Test Drives

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 R-Line 2018 Review : Tigger Uppercut

At $190k with COE, Volkswagen’s Tiguan 2.0 R-Line SUV commands a premium in Singapore, but you won’t wonder where the money spent went 



The new Volkswagen Tiguan’s changed considerably, as noted in our review of the mainstream 1.4-litre ‘Highline’ version, it’s bigger, bolder and full of technology as well.

But as noted, the Tiguan (as a Volkswagen) has always occupied a unique space – above the European/Japanese mainstream, but still priced below luxury brands like BMW, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz.

The least expensive Tiguan is currently the Comfortline EQP 1.4 – that goes for $133,400 with COE.

Above that the $140,400 with COE Tiguan Highline 1.4 represents one sort of buyer, the $192,400 with COE ‘R-Line’ represents quite something else altogether.



If the Highline has more lounge lizard DNA, then the R-Line definitely gets more of the tiger genes.

As it is with R-Line variants, like the excellent wagons the Passat Variant R-Line and Golf Variant R-Line, there’s more visual flavour in the form of larger wheels and a bodykit.

That approach means the R-Line version has been shooting roids, not just hitting the jungle gym, as it’s positively chunky and purposeful.

The gaping lower front maw, gloss black bits and 19-inch wheels make it look more like the huge Touareg. In a darker colour it’d be downright menacing.

That’s a big contrast to the almost anonymous design of the previous one, even in R-Line spec, and one backed up by some pretty toothsome performance too. It packs the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 220bhp and 350Nm of torque, plus 4MOTION all-wheel drive.

It’s a potent drivetrain, and keep in mind there’s almost GTI levels of power here, with the all-wheel drive and turbo power you hardly need to let it spool up and the car rockets forward like a minorly-scalded cat or hot-watered reptile.  

Dynamic chassis control (DCC, basically adaptive dampers) lend the Tiguan decent overall poise and while it’s not the pointiest SUV around, it is predictable and agile-feeling, and doesn’t give you the feeling of there being a lot of mass to drag around.


The standard VW drive modes are present, but since this is the 4MOTION model there are also some extra choices: The mode dial can select various offroad programmes, and there’s also an extra Custom Offroad mode. The adaptive driver display can also show you steering angle in off-road mode.

As we found out in our drive of the car in Berlin, the Tiguan’s surprisingly capable off-road, but the off-road bias does the car a little injustice here in Singapore: The dynamics are good, but would be much better if the car wasn’t running Pirelli Scorpion Verde mixed, four-season tyres.

They’re a decent choice if you live in the countryside, but here in Singapore they interfere with braking and harder cornering, and if you try to throw the car around a little it starts to come unstuck. The Range Rover Sport SVR has a similar problem with its rubber, too.

It’s not a big caveat, nothing a fresh set of road-biased rubber will solve, but it’s something Singaporean buyers, who will in all likelihood never venture off road, should note.



Like the standard Highline model, the R-Line packs a big, big list of features. Over its more modest brother, the R gets larger 19-inch wheels, the R-Line body kit, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera and fully electric front seats.

Besides the all-wheel drive and 2.0-litre drivetrain of course, it shows that you’re really not sacrificing much and highlights again what a competitive package the standard Tiguan offers.

And like the Highline model, the R-Line punches pretty much above its weight when it comes to the competition.

While $190k for a Tiguan might sound steep, there’s much more car to be had now with the second-gen machine, and it’s still both cheaper and better equipped than 2.0-litre versions of the X1 or GLA.

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 R-Line 

Engine 1,984cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 220bhp at 4500-6200rpm
Torque 380Nm at 1500-4400rpm
Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h 6.5 seconds
Top Speed 220km/h
Efficiency 8.0L/100km
VES / CO2 C1 / 183g/km CO2
Agent VW Singapore
Price $192,400 with COE
Availability Now

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong