Table of Contents > Driving > Off—road driving

VW Tiguan 2021 Owner's Manual ➜ Off—road driving

Adjust the display areas according to the  
Slopes: steering wheel angle indicator, engine  
coolant temperature indicator and altimeter  
(country dependent)  
driving situation  
The displayed instruments can be selected  
depending on the driving situation, as well as the  
surrounding and ground conditions:  
Mountainous terrain: Steering wheel angle  
indicator, altimeter (depending on country) and  
Sandy terrain: Engine oil and coolant  
temperature gauges and steering wheel angle  
The habitat of the existing flora and fauna can be  
offroad driving  
Leaking operating fluids as a result of damage  
to the vehicle can contaminate  
Introduction to the topic  
undermine the environment. If any operating fluid  
leaks out, please collect it and dispose of it properly  
and in an environmentally friendly manner.  
The examples cited in this chapter should be  
understood as general rules that are intended to  
help the driver to drive safely off-road. However, it  
cannot be assumed that they are applicable in all  
situations that arise. Before making an incursion into  
unknown terrain, it is crucial to find out about its  
characteristics. In this way, potential hazards can be  
assessed in advance. The driver is responsible for  
deciding if the vehicle is suitable for the terrain and  
if it is passable.  
Keep useful accessories for offroad driving  
in the vehicle.  
Safety instructions for offroad  
Off-road driving requires different skills and  
behaviors than driving on conventional roads.  
Note and from page 173.  
This vehicle has not been designed for “expedition  
character” travel.  
Intelligent vehicle technology cannot overcome  
the limits imposed by physical laws and only  
works within the limits of the corresponding  
systems. In unfavorable ground conditions,  
instability situations may occur when the wheels  
lock even with ABS (eg, in case of hard braking  
on loose gravel). Under these conditions, the  
connected ESC can only stabilize the vehicle to a  
limited extent.  
In an all-wheel drive vehicle, with 4MOTION  
Active Control it is possible to select different  
configurations depending on the driver's preferences  
ÿ p. 170.  
For offroad driving, switch off the assistance and  
parking systems.  
Before your first ride, do the following in order to  
drive and drive the vehicle safely off paved roads:  
ÿ Observe the general warnings for  
Offroad driving can be dangerous, leading to  
accidents, serious injuries, vehicle damage, and  
vehicle breakdown beyond help.  
Safety for offroad driving.  
· Never choose a dangerous route or take risks  
that endanger you and your companions. If  
you cannot continue or you doubt the safety of  
the route, turn around and find another way.  
ÿ Adjust the seat so that you have a good view  
forward and put on the seat belt ÿ p. 43.  
ÿ Always wear suitable, tight-fitting footwear that  
offers good foot support when operating the  
· Although the terrain seems easy to travel  
ble, it can be difficult and dangerous and lead  
to critical situations for you and your  
A responsible driver respects nature even  
when driving offroad. When traveling through  
areas of scrubland and  
5 N M 0 1 2 7 6 0 A J  
companions. Explore the route first on foot.  
offroad driving  
· When driving offroad, proceed with special  
prudence and foresight. Driving too fast or  
missing a maneuver can cause serious injury  
and damage to the vehicle.  
· Always adapt your speed and driving style to  
the load, visibility, terrain and weather  
· Never drive faster than is convenient for the  
prevailing terrain, road, traffic and weather  
· Always avoid driving on a slope with the vehicle  
tilted ÿ p. 180.  
Never drive on slopes, ramps  
or slopes too fast. This could cause the vehicle to jack  
· If the vehicle is stopped leaning to the side on an  
incline, never exit the vehicle through the doors  
that face down the incline. The combined center  
of gravity of the vehicle and its payload (occupants  
and cargo) could shift, causing the vehicle to  
overturn and roll downhill. The vehicle must  
always be left, without making sudden movements,  
through the doors on the side that faces the top  
ÿ page. 180.  
up so that it is impossible for you to steer and control it.  
· If the vehicle were to lift, keep  
Always keep the front wheels in a straight position.  
If the wheels were turned when losing contact with the  
ground, the vehicle could overturn.  
