The wonderful thing about Tiguan
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 December 2016
Volkwagen's second-generation Tiguan sport utility vehicle has moved upmarket with a classier look and feel, making it a benchmark all-rounder, says motoring editor Andy Russell
Take a sport utility vehicle, stick Volkswagen badges front and back and you’ve got a recipe for success. SUV and VW. Both popular in their own right. Put them together and it’s not difficult to see why the Tiguan has been such a hit and one of the marque’s top-sellers behind the Golf and Polo.
The new model builds on this success. More grown-up and mature, stylish and upmarket – it looks like a scaled-down version of the bigger Touareg, swapping the previous Tiguan’s cushy curves for stronger angles that give it far more road presence.
Under the bonnet
Petrol or diesel? There’s plenty to choose from to suit all needs and tastes but the 150PS 2-litre diesel is going to be the most popular, with 4Motion all-wheel drive and manual or automatic transmission. If you don’t need the reassurance of that extra traction, the front-wheel drive version fits the bill with flexible, elastic performance across a wide rev range. There’s no need to work it hard with the precise six-speed manual gearbox, avoiding the gruff and boomy top end.
Make the most of the mid-range pull and it pays dividends at the pumps too with 45-50mpg running around and 55-60 on longer journeys.
Ride & handling
This is the first Volkswagen SUV on the innovative and flexible modular MQB platform, which also underpins the Golf. It feels more grown-up to drive with a fine balance between ride and roadholding, even with 18in alloy wheels - the saving grace being deep tyres which help cushion bumps and lumps. The tyres also protrude beyond the alloy rim, protecting them if you clip a kerb.
While the supple suspension soothes the worst effects of rough roads, it’s stiff enough to give the Tiguan good poise and balance through twists and turns. Combined with well-weighted steering this SUV is rather rewarding on cross-country routes.
At the wheel
Styling-wise, the family feel extends to the fascia with large white on black dials, rotary heating and ventilation controls and sturdy switchgear. Most functions are controlled via a large touch screen with menu buttons that come ‘alive’ as your hand approaches.
There’s a good range of steering wheel and driver seat adjustment but those with short legs may find the long seat cushions press into the back of their knees.
The fascia is more functional than fancy, despite its quality feel, fit and finish, but there’s no shortage of storage space.
Space & comfort
It’s a similar story when it comes to passenger space with 60/40 split rear seats that now slide back and forth through 180mm. Legroom in the back goes from vast to voluminous – with the front seat set for my 5ft 8in frame I could still squeeze in behind with the rear seat fully forward.
The deep boxy 615-litre boot, 145 litres more than the previous model, has a two-level floor – at sill height for easier loading or drop it lower to increase depth for larger loads. Rear seat backs fold flush with the boot floor in the highest position for a long, uninterrupted load platform.
The Tiguan’s sharper lines and more athletic appearance have made it look classier. This is borne out by the quality of the interior, practicality and attention to detail.
It doesn’t come cheap compared to many rivals but that Volkwagen badge means it’s a price many people will be happy to pay and should mean strong used values too.
Price: Volkswagen Tiguan SE Navigation 2.0 TDI 2WD 150PS £28,035 (range £22,510)
Engine: 1,968cc, 150PS, four-cylinder, turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 9.3 seconds; top speed 127mph
MPG: Urban 48.7; extra urban 67.3; combined 58.9
CO2 emissions: 125g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 25 per cent
Insurance group: 19E (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Size: L 4,486mm; W (incl door mirrors) 2,099mm; H 1,632mm