Volkswagen Tiguan

SUV with high-quality interior and lots of space

8.1
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 12 reviews
  • Superb quality
  • Quiet interior
  • Cheap running costs
  • Short three-year warranty
  • Likely to cost more than rivals
  • No auto on two-wheel drive models
 

£22,920 - £39,050 Price range

 

5 Seats

 

4 - 60 MPG

Review

The changing face of UK car-buying habits has already been demonstrated by the popularity of SUVs such as the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai – they now massively outstrip their makers’ more conventional cars in terms of sales.

It’s the same story with this new Volkswagen Tiguan. The old version enjoyed record sales in 2015, despite being eight-years old, and this latest car is expected to be VW’s third most popular model behind the Polo and Golf. You can check out exactly how far it’s come with our comparison of the new Volkswagen Tiguan against its predecessor.

The new Tiguan shares its MQB underpinnings with the latter of those two (and the new Passat), which has allowed VW to increase passenger space and give the new Tiguan a huge boot. Quality also takes a step up and the Tiguan is available with the latest tech including VW’s 12.3-inch digital display replacing the traditional instruments.

Using the MQB platform means the Tiguan also has a nice selection of all-turbocharged engines. After being phased out in the old car, petrol power returns in the form of a 180hp 2.0-litre unit. Diesels will remain the most popular, though, and buyers can choose from 148hp 2.0-litre models with two- or four-wheel drive.

Volkswagen expects most Tiguans to be specified with four-wheel drive and its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is only available on these models. For the best fuel economy the six-speed manual mated to two-wheel drive will be the model to go for.

Reviewers say the Tiguan’s driving experience is closer in ethos to premium small SUVs such as the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60, rather than the VW’s direct rivals. It rides firmly like an Audi, but is never uncomfortable, while the light-but-direct steering makes it easy to manoeuvre in town and place confidently on the open road.

Equipment levels are very generous with even the basic models coming with all the equipment we realistically need as standard such as sat-nav and climate control, but more importantly, all cars come with a low-speed automatic emergency braking system and lane-keep assist.

Considering the success of the last Tiguan and the expected popularity of this new model, VW is seeking to expand its SUV lineup. It’s planning a smaller model to sit below the Tiguan, thought to be called the T-Cross or Taigun. Want to see the paint options? Check out our Volkswagen Tiguan colours guide or read our Volkswagen Tiguan sizes and dimensions guide to find out if it’s the right size for you.

If you’d prefer a more practical seven-seat SUV, Volkswagen has been spotted testing a extended Tiguan with an all-important third row of seats – check it out by reading our dedicated VW Tiguan XL price, specs and release date article. If sporty SUVs are more your thing, take a look at the upcoming VW Tiguan R undergoing testing.

You only have to look at the latest Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai to know how important interior quality is to buyers, and the new Tiguan will hope to reassert itself at the top of the tree in this respect.

That shouldn’t be a problem because the Tiguan’s inners seem to have been lifted from the excellent Passat. Plastic quality is better than in mainstream rivals and good enough to take on prestige challengers such as the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. There are still some low-grade plastics to be found, but they tend to be hidden low in areas of the interior you’ll rarely touch.

Wield your cheque book and it’s easy to add a high-tech twist by going for VW’s superb 12.3-inch Active Info display – its party piece is an ability to transform into a huge and beautifully detailed sat-nav screen. It’s a system that was pioneered in the Audi TT, but an option that’s currently absent from the Tiguan-rivalling Audi Q3. Also available is a more-advanced  £1,365 sat-nav system with an eight-inch centrally mounted screen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Volkswagen Tiguan passenger space

Thanks to its MQB platform, the new Tiguan’s wheelbase is 77mm longer than in the old model, allowing VW to free up more legroom for rear-seat passengers. The back seat can also slide on runners by up to 170mm to release even more rear kneeroom, or to prioritise boot space.

Volkswagen Tiguan boot space

Not that you’re likely to need more of that – with a 615 litre capacity, the new Tiguan’s load bay is bigger than you’ll get in a Nissan Qashqai (430 litres), Kia Sportage (491 litres) or Mazda CX-5 (503 litres). Compare that to the 380 litres a Golf offers and it is easy to see why the Tiguan (and its ilk) have become such family favourites. Drop the rear seats and total capacity is a healthy 1,655 litres, while the load bay is a square shape that makes it easy to use.

