First trip with Tiguan tug-- it works! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-30-2013, 10:51 PM   #1
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Colorado
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First trip with Tiguan tug-- it works!

Finally, at long last, I have good news to report.

Two years have gone by since I started looking in earnest for a better tow car to pull my 16' Scamp. One used Audi allroad has bit the dust, stone-cold-dead on the road to prove that it didn't have the right stuff. That as the car that proved to me that a new vehicle, with warranty, was not such a bad deal as the price suggested. And just two months ago, the trailer was packed and ready to hitch when a late snowstorm around Denver forced us to revise our plan for our ten-day tour of the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce, leaving the trailer home and use cheap motels instead.

But this weekend, it all seemed so easy. We just packed up, hitched up and drove straight up to Leadville, highest incorporated city in the US, and on to Camp Hale, former site of the Army's WWII training base for the 10th Mountain Division. That's a very nice campground, BTW, with huge sites, only marred by road traffic noise.

At least one member who's been asking me about preparing the VW Tiguan for towing will be interested in these results. This "compact" 4-cylinder CUV pulled like a champ, over a total of six 10,000-foot-plus passes, and gave not a whimper of complaint or mischief. I used the manual shifting feature of the tiptronic auto transmission, usually choosing 4th on steep upgrades to keep revs between 3-4K. The transmission also gave plenty of compression braking on downhill stretches, sparing the brakes. I'd been refusing automatic transmissions because I feared they could only freewheel down hills, but they've apparently come a long way since the '70s.

We experienced no trailer sway, only a little bit of quiet conversation between steering wheel and rear end during gusty moments. The turbo engine's power was entirely adequate; I truly don't know what I would have done with more. My wife was easily maintaining 65 mph up the back side of Floyd Hill, which locals know as one of the steepest stretches of I-70 outside Denver. That's what 200 hp can do, when you have a turbo preserving the power all the way to the top of the hill.

What else can you say about such a smooth, uncomplicated towing experience? The backup camera, along with an EZHitch. made it ultra-simple to back up to the hitch. The wiring hookup was tidy and strong. Oh, we got 18 mpg overall for the 300 miles driven, but know that about one-quarter that mileage was done unhitched, sightseeing. That was the same mileage we got with our last tow car, a Forester, but everything else the Tiguan offered was much superior: the quiet cruising, the stability, the absence of rear end sag and front-end jacking that was the Subaru's biggest weakness.

Besides some family loyalty to VW, we chose the Tiguan because it was small enough to park downtown. Now we've confirmed that it's gutsy enough to haul a one-ton Scamp over the highest passes of North America, hardly breaking a sweat. That's good news that I'm happy to share this evening!
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:12 PM   #2
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I'm glad you are enjoying it.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John McMillin View Post
The transmission also gave plenty of compression braking on downhill stretches, sparing the brakes. I'd been refusing automatic transmissions because I feared they could only freewheel down hills, but they've apparently come a long way since the '70s.
Yes, primarily in the addition of a lockup clutch around the torque converter. It was added to improve efficiency and reduce heat generation by avoiding slip in normal driving, but has the side effect -if properly used in the transmission's control design - of solidly engaging the wheels to drive the engine for engine braking. Before the lockup clutch, the torque converter didn't transmit torque backwards very well, so the transmission couldn't drive engine effectively for braking.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:04 PM   #4
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Sounds good JM and not surprised. Sounds like VW was able to bring many of the fine qualities of the T-Regs to the Tig. Do you have any pics of the rig?
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
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Darn, I forgot! Will do soon. The car and trailer are both pure white, and the Scamp is de-badged, giving a somewhat official appearance.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:20 PM   #6
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Name: Jan
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The Tiguan is tougher than it looks. We got our 2009 last year when my Xterra was "lost due to enemy action" (T-boned).

At first, I was really concerned whether the Tiguan could tow our 13' Boler. We drive through Northern Michigan to get to the Soo. There is a real b!tch of a hill north of the Soo. The kinda hill where 18-wheelers can just barely get up the grade. You could almost see the pistons changing holes in the engine while they struggle up the hill.

My Xterra had a six cylinder supercharged engine, so it was no slouch where torque is concerned. But the Tiguan is just a few ft-lbs short of the Xterra. I was going to buy another Xterra but when I compared the operating cost of driving a 4X4 all year round compared to possibly straining the engine on the Tiguan several times during the year, I decided to go with the VW. Naturally, being a VW fan there was some bias there. That and the fact the Tiguan has the same engine as the legendary GTI.

We did have trailer brakes installed because we were approaching the Tiguan's towing capacity, Strangely, the Euro spec Tiguan, and I think for the ROTW (Rest of the World), has a much higher towing capacity. From what I've been able to find out, it seems to have something to do with the towing hitch.

