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10 best VW Tiguan alternatives

January 23, 2023 by

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a mid-size family SUV that offers almost everything drivers need: a spacious interior, a high-up driving position that gives a great view of the road ahead, reasonable running costs, and a desirable badge on the front grille and boot.

There’s also a good range of engines, with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid power all available. The Tiguan’s styling marks it out as one of the classier SUVs on the road, while inside you will find all of the latest tech. The boot’s a good size too, so you’re not sacrificing practicality for that premium feel.

However, the Tiguan is quite pricey compared to some alternatives, and if you go for one of the cheaper models, the cabin gets some hard and scratchy plastics that feel at odds with the premium image. Plus, with variety being the spice of life, it’s hardly surprising that some people might simply want something different.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best cars similar to the Volkswagen Tiguan, each with their own set of pros and cons. Our team of road testers has driven each of these models and rated them highly, so all are worthy of going head-to-head with the Tiguan.

The 10 best cars similar to the VW Tiguan

1. Nissan Qashqai

For many people, when they think of a good value family SUV, they think Nissan Qashqai. It has sold in huge numbers over the years and the latest model is the best-looking yet, with a much posher interior than before. And it’s still pretty affordable, with mid-spec trims similarly priced to the entry-level VW.

If you can stump up the cash, there is a hybrid e-Power version, but there’s not a huge improvement in efficiency to justify the extra outlay. Entry-level Visia Qashqais make do with an old school radio, so you do need to step up to Acenta Premium to get a touchscreen infotainment system, which knocks the value proposition a little.

2. Kia Sportage

The latest Kia Sportage is a fantastic looking thing thanks to its boomerang-style LED lights and large ‘tiger nose’ grille up front. Inside it’s a little more subdued, but that’s no bad thing as there are soft-touch materials and metallic details to liven things up.

The cabin is plenty spacious too, and the boot is one of the biggest in its class at 591 litres, though plug-in hybrid models are a bit smaller at 540 litres. The twin 12.3-inch infotainment displays keep things looking bang up to date inside and are easy enough to use, but some of the touch-sensitive shortcut buttons can be fiddly to operate on the move.

3. Hyundai Tucson

Few SUVs are quite as striking as the Hyundai Tucson, aside from perhaps the Sportage mentioned above. The huge cascading grille up front hides the narrow headlights and there are sharp creases in the bodywork, making it truly stand out on the road.

If you’ve driven the previous Tucson, the latest model will seem like a huge step up in quality, with premium-feel materials throughout. Rear seat space is decent but it’s the boot that really impresses, with a cavernous 620 litres on offer, making it a bit bigger than the Tiguan.

4. Mazda CX-5

Mazda is one of those manufacturers that often flies under the radar, quietly building smart, well-made cars with premium appeal and affordable prices yet rarely being mentioned among the bigger, more mainstream brands. However, the CX-5 is absolutely worthy of consideration in the family SUV market.

The interior isn’t particularly flashy but it’s solid, designed for ease of use and full of soft-touch plastics. There’s a great driving position up front, loads of legroom in the back, and decent equipment levels for the price. On the downside the boot is pretty small and the infotainment system is a little dated.

5. BMW X1

Although it’s the entry-level BMW SUV, that doesn’t mean it’s small and cheap. The latest model is much bigger and looks much posher than its predecessor, and as a result it’s a bit pricier than the Tiguan. It does feel like a step up on the VW inside and out, though, with its sharp sophisticated styling and high-tech interior.

The wide, twin-screen setup inside is ultra-sleek but, with a lack of physical buttons, navigating to simple functions can be over-complicated. Out on the road, the X1 is comfortable, composed and easy to drive in town and on the motorway, also proving a fun companion on a winding road.

6. Audi Q3

The Audi Q3 is a spacious and stylish family SUV that sits between the smaller Q2 and larger Q5 in the firm’s range. It has chunky looks that mirror those of the larger, more expensive Audi SUVs, while inside, there’s plenty of tech you would expect from pricier models too. Cabin quality is excellent, while all passengers should have plenty of room.

Out on the road, the Q3 is most at home on the motorway, being rather unexciting in corners. The automatic gearbox can be slightly sluggish to respond, too, while the optional extras can quickly drive the price up if you’re not careful.

7. Ford Kuga

If you’re looking for a family SUV that’s a hoot to drive, the Ford Kuga should be your first port of call. It’s almost as sharp to drive as a Ford Focus, itself one of the best-handling cars in the hatchback class. While most alternatives go for sharp lines, the Kuga is much curvier, inside and out, giving it a less fussy and arguably more handsome appearance.

There’s a good range of petrol and diesel engines with a plug-in hybrid option for those who can charge regularly, and even the lower-powered petrols pull strongly on the motorway. The Ford Kuga is priced close to the Tiguan but lacks its premium edge and badge appeal, which will work against it for some buyers.

8. Range Rover Evoque

The Range Rover Evoque is not a direct rival for the Tiguan on price, and is only worth considering if you’re looking at top-spec versions of the Volkswagen. If you can stretch to the extra cash, though, you’ll be driving one of the classiest SUVs on sale, while also getting surprisingly capable off-road ability, should you need it.

Although the exterior styling has barely changed over the years, the interior has made a big step up with the latest model. Higher-spec trims get two screens stacked on the centre console and the whole system is pretty easy to use. This is another car where the optional extras can really drive the price up, though, so spec one with a close eye on your budget.

9. Lexus NX

Although not quite as pricey as the Evoque, the Lexus NX is another model for those at the higher end of Tiguan prices. Its aggressive, sporty looks are eye-catching and the hybrid powertrains provide plenty of punch, while Lexus’s impeccable reliability record and the reputation of its dealer network also appeal.

Interior quality is excellent, but the infotainment system is awkward to use and takes some getting used to. And, despite the performance being impressive, the noise under acceleration can be harsh and unrefined. The NX isn’t for everyone, but if you want something a little bit different with excellent dependability, it’s well worth considering.

10. SEAT Ateca

The SEAT Ateca is a great value SUV, because despite not costing the Earth it looks great and has more than enough space for the average family. It’s also surprisingly good fun to drive, though the trade off here is a slightly firm suspension that means it’s not the most comfortable car here.

The exterior style doesn’t continue inside, where the cabin is rather dull to look at but very easy to live with. The infotainment system is straightforward to use and phone connectivity is a breeze to set up. Being a fantastic all-rounder the Ateca doesn’t particularly excel in any area, but if you’re looking for value for money it’s tough to beat.

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