I recall that it was a couple of years ago when I last drove the Volkswagen Tiguan. Obviously that was the Mk1 version, but I do remember that I was largely underwhelmed. Certainly it was well made with the usual VW attention to quality, but it didn’t excite. It was worthy and functional but lacked charisma. That has all changed now.
For me, the new incarnation of this best-selling German SUV was an instant hit when I drove it around Gloucestershire last week courtesy of VW. The tested example was powered by the latest 2.0L 148bhp four-pot turbo-diesel mated with a seven-speed DSG auto ‘box. For me, I would have preferred the extra shove of the 187bhp version of this engine that I tried in the new VW Passat AllTrack which I also drove on the same day. More on that soon.
As ever, you can’t really get to grips with a car in the space of an hour but initial impressions were excellent. The new Volkswagen Tiguan is so much better to drive. It is bigger than the previous model which now looks dowdy against the sleek new lines. A completely new product, the new Tiguan is based on VW’s latest MQB platform, which can be fiddled about with this way and that and will thus form the basis of the company’s output in future years.
I’m kind of ambivalent about this. Obviously it makes sense from Volkswagen’s point of view because it makes for the economies of scale that accountants so dearly love. That same incertitude applies to the dashboard which is pretty much identical, give or take, across the range. For me, this ‘standardisation’ takes away some of that automotive excitement from days of yore; that variety that made individual models stand out from their siblings.
I felt the love when I sat in the driving seat however. The test car came with the expensively optional Vienna Leather Sports Seats with 12-way electrical adjustment and the R-Line logo. Fabulous to behold and fab to sit in. Coupled with a panoramic sunroof the interior is lovely; roomy too.
It’s a Volkswagen so there’s tons of kit – safety and infotainment – far too much to list here. Have a gander at this and you can formulate your own version. The Discover Navigation Pro screen is an eight-incher which is clear and easy to use. It comes with many things like VW’s ‘Car-Net Guide And Inform and App Connect’ system. No time to play with that, although this high-tech stuff leaves me a bit cold anyway. I prefer to enjoy driving.
As mentioned, I’d my preference would be for the more powerful engine option but the tested motor barely intrudes on the cabin and drives smoothly. The DSG gearbox plays its part, shifting ratios at the earliest opportunity to maximise efficiency and reduce noise. Not fast but full of purpose. This will probably be the best-selling choice for the good mix of reasonable performance and fuel frugality.
You can get the Volkswagen Tiguan with 2WD if you’re not one for a touch of mud-plugging or snow driving. It’s no pure-bred off-roader but in 4Motion four-wheel drive trim (with optional adaptive suspension if you like) the Tiguan does seem to offer at least a modicum of track and trail ability. Certainly, with a choice of four driving modes it should be capable of dealing with whatever the vagaries of British weather throw at us.
The caravan community should give this car a good long look. It offers an impressive 2.5-tonne towing capacity in 4Motion guise and 1800kg for the two-driver. On the road the Tiguan feels agile and safe even if (my usual gripe) the steering is too light, although I did sense a bit of weighting. Accurate though so it didn’t spoil the overall driving pleasure. Handling is rather good for a tall one and, although not a sports car, this helps deliver an extra spoonful of fun with well sorted body control on most road surfaces.
The Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0L TDi SCR 4Motion 150PS(148bhp) 7spd DSG, to give it its full name, costs a slightly eye-watering £34,325 as tested here with a few options included. A bit pricey perhaps and there are cheaper alternatives on the market, but the quality is there so overall I reckon it is just about worth the money. In any case there are cheaper Tiguan variants but the snag is once you have seen and tried those irresistible sports seats you will fork out the additional £1475, however painful that may be.
As a creditable business car alternative the BiK is 29% at the time of writing (unless the Chancellor has a bad day in the interim). The Tiguan has a boot that’s grown by 50L and now holds a voluminous 520L. The rear seats slide forward for extra space and lowered, the space expands to a useful 1,655L.
I think Volkswagen have come up with a very polished and able car, one that buyers will be entirely happy with. I wouldn’t say no to a long-term relationship. Geoff Maxted