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What is the Volkswagen Tiguan?

The Tiguan is Volkswagen’s mid-size crossover SUV to rival the likes of the Skoda Karoq, Seat Ateca, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail. Indeed, both the Skoda and Seat are closely related to the Tiguan.

Now in its second generation, the Tiguan has matured nicely, with the current car debuting in 2016. The first Tiguan debuted in 2007 as a sharp-looking alternative to the Land Rover Freelander, offering Golf sensibilities on stilts. It proved to be a hot seller, riding the initial crossover bow wave that Volkswagen is only now fully cashing in on with cars like the smaller T-Roc and T-Cross.

At-a-glance 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan specs

  • Top-speed: 118-142mph
  • 0-62mph: 10.5-6.3 seconds
  • Fuel economy: 37-60mpg
  • Emissions: 123-175g/km
  • Boot space: 615-1,655 litres

Which versions of the Volkswagen Tiguan are available?

The five-seater Volkswagen Tiguan and seven-seater Tiguan Allspace are available with a range of diesel, petrol and hybrid powertrains, with the diesel cars offering either a manual or automatic transmission. It can be front- or all-wheel drive, depending on which engine you choose.

A wide range of trim levels, from the base-level S to the top-of-the-range R-Line Tech, means you can spend as little or as much as you want.

There isn’t a Tiguan R (as there is for the T-Roc), but you can opt for sporty-looking R-Line specification. This gives you big wheels and an aggressive bodykit, as well as a good level of equipment as standard.

Happily, there are some fruitier engines to match the looks, too. If nothing but diesel will do, you’ll happily note the 2.0 BiTDI is the most powerful engine in the range, with 240hp. The TSI petrol is available with a maximum of 230hp, which isn’t exactly shabby.

Volkswagen Tiguan styling and engineering

The Tiguan runs on the now ubiquitous MQB modular group platform that underpins so many of Volkswagen’s latest models, as well as cars from across the wider VW Group. On the outside, it looks a bit staid, especially after the sportier styling of its predecessor.

The new corporate face is present in the form of a chrome mouth and sharp LED lighting. Everything's more angular, taut and modern, but somehow more bland – and that continues in the cabin. Credit where it’s due, the interior is very high quality, practical and reasonably high-tech (if you spend the money).

How does the Volkswagen Tiguan drive?

Buy further down the engine range and expect a bit of breathlessness; buy further up and expect bigger fuel bills. There’s a healthy middle-ground where you can’t really go wrong. Lower-power 125hp 1.4 petrols have been replaced by 1.5 TSI Evo models with 130hp.

In terms of driving dynamics, it’s the usual Volkswagen Group fare: decent handling, with the trade-off being a slightly rough ride. Add to that a touch of added SUV body-roll and that unflappability can be defeated, if not to an end of driving enjoyment. The ride quality can be eased with a smaller wheel choice.

The Tiguan isn’t the last word in off-roading and, in spite of what the ads might suggest, it’s not the key to getting your newborns off to sleep.

How much does the Volkswagen Tiguan cost?

You can get into a Tiguan for a not-stratospheric £23,990. For that, though, you’ll be in a cooking S model with small alloys and the least powerful engine. Navigate your way up the range with a close eye on price, as this can quickly rise. If you’re so inclined, it’s not difficult to wave goodbye to £50,000 in exchange for a high-spec Tiguan.

Many rivals, including cars from within the Volkswagen group, can offer more for less. You could get very close to fully loading a Skoda Karoq for less than £40,000, for instance. Still, the Tiguan has strong resale values on its side.

Find out how Tiguan drivers rate their cars with our comprehensive owners’ reviews.

Volkswagen Tiguan Model History

Current generation Volkswagen Tiguan

April 2016 – Volkswagen Tiguan available to order with first deliveries expected in the summer. Trims available include S, SE, SE Nav, SEL and R-Line. At launch, a 2.0-litre TDI with 150hp is available, along with a 180hp 2.0-litre TSI, the latter of which only comes with 4Motion all-wheel drive and a DSG gearbox. The diesels have more options, with front- or all-wheel drive and a choice of six-speed manual or DSG automatic gearboxes.

July 2017 – Tiguan range expanded with new petrol engines. A 125hp 1.4-litre TSI with front-wheel drive and manual gearbox becomes available in SE and SE Nav trims, while a 150hp 1.4-litre TSI with Active Cylinder Shutdown becomes available on SE Nav, SEL and R-Line models. SE Nav models come with a choice of manual or DSG gearboxes, while SEL and R-Line models are DSG-only.

First-generation Volkswagen Tiguan (2007-2017)

Volkswagen Tiguan Mk1

The Tiguan was a hotly anticipated car on its debut in 2007, after being previewed in concept form in 2006. Save for the bright colours, weird tyres and other frippery, very little of the concept’s funky styling and interesting interior changed for the production car. It was curvy yet sporty, commodious inside but slight in its footprint, unlike its larger Touareg sibling.

If not for cabin tech and engines that dated rather quickly, the original Tiguan could almost cut it today. Everything the new car does well, the original did too, with a strong and capable range of petrol and diesel engines.