Multifunctional sports vehicles have a significantly higher  
rollover risk than conventional passenger cars ÿ p. 175.  
Driver assistance systems have been developed for driving  
on firm roads only. Driver assistance systems are not suitable  
for off-road driving and their use can even be dangerous. If  
you use the driver assistance systems while driving offroad,  
you may lose control of the vehicle and be seriously injured.  
· In the event of a rollover, occupants who are not  
wearing seat belts are at greater risk of being  
killed than those who are.  
· The vehicle has a higher center of gravity and is  
more likely to overturn while driving than a  
"normal" car that is not suitable for off-road  
Never drive too fast, especially  
mind in curves, or perform extreme maneuvers  
· Never use driver assistance systems when  
driving offroad.  
· Always adapt the speed and style of playing  
duction to the prevailing conditions of the  
Driving with too low a fuel level could cause the vehicle to  
stall, which could cause accidents and serious injuries.  
· When luggage and other objects are transported  
on the roof, the vehicle's center of gravity is  
raised additionally and the risk of tipping over  
· Before an offroad ride, refuel  
enough fuel.  
· The steering and braking assistance systems do  
not work if the engine runs erratically or shuts  
down due to lack of fuel or irregular fuel supply.  
Sections that seem harmless can turn out to be very dangerous.  
Potholes, cavities, pits, chasms, obstacles, unevenness, and  
soft, muddy ground are often indistinguishable and are partially  
or fully covered with snow, water, grass, or fallen branches.  
In case of precipitation, if the windows and the glass roof are  
open, the interior equipment of the vehicle could get wet and the  
vehicle could be damaged. During off-road forays, always keep  
the windows and glass roof closed.  
Driving above these land accidents cannot cause accidents,  
serious injuries and vehicle breakdown.  
· Before embarking on a foray into an unfamiliar  
stretch, carefully explore the route on foot.  
· Never choose an unsafe route or take any risk  
that endangers you and your companions. If you  
doubt the safety of the route, turn around and  
find another way.  
Angle of inclination Value of the angle formed by the vehicle  
when going up a slope inclined or perpendicular to the  
line of fall without tipping laterally (depending on the  
center of gravity) ÿ fig. 139. Ramp angle Value of the  
angle formed by the vehicle when going up a ramp  
Explanation of some technical  
Note and from page 173.  
slowly without the uneddegreboodf ythoefrtahme pv.ehicle rubbing against the  
Angle of attack/departure Going from a flat surface to an  
uphill slope or from a downhill slope to a flat surface.  
Value of the angle formed by the vehicle when  
going over a hill without the underside of the  
vehicle rubbing against the edge of the ramp.  
drop line  
a slope.  
Line representing the vertical descent of  
Fig. 138 Schematic representation: slope angle.  
Crossing axles Torque capacity of the vehicle when  
passing with only one side through an obstacle.  
“Before Offroad Driving” Checklist  
Note and from page 173.  
Checklist For your own  
safety and that of your companions, take into account the  
following points before each offroad excursion: ÿ Inform yourself  
adequately about the characteristics of the terrain before the  
Fig. 139 Schematic representation: angle of inclination.  
offroad excursion.  
Gravity center  
The center of gravity of a vehicle  
determines its anti-roll behaviour. The vehicle has  
more ground clearance to facilitate off-road driving,  
hence the center of gravity is higher than in “normal”  
passenger cars.  
ÿ Fill the fuel tank. Fuel consumption is considerably higher  
offroad than on the highway. ÿ Check if the type of tires  
fitted and their profile are suitable for the route you want  
to take. ÿ Check the pressure of all tires and correct it.  
This feature increases the risk of tipping while driving.  
Always remember this and take into account the safety  
advice and warnings in this instruction manual.  
ÿ Check the engine oil level and add oil. The engine will only  
receive oil, even when the vehicle is tilted, if the oil level is  
ground clearance  
The distance between the pavement  
and the lowest point of the underbody of the vehicle.  
