The Volkswagen Tiguan is easy to drive and has a range of strong and fairly economical engines – but top-spec R-Line models aren’t as comfortable over bumps as the rest of the Tiguan range
You can get the Volkswagen Tiguan with a range of petrol and diesel engines and with either a manual or automatic gearbox. You can also get diesel versions with four-wheel drive instead of the standard front-wheel-drive setup.
The best all-rounder is the 1.4-litre petrol model with 150hp. It’s smoother and more frugal than the diesel models around town and fast enough to keep up with fast-moving motorway traffic – unlike the cheaper 125hp model.
VW claims it’ll return 49mpg but you can expect to see more like 44mpg in real-world conditions – that’s about the same as the Peugeot 3008 can manage with an equivalent petrol engine.
A 1.4-litre petrol engine may seem a bit small for the big Tiguan – but the 150hp version has enough oomph, especially if you’re mainly driving in town
Sadly, you can’t get this engine with four-wheel drive but the Volkswagen Tiguan still has more than enough grip to deal with a slippery country lane. A four-wheel-drive diesel model will be a better bet if you regularly find yourself towing trailers across muddy fields, but for serious off-road work a Land Rover Discovery Sport will be much more suitable.
If you do lots of motorway miles you’ll want to consider one of the 2.0-litre diesel models. The 150hp 2.0-litre version isn’t quite as fast as the 1.4-litre petrol but it returns around 55mpg in real-world conditions. You can also get more powerful 180hp and 190hp versions of the same engine that’ll be ideal if you plan to tow heavy trailers.
You can get both diesel versions with two- or four-wheel drive and with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. Unfortunately, the manual doesn’t feel particularly smooth and the optional automatic requires a very gentle touch on the accelerator to avoid lurching at slow speeds. It’s still well worth paying extra for, however – It changes gear very smoothly once you’re up to speed and really helps give your left leg a rest on long journeys.
The Tiguan’s quite a bit larger than a conventional family car but it’s still very easy to drive. Its reasonably high driving position might not lift you above traffic quite as much as a Honda CR-V or Peugeot 3008 but you still get an excellent view out through its large windows. Even the pillars between the doors and the windscreens don’t produce any awkward blind spots.
The large rear windscreen helps make it relatively easy to park and all models in SE trim and above come with front and rear parking sensors as standard. You can even get a 360-degree camera that’ll display a bird’s-eye view of the car’s surroundings on the central display and a system that’ll steer you into bay and parallel spaces for between £825 and £1,205 – depending on model.
The Volkswagen Tiguan does a fairly good job ironing out potholes around town – providing you avoid the sportier R Line models with their larger 20-inch alloy wheels. If you can’t live without the R Line’s upmarket looks and big wheels you can get special adaptive dampers that let you switch between sporty and more comfortable suspension setups at the flick of a switch.
Even without this £810 option, the Volkswagen Tiguan makes light work of twisty country roads. It might not feel quite as sporty as a Mazda CX-5, but its body doesn’t lean much in tight corners so kids in the back seats won’t start to feel car sick. Thankfully, you won’t hear much annoying wind and tyre noise in the VW, even at motorway speeds, so long journeys won’t leave you feeling particularly tired.
The VW Tiguan was awarded an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2016 making it one of the safest family SUVs on sale. The automatic emergency braking feature you get as standard across the range helped it earn this impressive result. This system helps stop the car as quickly as possible if it detects a vehicle or pedestrian in the road ahead.
For even greater peace of mind, you’ll want to pick the optional Emergency Assist feature. This £400 option will bring the car to a safe, controlled stop and put on the hazard warning lights if it senses you’ve fallen asleep at the wheel.