Nestling in the hotly contested crossover segment of the market, the latest Volkswagen Tiguan trades on its sheer competence and strong brand image rather than eliciting excitement from potential customers. Boxy, practical and available in a range of trims and engines, VW has always played it safe when taking on rivals such as the Renault Kadjar, Mazda CX-5 and BMW X1.
This twin-turbo 240hp 2.0-litre diesel R-Line model came as a bit of a surprise then when announced earlier this year, the engine in particular promising a rather different side to the safe, sensible Tiguan. With a projected price of around £38,000 it’s certainly not on the cheap side, so is it worth extra outlay when compared to the more popular 150hp and 190hp 2.0-litre diesel motors? We find out in an early test:
What do you get with the R-Line spec?
Sitting atop of the lesser four trims – S, SE, SE Navigation and SE L – the R-Line spec adds sporty styling touches such as a body-coloured rear roof spoiler, Piano Black front air intake and rear diffuser, stainless steel pedals and sporty R-Line front and rear bumpers.
Sports suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels are also thrown in for the near £2,000 premium over the equivilent SE L spec car.
Equipment carried up from lower down the range includes:
- Electronic parking brake
- Lane assist
- Car-Net “App-Connect” featuring Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink
- Adaptive cruise control with speed limiter
- Electrically heated and foldable door mirrors
- Panoramic sunroof
- LED headlights with Dynamic-light assist
- Digital dashboard
- Three-zone climate control
- Seven-speed DSG gearbox
Our test car also came fitted with the Dynaudio sound system (£550), electric tailgate (£350) and a head-up display (£495) that projects useful driving information onto the windscreen such as sat-nav instructions. We’d definitely go for the electric tailgate, especially if you’ve often got your hands full with kids and shopping.
The Dynaudio sound system is also impressive and comes in at a relatively reasonable cost when compared with other branded sound systems. The head-up display is a little unnecessary on a car like this, but a novelty all the same – spec it only if money is no object.
New safety kit debuts on combustion-powered Volkswagens
Also available on the twin-turbo Tiguan is the brand’s Security and Service System technology which is making its debut on combustion-powered Volkswagens. Previously available on electric and hybrid models only, it is soon to be rolled out across the Volkswagen range.
Should the driver be involved in an accident, the on-board systems will detect an impact and call the relevant emergency services, sending them to the precise location without any input from the vehicle’s occupants.
Other features of the Security and Service technology include maintenance scheduling, where the car alerts the local dealer if a service is needed, parked position alerts (sends the vehicle’s last known position to the driver’s mobile phone) and area notification, whereby a location that the vehicle is not permitted to enter or exit can be designated remotely.
Errant additional drivers can also be kept an eye on using the speed notification function, allowing the primary user to receive notifications should the vehicle exceed a pre-set speed.
Does the Tiguan need the most powerful engine in the range?
Boasting 240hp and 500Nm of torque, the twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel-engined Tiguan is noticeably quicker than its lesser-powered siblings. 0-62mph is dispatched in 6.5 seconds, while the high levels of torque mean motorway cruising is a doddle.
The standard-fit seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox complements the power well, although full-throttle gearchanges at low speeds can cause noticeable judders through the transmission.
Potential buyers of the 240hp Tiguan should also take into account the significant increase in fuel consumption and vehicle road tax. The 150hp 2.0-litre diesel Tiguan returns 49.6mpg on the combined economy cycle, slotting into road tax band F and attracting the associated £152.25 annual levy.
The 240hp twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel Tiguan however, manages only 44.1mpg while its 167g/km CO2 rating attracts a £210 annual road tax charge. For company car drivers this means a 4 percent bump in BIK rating for the more powerful engine, upping benefit-in-kind to 33 percent. Exact pricing for the twin-turbo Tiguan hasn’t been released, but expect monthly company car tax to be around the £209 mark.*
Should I buy one?
Powerful as it may be, the twin-turbo 240hp engine feels unnecessary in the Tiguan, with the lesser 190hp engine providing ample power for less money. However, if you’ve got your heart set on the twin-turbo model, make sure you choose the spec carefully. Available in SE L and R-Line trim, the 240hp R-Line Tiguan comes standard with stiffer sports suspension and larger 20-inch alloy wheels in the latter specification.
Such additions make the Tiguan’s ride uncomfortably firm, a problem made worse by the lack of a Dynamic Chassis Control (allowing the driver to select either sport, comfort or normal suspension settings) option with the R-Line spec.
Drop down to the SE L trim however, and, bar the sporty styling attachments, equipment levels are largely the same. Add in the availability of Dynamic Chassis Control and the standard fitment of more comfortable 19-inch alloys and the SE L is certainly the smarter choice – especially as prices start at £2,000 less than the R-Line spec.
Rating: 3.0 stars
*Based on the 20 percent annual income tax rate and assuming no optional extras at 2016/17 tax rates