engine displacement to gain on fuel economy and cleaner emissions is clearly reflected in the latest Volkswagen Tiguan, the mid-size sports utility vehicle that was introduced here recently.

It now comes as a 1.4-litre model, and before you pooh-pooh this new Tiguan as a gutless especially  considering its fairly big dimensions and styling direction, let us just say the 1.4-litre engine powering the SUV is no normally aspirated unit.


That’s right, the engine enjoys assisted fuel feed and this comes not only in one form but two: the blow-through turbocharging system and the suck-through supercharging fuel feed.

Modern engineering has led to compact air-fuel charging systems that can be applied to the engine without taking a lot of space nor add to its weight and affect performance adversely in acceleration and fuel economy.

As to the choice of a Tiguan 1.4, Volkswagen Germany believes that the latest model with its twin-charger engine would be perfect in meeting the performance and fuel consumption needs of those who prefer smaller displacement power units.


The other option is the 2.0-litre variant, which will be brought in on demand.

With 160PS at 5,800rpm and lots of torque at 240Nm developing early at 1,500rpm and holding till 4,500rpm, there should be enough horses to haul slightly more than 1,550kg of vehicle weight, plus 200kg or more when you factor in passengers, at a good pace.

The idea of having a twin-charger engine is to counter the initial engine lag that is often encountered with turbocharging, although developments have reduced that very significantly.

A suck-through supercharger system delivers the air-fuel mixture quickly for the engine to develop plenty of torque early till about 2,500rpm, after which the turbo system takes over to build up horsepower, and it is all electronically controlled.


Volkswagen has the previous single charge 1.4-litre engine (with turbocharger only) models that we had motoring experiences with such as the Golf, Polo and Scirocco.

As these are lighter cars, the single charge engine develops adequate torque early enough to give them good initial acceleration.

For the heavier Tiguan, we found the twin-charger 1.4-litre engine complementary in performance: there was no pause when we stepped on the accelerator to pass other vehicles and we could easily get up to high speeds on the highway and on open stretches.


Having driven a big engine displacement vehicle just a few days earlier, we noted the slightly slower build-up in road speed but make no mistake, the Tiguan would get you going fast soon enough.

Its name is a combination of ‘tigua’ and ‘leguan’, the former is a German word for tiger to denote aggression while the latter means iguana to represent good traction.

The traction part came during the winding road drive to and from Fraser’s Hill: the Tiguan 1.4 is a front-wheel drive SUV with a six-speed wet DSG (direct shift gearbox), complete with sequential Sport shift option.


The steering is an electromechanical system that is speed sensitive; the tyres are Dunlop SP Sport 01 235/55 R17 on ‘Boston’ alloy wheels; and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is standard.

For a fairly tall vehicle (above 1,700mm in height), the Tiguan 1.4 took to the winding section well: we hardly felt the roll of the body and we liked the directional feel of the steering as we know where the tyres were pointing when we ‘attacked’ the corners.

In one of our more exuberant moments, we experienced quick progression of understeer by going too fast into a righthander.

One of the rear wheels hit the loose earth and the rear end stepped out for a short while as we tried to maintain vehicle control with the accelerator and steering input: the ESC probably did its part as well. It was a close call!


By keeping our adrenaline in check, we mostly enjoyed the winding drive as the Tiguan was about as dynamically nimble as its smaller size brethren.

We were rear passengers during one of the legs and found the dynamic moments through the winding stretches easily tolerable.

The seats gripped the body well and the foldable centre armrest with cupholders served as an adequate brace: by the way, the centre armrest is part of the folding rear seatrest as we could access the luggage area with it folded down.

There is also a folding tray behind each of the front seat and the centre console has two round vents to channel cool air to the rear, a charge point and a small folding cubicle for storing small items.

Apart from the flat tyre indicator, another interesting item is the ‘Rest Assist’ drowsiness detection system: the driver is being monitored electronically and if the system detects the driver being drowsy during long distance drives, a warning light will come on in the instrument panel as an indicator to break journey.


We were not on the highway long enough to see if we could be drowsy enough for the ‘Rest Assist’ function to be activated.

A comfortable ride was also enjoyed as the suspension system was well tuned to handle the impacts over bumpy roads, with the harshness ironed out nicely.

Road roar was also largely subdued and on the highway, the discernible rustle along the roof area on the side (noticeable more at the rear) was mild and a normal conversation could be held with the relatively quiet ambience.

A Stop/Start system is standard but unlike other similarly featured cars and vehicles, we could not find a way to turn it off (when the engine is off, so is the air-conditioning system and it may not be practical with El Nino currently in roasting mode).


Regenerative braking is also part and parcel, and that takes some load off the engine in charging the battery.

The thing is having a smaller displacement engine has not taken the fun or practicality out of driving the Tiguan: on the contrary, the better fuel consumption should be the bonus to the twin-charger power performance.

As an import model, the Tiguan 1.4 holds a fairly premium price of RM178,888 and the optional Tech Pack model comes at an additional RM10,000.


Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI

Engine: 1,390cc, twin charger, four-cylinder with direct injection.

Maximum power: 158bhp at 5,800rpm

Maximum torque: 240Nm from 1,500 to 4,500rpm

Transmission: Six-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox)


Front Suspension: MacPherson struts independent with coil springs and stabiliser bar

Rear Suspension: Multi-link independent with coil springs and stabiliser bar

Acceleration (0-100kph): 8.9 seconds

Top Speed: 198kph

Features: Six airbags, roll-over sensor, anti-lock braking system (ABS), braking assist (BA), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control, flat tyre indicator, rain sensor, Rest Assist drowsiness detection system, start-stop system with regenerative braking, speed-sensitive electromechanical power steering, bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights, dual-zone temperature control, cruise control, dynamic headlight range adjustment and bending lights, rear view camera, eight-speaker RCD 310 with radio/CD/MP3 playback, USB/AUX ports and Bluetooth connectivity, 17-inch wheels with 235/55 tyres.

Price: RM178,888 (On-the-road without insurance).