Slope angle Value of the sliotspeowthnapt othweevr.ehicle can climb under  
ÿ Completely fill the window fluid tank with water and window  
The height (slope) reached in a section of 100 m (330  
ft) is indicated in percentage or in degrees ÿ fig. 138.  
The maximum slope angle that the vehicle can climb  
depends, among other things, on the pavement and  
the engine power.  
cleaning product.  
ÿ Place the luggage as horizontal and flat  
possible. Secure all items securely.  
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offroad driving  
change gear correctly  
General rules and tips for driving  
Note and from page 173.  
Note and from page 173.  
Choosing the right gear depends on the type of terrain.  
— Volkswagen recommends never conducting single-vehicle  
raids. There should be at least two off-road vehicles going off-  
Before crossing a section that offers difficulties, it may be  
convenient to stop the vehicle and think about the ideal gear.  
After carrying out a few forays, you will acquire the necessary  
experience to select the most suitable gear, in combination with  
the reduction gear, for certain  
road together. Unexpected situations can always arise. It is  
very convenient to carry a device that allows you to ask for  
help if necessary.  
— Especially before going through difficult sections, stop and  
analyze the terrain on foot first.  
— If the correct gear ratio is selected, there will be less demand  
on the brakes on descents, since the engine braking effect  
will be sufficient in most cases.  
— Climb hills slowly to prevent the vehicle from bouncing and  
potentially being damaged and immobilized.  
— Accelerate only what is strictly necessary. if you accelerate  
— Drive slowly on difficult sections. On slippery surfaces, shift  
into a higher gear and keep the vehicle in motion at all times.  
suddenly, the wheels may skid and you may lose control of  
the vehicle as a result.  
— For easy cross-country riding on level ground, use selector  
lever position D.  
— Off-road, soft surfaces where the tires sink predominate. As  
a consequence, the ground clearance and the wading  
height of the vehicle decrease. Whenever possible, ride on  
level, firm ground.  
— When driving on soft or slippery surfaces, adjust your speed  
and select the highest possible gear on the Tiptronic.  
— Always keep a sufficient safety distance from other vehicles,  
even when driving at low speed. This way, if the vehicle in  
front becomes trapped, you can stop in time and avoid being  
immobilized as well.  
— On steep descents or ascents, use the Tiptronic in 1st gear.  
— In the event of mud, sand, water or rough sections, drive with  
the Tiptronic in 3rd or 2nd gear ÿ p. 161.  
— Use the Offroad indicator ÿ p. 172.  
— Use the Auto-Hold function ÿ p. 207.  
· Always make sure there is sufficient ground clearance under  
the vehicle. If the underbody of the vehicle touches the  
ground, they could be seriously damaged. These could  
Driving on rough terrain  
cause the vehicle to immobilize and be impossible to continue  
the march.  
Note and from page 173.  
· During offroad driving, avoid slipping the clutch or having your  
foot on the clutch pedal. Otherwise, when traveling on rough  
1. Select a suitable driving profile ÿ p. 170 and proceed at  
terrain, you could inadvertently depress the clutch pedal,  
maximum pedestrian speed.  
which could cause loss of vehicle control. In addition, there  
is a loss of transmission between the engine and the  
2. If you can't avoid a rock, climb cautiously  
gearbox, and the wear of the clutch linings is accelerated.  
support it with one of the front wheels and then go over  
it slowly ÿ .  
Also obstacles that are smaller than the ground clearance of the  
vehicle may come into contact with the underbody, cause damage  
and lead to vehicle breakdown. Keep this in mind, especially  
when there is a cavity or soft ground of  
ahead of or behind the obstacle, as well as when  
2. Maintain a constant speed until you reach the  
other shore.  
you go over the obstacle too fast and the vehicle has  
less ground clearance because the damping is  
By maintaining a constant speed, water can be  
prevented from entering the engine and damaging it.  
In addition, this way an air bubble can form in front of  
the engine that provides it with the necessary oxygen.  
Entering or speeding through the water will create a  
wave in front of the vehicle. Water could enter the  
engine through the air intake holes and cause serious  
damage to the engine.  
