The Tiguan is built on the notorious PQ46 platform – the same one on which the Passat B6 was made two years earlier. The bogie, by the way, is still in business as of late 2020 – the Sharan and American Passat are assembled on it.
The body is all-steel, the engines are only turbocharged in-line four – front-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, optional four-wheel drive via Haldex clutch. The front suspension is McPherson, the rear is multilever.
Interestingly, the Tiguan shares quite a few details, both in the body and the interior, with the Golf Plus, built on the more compact PQ35 platform. Because of these similarities, many mistakenly relegate the Tiguan to the Golf family, but that’s still not entirely correct.
December 2006. Design concept by Murat Gunak unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show.
September 2007. The production version is unveiled at the IAA in Frankfurt. Engines 1.4 TSI 150 hp or 2.0 TDI 140 hp and all-wheel drive. Transmission is either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed DSG DQ250.
February 2008. Powerful versions with 2.0 TSI 170 and 200 hp and diesel 2.0 TDi 170 hp in combination with Aisin 6-speed hydromechanical transmission or MCG will be available. Deliveries to Russia with the 1.4 TSI and the aforementioned Aisin transmission are now underway.
June 2010. Appearance of low power engines. Diesel 2.0 version with 110 hp and petrol 1.4 TSI with 122 hp. Both versions only with manual transmission and front-wheel drive.
February-July 2011. Changes to the powertrain range ahead of the forthcoming restyling. Cars from this period in the old bodywork could have new electronics and engines.
July 2011 model restyling. The 1.4 TSI petrol engines have been updated, the new version has 160 bhp and is paired with the 7-speed DSG DQ500. For Russia, the variant with the 6-speed Aisin remains. The 2.0 TSI engines have changed generation, the new variants have 180 and 211 bhp and the automatic transmission for them has been changed from DQ250 to DQ500.
October 2012. Latest update to the EA189 family of diesel engines, 177bhp version.
May 2015. Appearance of the EA288 family of diesel engines, replacing the EA189: the 150 hp version replaces the 140 hp version and the 184 hp version. – 177bhp version. But the junior 110hp diesel engine. – is still from the EA189 family. The arrival of the anniversary version with the 2.0 TSI engine output. 220bhp.
The bulk of the cars are in good exterior condition. This is not surprising, given the average cost above half a million rubles. A car is repainted at least, and even repainted entirely with noticeable chips and corrosion – it is still profitable. However, minor damage and not very visible problems are often not repainted for fear of buyers with thickness gauges.
Typical damage points are quite numerous. Bonnet edge and front edge of the roof are showing up on cars with highway use even at low mileage (in case of Moscow and St. Petersburg, the owner doesn’t have to live in the countryside, it’s enough to use ring road regularly), while in city cars the problem occurs at mileage over 150-200 thousand kilometres.
The windscreen moulding rubs the paintwork at the bottom of the pillar in all cars, there will be a 100% blistering paint job, or the area will be repainted, a problem that has often been treated under warranty. A vinyl film in this area would be a good idea.
The junctions between the front and rear wing and bumpers are also a typical problem spot, and a small pothole can in practice mean stripping and painting a very large hidden area under the plastic of the arch liner and bumper. The plastic bumper rail presses against the fender lip at the bottom and the corrosion spot extends outwards and inwards, up to the attachment point and into the area of contact with the side member. Complicating matters is the constant presence of dirt and moisture in the narrow junction.
Small swellings and chips at the rear edge of the door handles inside the door look like serious corrosion – the paint layer on the inside is twice as thin, and an almost imperceptible problem on the outside looks different on the inside. Barely visible chips and swellings under the door seals on the rear arches could also be just the tip of the iceberg.
On the rear door, corrosion from under the glass seal and around the number plate hood is common, mainly affecting the seams and linings. The lower door linings rub on the paintwork when the car is rarely washed, and sometimes corrosion from the fixing holes comes out.
Take a look at the roof – corrosion is also common at the attachment points of the roof rails. Sometimes the damage spot extends beyond the rail post and becomes visible.