Testers conclude that the Tiguan drives better than the old model and has seen improvements in just about every area – it has a nicely judged ride, turns in sharply and gives the driver confidence behind the wheel. It may not have the sports-car spirit of the Mazda CX-5, but we suspect many buyers would prefer the solid feel of the Tiguan. What is also noteworthy is the impressive sound deadening in the cabin – the noise inside rarely passes normal conversation levels.

All but the basic models can be specified with the latest version of VW’s Haldex 4×4 system. It can send up to 100 per cent of power to the rear axle if needed and can be preset for specific driving conditions via a dial located on the centre console. Four-wheel drive models have their suspension raised by 11mm to aid off-roading and you can specify a £350 off-road pack that changes the bumpers to allow steeper approach and departure angles for climbing or descending steep hills.

VW knows the UK market well, and it’s playing it safe with a fairly limited engine choice – there is a smooth petrol, a cheap-to-run two-wheel drive diesel, and an all-rounder with four-wheel drive and an excellent DSG automatic gearbox, also diesel-powered.

Volkswagen Tiguan petrol engines

The only petrol engine available from launch is a 180hp version of VW’s 2.0-litre turbocharged unit. It’s quiet and refined and with 0-62mph taking 7.7 seconds it’s not only the fastest in the range, but also almost two seconds quicker to complete the benchmark sprint time than a 177hp Kia Sportage. Running costs are decent with a quoted fuel economy figure of 38mpg and £210 for annual road tax.

There is little information whether we’ll get a sporty version like the Golf GTI to match the Tiguan R-Line’s muscular looks. What’s more likely is a hybrid utilising a 1.4-litre engine in conjunction with an electric motor as seen in VW’s other GTE models.

Volkswagen Tiguan diesel engines

The well-received 148hp 2.0-litre diesel is a great match for the Tiguan. It’s responsive across the rev-range and rarely sounds gruff. The quoted fuel economy figure of 59mpg for the two-wheel-drive version is very good and 50mpg should be achievable in the real world. Opt for 4Motion four-wheel-drive and the DSG automatic and fuel economy drops by about 10mpg, but ease of use and off-road ability are increased immensely. Road tax is the same £145 for all diesel variants.

A safety aid that will soon be a standard requirement in all new cars is autonomous city braking and all Tiguans get it as standard. Lane-keep assist is another standard feature that gently guides the car on the motorway so you don’t constantly have to make small steering corrections.

All bar entry-level S models, can be fitted with £275 adaptive cruise control and a £385 blind-spot warning system, while the Trailer Assist makes parking easy. It’s an £800 option on mid-range models and includes a rear view camera as well.

Out of five trim levels to choose from there really are three types of Tiguan you can have – the basic S model, well-equipped SE derivatives or the trendy/premium looking R-line.

Volkswagen Tiguan S

Despite being the cheapest model, the Tiguan S comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, roof-rails and a chrome grille on the outside, while on the inside, there’s an infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen that has Bluetooth phone connectivity and can display text messages. Further convenience features include air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.

Volkswagen Tiguan SE

The SE and SE Nav trim levels aim to bring the Tiguan up to speed with rivals in terms of technology. As standard you get VW’s “App-connect”, which combines Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink in order to display your smartphone’s screen on the car’s infotainment screen. Rear tinted glass and climate control with three separate temperature zones ensure passengers travel in comfort, while there are some practical extras thrown in as well such as folding picnic tables for the rear seats and under-seat storage in the front.

Volkswagen Tiguan SEL

The SEL trim makes the Tiguan as luxurious as possible without changing the restrained exterior styling – changes on the outside are limited to 19-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights. The interior is a great place to spend time thanks to ambient interior lighting and massaging front seats. The standard panoramic roof fills the cabin with light and the all-round parking sensors are really helpful in town. There is also the option to specify a £815 all-round camera-view similar to that found in Range Rovers.

Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

Yes, the R-Line trim bumps up the price of the Tiguan by quite a bit, but to our eyes it makes the VW look so upmarket it could easily be mistaken for a more expensive Audi or Volvo. New bumpers along with 20-inch alloys make it look muscular, while inside the digital Active Info Display is a renamed version of Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit.

Conclusion

Considering the old Tiguan’s sales were growing with each year it was on sale, arguably it didn’t really need replaced. Nevertheless, after the initial wave of reviews, it seems the new Tiguan improves on it in all the right areas – the interior in particular seems to have made decent gains in terms of quality and space. The driving dynamics are way above average, if not class best, while the engines have already proven their worth in other VW models. It seems like just as the competition was about to catch up with the Tiguan, VW has gone and raised the bar again.

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