Never drive over large obstacles, such as rocks or  
logs, with only one side of the vehicle or between  
the wheels. Obstacles that exceed the ground  
clearance of the vehicle can damage vehicle  
components and cause a breakdown.  
Fording strong water currents  
The speed of the current and the strength and depth  
of the water can be unpredictable and dangerous sas  
ÿ .  
The vehicle can be swept away by the  
Fording standing water or running  
current. Even vehicles with high ground clearance  
can be trapped if the wheels sink into the ground.  
The water stagnates on one side of the vehicle and  
its level rises there.  
Note and from page 173.  
Don't take any risk. Find a shallower point to  
cross the water or turn around.  
Traversing stretches of flooded terrain or water may  
cause damage to the vehicle.  
after a wade  
If the water does not exceed the lower edge of the  
bodywork, it can be carefully traversed.  
1. Check the vehicle for damage.  
2. Dry the brakes by applying the brake repeatedly  
with caution.  
1. Consider the maximum wading height of the  
2. Only wade through a point where the ground is  
firm and the depth does not exceed the  
maximum wading height.  
Water currents can develop great force and drag  
the vehicle away. This can cause very dangerous  
situations that can lead to accidents and serious or  
3. Observe the information on driving on flooded  
roads ÿ p. 150.  
fatal injuries.  
Before wading  
· Never stop the vehicle in water.  
Stop the vehicle, get out and analyze the situation ÿ :  
The soft terrains, the obstacles under the  
Water, hollows or water entering the engine  
compartment can cause accidents and the  
breakdown of the vehicle in the water. This could  
cause critical situations.  
1. Measure the depth of the water to the other  
end. Check if there are unevenness or  
obstacles in the bottom and if the terrain is  
consistent enough ÿ .  
2. Make sure it is possible to enter and exit the  
water safely.  
Going through water can seriously damage vehicle  
components such as the engine, transmission,  
undercarriage or electrical system.  
3. Check the angle of attack/departure and the  
consistency of the terrain at the edge.  
4. Select a suitable driving profile ÿ p. 170.  
Never ride on salt, saline surfaces  
or salt water. Salt can cause corrosion.  
Immediately rinse vehicle parts that have come  
into contact with salt or salt water with fresh water.  
Fording standing water or weak water currents  
If the ground consistency is firm, the vehicle can  
ford stagnant water and weak water currents ÿ .  
If the headlamp washer is used, objects in the water  
may get into the holes where the headlamp washer  
nozzles retract. Then it will not be possible to retract  
the ejectors.  
1. Slowly enter the water with the current. Never  
exceed the vehicle's approach/departure angle  
or bank angle.  
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offroad driving  
· Do not use the headlight washer while wading.  
· If you have still dropped your tire pressure for  
sand driving, always restore the correct  
pressure before proceeding. Driving with low  
tire pressure can cause loss of vehicle control  
and increases the risk of serious injury and  
Driving on sandy and muddy  
Note and from page 173.  
The ESC and ASR have to be connected ÿ p. 224.  
stuck vehicle  
1. Select a suitable driving profile ÿ p. 170.  
Note and from page 173.  
The vehicle is stuck when the wheels are  
2. Select a suitable gear and stay in that gear until you reach a  
firm surface ÿ p. 176.  
so sunk into the ground that it cannot advance or retreat under  
its own power.  
3. On such terrain, always maintain a constant speed and do not  
manually change gear or stop.  
Getting your vehicle stuck out of sand or mud using  
the push-pull method requires training and skill. If a  
mistake is made in doing so, the vehicle will sink  
further and you can only get out with the help of  
third parties.  
In sand or mud the tires can lose grip.  
Never let the wheels spin for too long, as this will only sink  
the vehicle further ÿ p. 179.  
— Do not change either speed or direction.  
— If the vehicle skids, turn in the proper direction to regain  
control of the vehicle.  
— If the tires lose grip, turn the steering wheel quickly from  
side to side. In this way it is possible to momentarily  
achieve greater grip on the tires of the front wheels on this  
type of terrain.  
Previous steps  
1. Dig up all wheels carefully  
and make sure no other vehicle components are buried in  
sand or mud.  