The door openings are also worth paying attention to. Small pockets of corrosion on the body pillars near the hinges and on the internal vertical seams of the doors are not uncommon. It is desirable to repaint, but the notorious thickness gauges may scare away a potential buyer at resale – take it into consideration.
In general, paint quality is not that good, paintwork flecks and chips bloom, but as long as the market value holds, they keep an eye on exterior panels. As for the hidden ones…
Certainly, Tiguan even of the first releases does not remind ten-year-old classic Zhiguli. Sills are almost certainly here, if there was no large scale bodywork with the use of Chinese spare parts. But the numerous pockets of rust are not hidden. One should take off the lockers, and it becomes obvious, that the car needed an anticorner from the very beginning.
Damaged seams and wide spots of peeling paint in wheel arches are at least unpleasant. And the majority of cars from Moscow or Petersburg will have this kind of damage. In addition, behind the front lockers there is a small dirt pocket, and in the rear arches there are enough dirt collectors. Very few owners bother to flush, which makes the situation worse.
The underbody itself is largely intact, only the sill edge suffers – it’s weak and the zinc is easily peeled off there. And around the petrol tank the area with the thin paint is poorly ventilated, there is a lot of damage to the seams and surface corrosion.
It is unlikely to be possible to remove the wheel arch arches, but it is possible to partially pull them off if there is any doubt about the safety of the fender underneath. Mostly the fender edge and the area around the mounting holes is affected. Often the damage cannot be seen from the outside and will not be for many years. However, the process has already started and can only be stopped by thoroughly cleaning and painting the part.
In addition to the arches, it is also worth looking at other concealed areas. First of all, try to talk your salesperson to remove inner sill plates – there are very often damages of paintwork due to floor mat fasteners and small pockets of corrosion at the joint with plastic.
The car is not yet too old to break down en masse, so there won’t be much of a problem. Lost parts are not uncommon – such problems are solved, although the price of some original parts bite, and among non-original parts you won’t find with good quality. This applies to dust covers and linings as well as headlamp handles.
The optics are expensive, especially the LED taillights of post-restyled versions and adaptive front lights, where besides mechanical damage and burnout it is possible to cause drivetrain failure. Adaptive also has many variants, it is not always possible to find a suitable option quickly.
The relatively soft windscreen rubs off badly and doesn’t take well to attempts to remove it when the frame is repaired. Fortunately, there is a wide range of inexpensive and quality Chinese glass.
There are surprisingly many problems for such a fresh car with the windows and locks. Malfunctions of locks, mirror actuators and power windows are not just due to wiring failures – the actuators themselves have not very long life and safety margin here.
In mirrors, in addition, aluminium bracket corrodes, that in conjunction with activated auto-folding leads to breakage of actuator. Failures of the fuel filler flap locking device and tailgate button are also frequent. All these items are relatively simple and inexpensive to repair, but when the car is severely neglected, too many things will have to be replaced.
Interior of Tiguan is strong, and quality of execution allows hoping for its long and happy life. But much, as usual, depends on the configuration and chosen trim materials. On the average, the visible wear is typical for run over 200, but the steering wheel loses a part of texture already for 100+ run and carelessness if it is leather. Plastic one loses original luster already by 50 thousand, but it’s not so evident. Further many tens of thousands it looks approximately identical if it isn’t scratched and scratched with nails. If there are no buttons on a steering wheel, there is nothing to scratch there, and if there are, their texture changes considerably and the cover gets wiped off.
Leather seats, if the driver was not very heavy, after a hundred thousand need only to be cleaned and steamed to restore the texture. Visible and irreversible wear and tear of leather is appreciable either at runtimes closer to 200, or if the driver weighed under 100 kgs and/or the interior was not maintained at all.
The sides of seats with combined upholstery quickly, cracks from leatherette, but the fabric usually endures 2 or 3 hundred thousand mileage. Solid fabric seats are rare, and their shape is not very good, but they are very strong and wear-resistant.
The wear and tear on the controls – climate knobs, steering wheels, gearbox selector – is usually minimal, even on cars with 200+ miles they look good after cleaning. Noticeable wear and tear at low claimed mileage is a definite reason to be more careful in detecting real mileage.
On the other hand, such elements as centre console glove compartment rods, door handles and start-stop button can be worn even with very low mileage – the materials are just not very good here.
Small mechanization of interior of Tiguan is strong: tables in backs of seats, seat adjustments, hatches and other things usually work reliably. Only it is not recommended to stand on seats with knees: heating here is gentle, and mats tear at once.
The climate system is complex but usually works well. The gearmotors rarely fail, the system fan is resourceful. The system made by Denso is slightly worse than Valeo, but there’s not much difference. Malfunctions do occur, but are usually resolved by restarting or calibrating the system. Control unit fails occasionally, this has happened on pre-restyling with Denso unit. Noises in air ducts of a climate system are usual consequence of low-quality repair or breakage of deflectors.
The air conditioner is modern here, in all versions it is with variable volumetric capacity, without a clutch. Sanden compressors have runtimes around 150-200k, Denso can be over 300k, but more often they are run longer than 150k because of lost oil and coolant. When replacing an expensive original, you don’t need to buy it – there is a Mahle or Luzar analogue that will cost you around 200 euros and will be good enough. And keep in mind that a dead compressor before it dies will abundantly clog system tubes with its aluminium remains, so in neglected cases you can’t do without replacement – you’ll need cleaning.
The last thing about the climate control is that the condensate drain from the heater housing is not well designed. Clogged check valves often lead to flooding in the cabin.
The main problem here, as well as in other PQ35/46s, is kolhozing and irrepressible aspiration of owners to perfection. Often, it is combined with complete ignorance of how to conduct armature works. As a result, behind a line “additional noise isolation” may hide damaged fasteners of almost all elements, where it is possible to damage them, new and well audible in silence “crickets” of poorly assembled interior.
Installation of a new multimedia system is accompanied by fast battery drainage, scratches on all adjoining panels, inoperative buttons on the steering wheel and again “crickets”. Volkswagen is really a construction set for adults, especially as regards equipping of interior, but not everyone can assemble the construction set correctly. Even with huge quantity of offers on one Chinese website for bolt-on components of multimedia systems, navigation systems, cameras, tables, consoles, covers, seats, covers, curtains, etc. one should know how to put it all.
The on-board electronics of the PQ46 platform cars are quite complex – the Passat B6 and B7 reviews have written about this in detail. At the same time, internal compatibility of simple versions with more “smart” ones causes an understandable desire to buy something new. And here we again come to a question of low quality of works. If you want guaranteed absence of problems, it is better to take a car with completely factory equipment, without kolhoz.
However, even provided that the car is completely stock, it is necessary to keep in mind some peculiarities. The wiring in door chases is tender, and it becomes brittle with mileage “over 100”. Combined with data buses in the door, there can be some interesting issues.
Complex block powering algorithms and Slovakian wiring from the underhood engine ECU to the cabin fuse box and the whole cabin harness can also “please”. I should say at once that such cases are very rare, but demonstratively difficult to repair. Wires are sometimes broken right inside the insulation, without any visible damage – finding a fault is very difficult in this case.
If the wiring is wet, or if an ingenious electrician poked through the insulation with a feeler gauge, these places are guaranteed to have problems in the future. And you’ll have to look for them by hand – a scanner is not always able to detect them. Although, presence of a diagnostic device is desirable – you will need it more than once.
By and large, there is nothing wrong so far. Paintwork is not of very high quality, in hidden cavities, rust has already begun to appear, but it is possible to put it all in order rather inexpensively. If a cabin and electrics are shocked, it can become much more essential and expensive problem, but luckily not all cars were subjected to barbarous revamping, so it is quite possible to find a reasonable option. In the next part we shall deal with modifications of power units. There are no simple engines here, but what is worse – petrol or diesel? Is it necessary to be afraid of DSG and certainly to search variant with “hydro-mechanics”? The answers will be very ambiguous.