2014 Volkswagen Tiguan TDI - Pilot Injection
Being part of Diesel Power magazine definitely has its perks -- especially when it comes to seeing new vehicles and new technologies months, and sometimes years, before they are revealed to the public. Over the last year, we have been privy to some pretty cool things ahead of the curve, both from a technology and design standpoint.
One of my favorite unveilings of the past year was the Cummins ISV5.0 V-8. You know it as the diesel powerplant that will find a home in the next-generation Nissan Titan, but we drove the commercial version. Even in commercial garb, it made driving a fully loaded school bus fun and a 9,500-pound bread van an absolute riot.
If you recall the February cover, we were also first to market with information on the 2015 Ford Super Duty and the upgraded 6.7L power Stroke V-8. Thanks to our unique access, we were able to set up a photo shoot near Ford’s headquarters and produce not only a great cover, but also a story regarding a product our readers are passionate about.
Over the past few days, I have been driving a Euro-spec ’14 Volkswagen Tiguan TDI that will only grace these shores for a few short weeks. Much like the 2012 Euro-only Golf GTD we tested last year, VW is assessing the reaction of its diesel-powered small SUV in this market -- and we were the first to get behind the wheel.
There is a lot to like about this particular example of the Volkswagen Tiguan, starting with the 4Motion all-wheel drive and a higher-output version of the 2.0L TDI engine backed by a seven-speed version of the familiar DSG transmission. Compared to our long-term VW Passat with 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, the Tiguan’s engine has an output of 174 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, a noticeable improvement, even in the heavier Tiguan. The engine has a fantastically flat torque curve and almost no turbo lag. Passing power is deceptively quick, and overall it makes for a really great package in the compact SUV.
One of the new technologies sported by our Tiguan tester is VW’s version of automatic start/stop. We first tested this system in Audi’s 3.0L-diesel-equipped A7 and found it a little disconcerting that the engine would shut off at stop lights, but due to the better NVH control in the Audi, the system was fairly unobtrusive and we eventually got used to it.
Start/stop works by shutting the engine down whenever the car comes to a complete stop and the driver maintains pressure on the brake pedal. All the accessories -- even the HVAC system -- work as normal with the engine shut down. As soon as the computer senses the driver lifting his foot off the brake, the engine rumbles to life automatically and is ready by the time the driver’s foot reaches the accelerator pedal.
In the Tiguan, we found it a bit abrupt, and sometimes the system was a hair behind our foot pressing on the accelerator pedal, causing a minor, but sometimes annoying stumble away from the stop. The system seemed a hair overactive to us, especially when the car would shut off and restart in stop-and-go traffic on our long commute home. We wonder about the long-term durability of the starter with this type of use, but we’ll leave that to the engineers to figure out.
Parking lot attendants and drive-thru window clerks will appreciate your newfound level of respect for them, or they might wonder why you keep turning your car off and restarting it. Whether you like advanced technologies, such as start/stop, get used to them because more vehicles will be equipped with these systems to help meet ever-increasing economy and emissions standards. It must work, because the Tiguan is rated at 42 mpg on the European cycle, and despite a short test with a heavy foot, we saw high 30s during our time with the SUV.
While special opportunities like these may be considered perks of the job, they are an important part of what we do at Diesel Power. These opportunities allow us to be on the cutting edge of news and technology and give valuable feedback to the manufacturers. But, most importantly, they allow us to bring the latest and most interesting information to our readers.
Sean P. Holman\