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The Wheel Deal: Rodney Hinds' new motoring section

CAR OF THE WEEK: The VW Tiguan R-Line

Car of the week :Tiguan can rule the SUV jungle

HERE HAVE been some 2.8 million Tiguan buyers since its original market launch in 2007,
with more than 100,000 examples finding homes in the UK since it went on sale in the
United Kingdom in 2008.

The latest reincarnation should ensure that those stats are increased over the coming years.

Trim levels start with S and a fairly long list of equipment, while SE and SEL get progressively more luxurious.

For drivers who want their Tiguan to look and feel a bit sportier, the R-Line gets a more aggressive bodykit, unique alloy wheels and a sports steering wheel. There are plenty of optional extras, too, so it’s possible to adjust the Tiguan to suit your needs.

Support

Among the options is Vienna leather upholstery which includes heated front seats. Driver’s seat with 12-way adjustment and adjustable lumbar support including heated windscreen washer jets comes in at £1,750.

Keyless entry and electric tailgate – remote keyless entry and start with electrically-operated tailgate opening and closing function, operated from driver’s door (£655) will add to your bill.

The new Tiguan kicks off a comprehensive global SUV product offensive in which, by the end of this decade, Volkswagen will offer at least one SUV in each relevant market segment.

Generous interior space of the new Tiguan offers more head room and up to 29 mm more rear knee room than previously. When the rear bench is folded the cargo space, at 1,655 litres, is 145 litres larger than before

The best-selling model in the UK is likely to be the 2.0 TDI 150PS manual with 4MOTION, in SE Navigation trim. Tiguan sales generally are expected to be split roughly 50:50 between fleet and retail buyers.

Upward

The Tiguan is the first Volkswagen model to be offered with an active bonnet which reduces the risk of injury to pedestrians and cyclists by lifting 50mm upward in the event of an impact.

All Tiguans are equipped with Volkswagen’s Composition Media infotainment system, which includes an eight inch colour touch-screen and Bluetooth telephone connectivity.
SE Navigation upgrades this to the Discover Navigation system, which has branded points of interest and European navigation data.

My test drive, in Ruby Red (£560) with Titan Black upholstery, ticked most of the boxes for me.

The Tiguan continues to be built at Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg factory and global headquarters; all concerned are doing a fine job.

The name Tiguan is a portmanteau of the German words Tiger Iguana, it would be fair to say that it is a beast on the road.

New up! Beats will be music to your ears

For the uninitiated, Beats by Dr. Dre is the leading and popular audio brand founded in 2006 by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.

Through its family of premium consumer headphones, earphones and speakers, Beats has introduced an entirely new generation to the possibilities of premium sound entertainment.

The groundbreaking Dr. Dre, the American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur, has now formed an unlikely alliance with car manufacturer Volkswagen.

Although unusual, the recent partnership will undoubtedly make the history books in German automotive history.

First debuted in Geneva, the new up! Beats is a special edition take on the classically popular Volkswagen up!

From the 300W 8-channel amplifier to the subwoofer, digital signal processor and seven premium loudspeakers, plus much more – this car brings audio to life, on the move.

Available with the seven speaker Beats Audio System (alongside the Polo), for crystal clear in-car audio; this up! features a bold grille and new wheels with a emphasised, central VW cap.

If that’s not enough, the model also includes tinted glass, black mirrors and even a black contrast roof with the red paintwork finish. Just as refreshed on the inside, as it is on the outside.

The 2016 up! interior combines cloth seating with leatherette sides, while the steering wheel has been updated and the option to coordinate the colour of the dashboard in-line with your paintwork and interior choices, a one-off option, exclusive to this up!

So sit back and relax, place your smartphone into the cradle and feel the efficient power unleash beneath your feet.

Astra proves to be on point

It didn't take me too long to get familiar with the new Vauxhall Astra (pictured above). Things got off to a great start when the car was delivered to my door – it was in deep sky blue which is my favourite colour.

This small family car has been built by Vauxhall since 1979. The latest seventh generation offering, as you would expect, is the best version yet.

I got comfortable inside the cockpit very quickly and within minutes on the road I could tell that my seven day evaluation would be fun – and so it proved.

Over the years, the Vauxhall Astra has been a big-selling hatchback, although it hasn’t quite been able to keep up with the competition in terms of performance and outright desirability.

Class

However, Vauxhall has pulled out all the stops with this Mark 7 version to help ensure it can hold its own in the family hatchback class.

In terms of engines, the entry point is the 99bhp 1.4-litre petrol, but this unit is slightly old-fashioned and slow, taking a long 12.6 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph. Its 52.3mpg fuel economy is reasonable but far from outstanding, while CO2 emissions of 124g/km will see you paying £110 a year in road tax.

Offers

Move up the range, and the 104bhp 1.0-litre turbo engine is not much more expensive to buy, yet offers more performance, with a 0-62mph time of 10.5 seconds.

There’s also a 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol, which offers hot-hatch like performance with a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds – although it’s the least economical engine in the line-up, with fuel economy of 46.3mpg and C02 emissions of 141g/km. There’s just one 1.6 CDTi diesel offered in three power outputs.

Underneath the revised styling of the seventh-generation Astra, there’s a great deal that’s brand new about this car, from its platform to its engines, suspension tuning and more besides.

The car is practical too. There’s two particularly roomy rows of seats and a sizeable boot. Rear leg room is also acceptable with the back seats offering two Isofix child seat anchorage points, however there’s none for the front passenger seat, but it’s rare to find a third Isofix point in a compact hatchback.

One particularly special feature was the heated leather-covered steering wheel, which on a few chilly mornings and nights was used by this correspondent to good effect.

Leg room in the front is generous and the driving position is slightly raised but generally very sound. The boot offers more seats-down loading length and loading height than most of its rivals.

This is Vauxhall’s best Astra yet. It combines efficient engines, an enjoyable driving experience and a stylish design to make it one of the best family hatchbacks on sale.

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