I handed in this Volkswagen Tiguan earlier this afternoon to Budget Car Rental. Normally we get the evaluation vehicles from Volkswagen directly through their press fleet here, but me being out of the country and VW switching press fleet operators made for this to have to be renewed. Luckily enough Budget Car Rental had one available for me to drive for a week. Following the KIa Seltos this seemed like a nice comparison vehicle to drive.
But more trouble was on my way though. I had accidentally set my camera for LIVE photos, which normally would work out fine, but this time it stopped at the last frame, which was after I had already lowered the camera. That meant I had to do a re-shoot shortly before returning the car to the SNA Budget location.
It all worked out in the end as you can see, but it was a hassle, made worse by the fact that at the budget location the new car I was supposed to pick up, a “Mystery Car” turned out to be a Toyota Tundra Pick-Up. I could for the life of me not get into that car, and deemed it unsafe to drive it. I asked for another car, and the unfriendly lady at the counter reluctantly offered a Ford Ranger “Since all Mystery Cars are Pick-Ups”.
I had not read that part in the ad when I booked it, and will have to sort that out, but I was left searching for that Ford Ranger for over an hour in the vast SNA Rental Car garages. The woman had refused to give me the keys so I could press the lock and hear the horn, a simple tool, and the only white Ford Ranger parked in the Budget area was locked and wasn’t it. I will have to contact Budget about this. I have rented so much from them over the past years and am a FastBreak member, so I did not appreciate being made to feel like a nuisance, an annoyance in this woman’s life, a burden who was forced to do her job. That was a first and a last for me. I hope VW will get the press loans back in order soon.
Talking of which, how was the VW Tiguan? Well, this was a 2020 car since it was a rental, but I must admit I enjoyed driving it. I like the taught exterior creases with very tight radii and the almost impossibly sharp radii and tolerance gaps between bumper and bodywork. That is a level of quality impossible to hope for not that long ago.
I must say that I do think VW design language in general is a bit too much cookie cutter these days. A design theme doesn’t imply you just scale up and down, taller and shorter the same basic design and then change some details. That is a bit too simple. Seen on its own it is a very nice homogeneous design, but seen next to other VW’s as I did when I shot the interior photos earlier today at the local dealership, it is a bit too identical. Admittedly, Tesla does it much worse with its Model S and the scaled variations Model 3, Model X and Model Y. As the owner of the more expensive cars I would be upset at how similar the cheaper ones look. Hard to distinguish.
I didn’t drive the Tiguan a heck of lot, sadly, but did take it up to the Lake Elsinore mountains for the drone shoots. Driving it on the freeways and then on the tightly curved Highway 74 showed that the road holding and handling were really well balanced. If I would’ve had any passengers over this week’s period I am sure they would not have gotten nauseous. It is just simply plain good.
The interior was nice, black, a bit too dark for this warm California weather, but it looked nice and was functional. The IP was easy to adapt to, the USB connection to my Android phone as easy to spot and the connection worked simply, in contrast to some other brands of course. The IP was attractively sculpted and practical. A far cry from some earlier Passat IP’s with just straight lines.