VW Tiguan takes sting out of dreaded Dikhololo dirt road
Our beloved medium-sized SUV proves to be the perfect car for a family getaway to the bush.
The VW Tiguan 1.4 TSI might not be all-wheel drive, but it tackles the gravel with grace. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe
Every year my family and I look forward to a well-deserved little break when we take the short trip from Roodepoort to Dikhololo Resort, which is situated just outside Brits in the North West. And every year, I dread the last part of that road trip.
As nice as Dikhololo is to visit, the dirt road you need to take to get there is a less-than desirable experience. And for well over a decade, that 11 kilometres – which feels like 100km – have tried to derail my getaway.
Granted, I don’t travel on dirt roads often – and for the seasoned lover of the bush, it probably isn’t that bad – but this one has set the benchmark as the worst, in my eyes. People have told me it is all about setting, being in the bush, a statement I never really understood until our last trip.
Enter the VW Tiguan
I now know, it is all about the vehicle you are travelling in. We have normally driven in a regular family sized car with low-profile tyres. So to see if this really makes a difference, I asked The Citizen Motoring if I could borrow a vehicle for the trip.
I was offered the VW Tiguan 1.4 TSI DSG Life, an opportunity I grabbed with open arms. This is not a 4×4, but it handled well for a medium-sized SUV, even on the dirt roads.
It made that dreaded, bumpy and heavily graded road from hell become almost a pleasure to drive.
I can only imagine how nice it would be with a proper 4×4, like a lekker bakkie or large SUV.
The fuel economy was more than alright. The 58-litre fuel tank display hardly moved in the 270 kilometres we drove.
The VW Tiguan is really practical. I drive an old car in my everyday life and I loved the automatic six-speed gearbox which sends the 110 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque produced by it’s 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine to the front wheels.
Even being 1.98 m tall and not the smallest human on the planet, there was plenty of legroom on both driver and passenger side in front. Although the weather wasn’t really conducive to it, my wife particularly enjoyed the heated seats, an optional extra.
There was plenty of room in the back for my nine-year-old twin boys. They were fully kitted out with snacks and electronics for the “long” journey.
Space to boot
The VW Tiguan’s boot was easily big enough for the week-long trip, filled with everything from our luggage to our food and the liquid refreshments we would need in the sweltering North West heat.
We also enjoyed the electric tailgate, which on a trip like this was a nice extra on our jaunt, but I would imagine that as a day-to-day car it would become a necessity.
The panoramic sunroof is a great optional extra. The twins enjoying the wind in the hair on game drives around Dikhololo.
One downfall the vehicle has, living in an age where you only see map books in a museum, is there is no satellite navigation, and with a base price of R686 700, you would think the VW Tiguan 1.4 TSI Life would come equipped with that. The rest of the dashboard is pretty to look at and rather easy to use.
For someone who is not a petrolhead and just drives to get from point A to point B, this is a good medium-sized family SUV. It will sit very well with the Average Joe.