2. Engage reverse gear.  
3. Accelerate with caution and retrace your own steps.  
Driving through sand and mud can be dangerous. The vehicle  
could skid out of control, increasing the risk of injury. Always  
If this doesn't work, place brush, mats, or burlap just behind  
drive carefully when you have to drive through mud, sand or  
the wheels to help grip and improve traction ÿ p. 179.  
· Never choose an unsafe route or take any risk that  
endangers you and your companions. If you  
Unblock a vehicle with the sway method  
doubt the safety of the route, turn around and  
find another way.  
1. Disconnect the ASR ÿ p. 224.  
2. Put the steering wheel straight.  
3. Back up until the wheels start to turn.  
If the tire pressure is incorrect, it can cause a serious or  
fatal accident.  
4. Immediately engage first gear  
and move forward until the wheels start to spin again.  
· If the tire pressure is incorrect, the tires wear more  
and the driving behavior of the vehicle deteriorates.  
5. Repeat this operation until the impulse is  
enough to free the vehicle.  
· Incorrect pressure can cause overheating and  
sudden damage to the tires, which could even  
burst and lose the tread, which could cause loss  
of control of the vehicle.  
6. After clearing the vehicle, reconnect the  
— Maintain constant speed with the brake pedal until  
you reach safer, level ground.  
Never allow anyone to get in front of or behind the  
vehicle, especially when trying to unclog it.  
go down slopes  
There is a great danger of tipping over when going down slopes.  
On descents, focus above all on controlling the vehicle.  
· If the wheels skid, stones, brush, pieces of wood  
or other objects under the wheels could be thrown  
at high speed and cause fatal injuries.  
— Go down steep grades in first gear.  
— Use the brake pedal carefully so as not to lose  
control of the vehicle.  
· If the stuck vehicle suddenly starts moving, it could  
run over people in front of or behind it.  
— Never exceed the angle of inclination of the ve  
— As far as possible and if it is not dangerous, descend  
in a straight line following the line of fall (maximum  
Driving on steep terrain two  
— On steeper downgrades, use the Offroad indicator  
and Descent Assist ÿ p. 172.  
Note and from page 173.  
driving on slopes  
Never attempt to go up or down a hill if it is too steep  
for the vehicle. It could slip, tip over, or roll over.  
Before going up or down a slope it is advisable to stop  
the vehicle, get out and analyze the situation:  
— Walk the section on foot and check the firmness of  
the ground and the presence of obstacles or other  
hidden dangers ÿ .  
Do not exceed the maximum value of the angle of  
grade or incline allowed for the vehicle.  
— Check the situation on the other side of the peak.  
· On slopes, always ride following only the line of fall.  
— If the route is too steep or rough, or if the terrain is  
too inconsistent, stop and choose another route.  
· Never turn or turn on a slope.  
This could cause the vehicle to roll over or skid.  
— Go up or down the slope slowly at a speed  
constant and in a straight line.  
If the engine stalls or cannot continue, otherwise  
hold on and step on the brake pedal. Restart the  
engine. Engage reverse gear, release the brake  
pedal and take advantage of the effect of the  
engine brake to carefully back up in a straight line  
following the line of fall. Keep a slow and steady  
— Never stop or turn around on the way  
— On an uphill grade, accelerate only just  
to get over it. If you accelerate too much, the wheels  
could spin and you could lose control of the vehicle.  
If you accelerate too little, the chance of stalling the  
engine increases.  
If you cannot start the engine, step on the  
brake pedal with a steady force and allow the  
vehicle to roll back on its own steps. Keep a slow  
and steady speed.  
Vehicles with manual transmission Do not change gears  
cha or clutch during the climb.  
Vehicles with automatic transmission Do not change gears  
· Never back down a hill at idle speed. You could  
lose control of the vehicle.  
walking during the ascent.  
— Use the Offroad indicator ÿ p. 172.  
If you cannot continue going up a slope  
— Never turn when going uphill.  
— If the engine stalls, step on the brake and restart  
the engine.  
— Engage reverse gear and back up slowly in a  
straight line.  
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offroad driving