x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

In need of assistance

This Dubai resident simply loves the parking assistance function on her brand new Volkswagen Tiguan SUV.

Having arrived in Dubai less than a year ago, Jolanda Pas was intending to buy a cheap second-hand car, before she spotted her new VW Tiguan.
Having arrived in Dubai less than a year ago, Jolanda Pas was intending to buy a cheap second-hand car, before she spotted her new VW Tiguan.

An expensive outlay it may have been, but Jolanda Pas has no regrets about splashing out Dh100,000 on a VW Tiguan earlier this year. Having arrived in Dubai 10 months ago, the events company sales manager initially relied on taxis and a rental car to travel around the emirate. By June this year, she opted to hand back the keys to the hire car and invest in her own motor. A few internet searches returned some Peugeot 206s and 307s within her budget, but Jolanda eventually scrapped the idea for something more extravagant.

"My original plan was to buy second-hand and not spend more than Dh20,000 - I spent five times more than that," she says in mock horror. "But in the end I am actually quite pleased I did it because I got far more value for money." Jolanda says the 2.0L Tiguan, which she bought from a local dealership, makes more financial sense in the long-run than forking out less for a second-hand car. Her plan is to have the car - which would have cost much more had she bought it in her home country of the Netherlands - shipped back when she eventually returns home.

"I got it for Dh100,000, but had I bought it at home it would have been over 50 per cent more, costing about Dh250,000," she reasons. "If you compare it to the prices in Europe, the Tiguan is not at all expensive. "I was thinking I should go for second-hand but realised it wasn't worth it because while you spend less money, if you want to take it home the value of the car after a couple of years isn't much compared to a brand new one."

Once she returns to Amsterdam, Jolanda says she will rely on her Tiguan to make occasional jaunts across Europe. "One of the reasons I bought it was it's convenient to go to the Alps for skiing trips or for summer holidays," she says excitedly. During the week, Jolanda uses the VW for her 20km work commute and regular trips to hockey practice sessions with her appreciative friends in tow. "It's a big car with a fast engine and my friends are always asking where I bought it from or some of them say they'd like to get one for their wives," she says.

The car is also ideal for camping trips around the UAE at weekends. When renting, Jolanda had to make do with a small motor in which she often felt intimidated by the slew of bulky, imposing vehicles clogging the roads. But she believes her Tiguan is more than a match for other cars cruising the highways, adding it can withstand difficult terrain beyond the city limits. "It's a bigger car that feels safer to drive and it's more convenient for camping and going off-road, which I couldn't do if I bought a Peugeot 206 for example," she says.

"It was OK [off-road]; we saw some other cars struggling and I was a little concerned about getting the Tiguan stuck in the sand because it wasn't me driving, it was my friend. But we were fine." The car's park assistance function is a welcome feature, according to its owner. Jolanda says the system, which automatically guides the Tiguan into even the tightest parking spaces, has helped her avoid any bumps or scrapes. "If I want to do parallel parking you just press a button and the car does it for you. That's really cool and it's a lady gadget because all guys say we can't parallel park," she jokes.

Parking assistance will come in handy when Jolanda returns to Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is renowned for its narrow streets and cycle lanes, especially in the heart of the city. But there is nothing this function can do to help her secure a regular parking spot. Leaving cars in the city centre requires a permit, which can take up to four years to obtain. Jolanda says she will only have to wait between six months and a year for a permit because her home is just outside the restriction zone. But having grown accustomed to parking with ease around Dubai, the wait for a permit will not be easy.

"When I first go back, I will have to use my bike and cycle about 10 minutes to get my car, which will be slightly frustrating because here in Dubai you are used to parking anywhere," she says. "It is so convenient here and with the metro system you have all these parking lots close by." motoring@thenational.ae