To my amazement, the Tiguan handled going up that hill while towing the Boler better than my Xterra! And while driving on the interstates, passing slower vehicles was a cinch. No worries there.

I'm very impressed with the Tiguan.
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:35 PM   #7
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I'm a little surprised that a supercharged six wouldn't spank a turbo four, but the Xterra probably had hundreds of pounds more of its own weight to haul, too.

My other car is a 2009 GTI, so I've settled the family fleet towards that single 2.0 gas turbo... since the diesel Tiguan isn't here yet. The engine gives similar response with both applications, just RIGHT NOW in the GTI, and "just a second" in the Tig. It's such a versatile engine, it doesn't seem the same. The jumbo Golf (Tiguan) wants to downshift to below 2000 rpm all the time, and pulls like a diesel. The sporty Golf (GTI) has short gearing and runs the engine much faster, but it still returns about 5mpg more.

But oddly, the Tiguan feels more sporty in the ride department. It's a top of the line SEL, with the "sports suspension" and 19-inch rims, like you might find on a Corvette. The ride can be punishing on poor pavement; I took my kid for a long ride the day after her wisdom teeth were extracted, and she definitely felt every bounce. And our recent drive up a dirt road above Camp Hale was uncomfortable. The road was perfectly graded, with small sharp rocks, and we felt every one of them. Tonight I'm meeting a guy who's selling 17-inch wheels. I'll use them for winter tires, and probably dread the day I have to take them off in spring. And this is from a driving enthusiast who's never before owned a car that was too firm, with tires too wide.

Considering your accident experience, you'll find this interesting: Volkswagen Tiguan Denver Rollover Safety IIHTS | North Valley VW - YouTube

It shows the a test of roof rollover crush strength that finds the Tiguan best in class.
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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I like the little turbo motors. My son as an 03 20th anniv edition GTI. In the 8th mile it out runs his friends SRT8 Challenger.. GTI has a posi and few other things, very quick and still gets close to 30mpg. I can see where that engines big brother in a Tiguan would pull pretty well.
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:57 PM   #9
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The safety thing is a biggy and the Tig seems to excell in this. Even many of the big, heavy SUV's don't fare well in the roll over events.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:29 PM   #10
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Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
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Well, lookey there! Thanks to the tough underbody frame, that truck is almost as lopng as it was before the accident. Not so tall, though.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:00 AM   #11
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Isn't it normal for vehicles that roll - if they don't flip end-for-end - to only get crushed in height?

Standards for rollover strength are relatvely lax for big SUVs, so even an average performance for a compact SUV will look good compared to the big stuff.
From the IIHS Rollover Q&A:
Quote:
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 216, Roof Crush Resistance, establishes a minimum requirement for roof strength...
The new standard is being phased in beginning with 2013 model vehicles, and by the 2017 model year, 100 percent of each manufacturer's fleet must comply.

The updated FMVSS 216 will regulate the roof strength of many SUVs and pickup trucks by extending coverage to vehicles with gross weight ratings (GVWRs) up to 10,000 pounds. (GVWR is the weight of the vehicle plus the maximum load of passengers and cargo specified by the manufacturer.) In the past, the standard applied only to vehicles with GVWRs up to 6,000 pounds, which meant about 44 percent of the SUV and pickup fleets were exempt.

While the updated roof strength regulation applies to these [additional] vehicles, they won’t be subject to the same force requirements. Instead of a force equal to 3 times the vehicle's weight, vehicles with GVWRs over 6,000 pounds will be subject to a force equal to 1˝ times their weight.
So if your concern is rollovers, get safer by getting a moderately sized vehicle... Tiguan or otherwise.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:21 AM   #12
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You never know what kind of accident might happen. In typical collisions, there's a benefit in having the heavier car. But when you roll over, not surprisingly, the tables are turned, and that weight is not your friend. I'm sorry to see that jumbo SUVs and trucks are given lower standards once again.
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:09 AM   #13
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Not to mention the higher centre of gravity. In these situations, physics is not your friend.

Luckily I remembered all the techniques I learned from skid school and was able to just avoid two telephone poles. But the lack of steering response was scary. Physics 101.

When I see a small woman driving a big, honkin' SUV with kids, I have to wonder if anyone explained your not necessarily safer in these things. I know the husband or SO (significant other) meant well enough. And, generally speaking, I also suspect the woman might lack advanced driving skills such as collision avoidance or realize that braking distance is significantly longer. Usually, they're yaking on cellphones...

I remember seeing a BMW commercial a long time ago showing that sometimes acceleration and agility can be a safety advantage when avoiding collisions.

Besides, the Tiguan/Boler combination looks cool when compared to the Boler being towed by Xterra.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:58 PM   #14
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Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
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Someone asked for a photo

Not quite hitched up, in my driveway.
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