Volkswagen Tiguan review

Car reviews
Volkswagen Tiguan review (The Car Expert)

What is it? Second-generation version of VW’s core SUV.
Key features: New architecture, sleeker design, more space and tech.
Our View: The new Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the more pricey mainstream SUV options, but that is unlikely to be an impediment to UK sales.
Type of review: First UK drive


When Volkswagen entered what was the SUV and soon to become the crossover market in 2008, its new Tiguan was effectively a toe in the water of a sector that was only starting to show promise, led by the Nissan Qashqai.

Now the all-new second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan arrives on the back of great success – its predecessor has sold 2.8 million globally, 100,000-plus in the UK, and it’s now Volkswagen UK’s third best-selling model after the Golf and Polo.

The market it competes in has grown too – it’s now the fastest growing segment in the industry, and as a result there are a lot more high-quality rivals to the Tiguan. Today few manufacturers can afford not to have a C-segment crossover in their line-up.

So the new Tiguan is not only a more mature vehicle than its predecessor, it’s also the standard bearer for a line of SUV/crossovers coming from Volkswagen to contend in every part of the potential market.

In many ways, however, this Tiguan is an evolution of the Mk1 version, and avoids dumbing down into the pure road-pitched crossover market, all looks and little action. Yes it is available in 2WD form, but it also can be specified to suit those who regularly leave the tarmac, with both the styling and the mechanics to cope.

The new Tiguan is yet another vehicle, but the first SUV, based around the VW Group’s highly flexibile modular MQB platform. Combined with VW’s latest design language, the result is a 60mm longer, 33mm lower and 30mm wider vehicle, with a 77mm stretch of the wheelbase freeing up more interior space.

Its shell is more slippery, aiding fuel economy. Visually there is nothing radical in this redesign, it won’t turn heads, but it does look highly competent, convincingly planted on the road.

According to Volkswagen, the Tiguan boasts one of the most spacious interiors in its class. Remarkably the seats are placed 8mm higher than in the previous model, with that lower roof, yet there is improved headroom.

An extra 29mm knee room in the rear enables three proper-sized passengers to be carried in comfort – particularly if one slides the bench seat back by up to 180mm. Slide said bench forward and boot space is 615 litres, 145 litres more than the old model. Fold the seats down and that space grows to 1655 litres.

Up front the driver’s environment is well appointed but also rather familiar – especially if one has driven a Golf recently. Perhaps the highlight is the opportunity to specify a digital instrument display, technology trickling down from Audi but in VW parlance known as the Active Info Display. A head-up display is also on the options list.

Three petrol and three diesel engines are on offer at launch, with a further range-topping 236bhp diesel to join the line-up shortly. All are familiar parts of the VW range and all EU6 emissions compliant.

The current petrol options are a 1.4-litre unit in 123 and 148bhp power outputs and matched to a two-wheel-drive transmission, and a 177bhp unit only offered with 4Motion all-wheel-drive.

Diesel buyers can choose three versions of VW’s familiar 2-litre unit, with 113, 148 or 187bhp. The entry-level unit comes only with 2WD, the 187 only with 4Motion.

The Car Expert tried out the 148bhp diesel in both 2WD and 4WD versions. This is expected to be the best seller in a sales mix that will be 90 per cent diesel, and perhaps reflecting the Tiguan’s more traditional market, the 4WD is predicted to sell more than its 2WD sibling.

It’s of little surprise that this format has its fans – the combination accelerates crisply, if not as rapidly as some rivals, and really scores on its flexibility and overall refinement, whether the front or all four wheels are delivering the traction. The only downside is a slightly intrusive low-rev audio note, but this soon smooths out as speed rises.

Ride comfort of the Tiguan is exemplary, particularly for an SUV, soaking up bumps with aplomb. It’s not a car that one feels can be hustled through corners at too much pace, but equally it remains upright and poised at all times – a relaxing ride.

Tiguans are available in five trim levels, from entry-level S to range-topping R-Line, and the equipment on offer includes a wide-ranging safety package extended in options thanks to use of the MQB platform. Aids such as Front Assist with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring and Lane Assist are all offered from S models upwards, as is for the first time an active bonnet, springing up by 50mm in a collision to ease potential injuries to pedestrians or cyclists thrown onto it.

While the entry-level S also includes such niceties as a DAB radio and Bluetooth, an extra £2,750 buys the second-level SE and adds among the extras climate and cruise control. Navigation is a further £720, while a big step up of almost £1600 is necessary to SEL before the Active Info display comes as standard amongst the equipment.

The cheapest Tiguan is the 2WD 1.4 petrol model at £22,510. Diesels start from £24,110, an AWD diesel from £27,020, while the first SEL with that desirable dash is the 2WD 2.0 148bhp at £29,610.

All of which makes the Tiguan one of the more pricey mainstream SUV options. It’s not over-expensive when one considers the quality of its fit and finish, but certainly at the upper end of its market. That said, the Mk2 is a major evolution and should keep the Tiguan contributing significantly to Volkswagen’s UK sales.

Volkswagen Tiguan – key specifications

Models tested: Volkswagen Tiguan SE Navigation 2.0 TDI SCR 2WD, SEL 2.0 TDI SCR 4Motion
On sale: June 2016
Range price:
£22,510-£36,375    Insurance groups: 13E-24E
Engines: 1.4-litre petrol x2, 2.0-litre petrol, 2.0-litre diesel x3.
Power (bhp) / Torque (lb/ft): 123/148, 148/184; 177/236. 113/184, 148/251, 187/295.
0-62mph (sec) / Top speed (mph): 10.5/118, 9.2/125; 7.7/129*. 10.9/115, 9.3/127 (4WD 9.3/125), TBA/TBA.
Fuel economy (comb mpg) / CO2 (g/km): 46.3/139, 48.7/132; 38.2/170*. 60.1/123, 57.6/129 (4WD 52.3/141), 49.6/149.
Key rivals: Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5, Renault Kadjar
Test Date: June 2016
Figures with manual gearbox unless marked*

Andrew Charman

Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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