Volkswagen Tiguan: Competitor comparison

  • Which is best in treacherous winter conditions?
  • Volkswagen's Tiguan is more car-like to drive
  • Land Rover's Freelander is impressive in snow

Over January we have seen a lot of snow and ice, and during that time the VW Tiguan has proved it is more than up to the job in the slippery conditions.

Road test editor Simon McBride borrowed the Tiguan over the winter period while I commandeered the Ford Focus ST Estate and although the ST was a lot of fun, it was a real handful on the snow.

So, I was quite looking forward to the Tiguan's return after the winter holiday and when the blizzards began I wasn't too concerned about my ability to get into work, even though my commute is a marathon 150-mile round-trip.

The Tiguan hasn't let me down yet and I have felt confident with its abilities but when a Land Rover Freelander arrived in the Parkers car park, it was time to see how the two mid-sized 4x4s compared.

First up, let's deal with the prices.

My Tiguan in SE trim costs £25,985 but with all the options costs £31,985 (see opening report here for full kit list), while the Freelander in this top-spec HSE Lux Auto will set you back £39,805 without options.

So, in that respect there's no comparison, but if you took mid-spec Freelander TD4 GS with all-wheel-drive you'll pay no more than £27,250 (without options).

That means these two are pretty comparable in mid-spec: both offer alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, CD with MP3 connectivity and electric mirrors but, interestingly, the Tiguan SE doesn't offer leather seats at standard - you'll have to pay £1,640 extra for that. Neither car offers sat nav on the standard kit list.

It's pretty equal then at this point. What about performance and fuel economy?

Well the 2.0-litre diesel in the Tiguan propels the car from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds, has a combined fuel economy of 48.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 150g/km. In that respect it trumps the 2.2-litre Freelander that emits CO2 at a rate of 185g/km, gets from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds and manages a combined fuel economy of 40.4mpg. The six-speed equivalent Freelander is fractionally slower, but emits CO2 at a rate of 165g/km.

It's still a close-run thing but what about boot capacity and interior space?

The Tiguan loses out badly here: the Freelander is much more spacious all-round and its 755-litre boot absolutely destroys the Tiguan's 470-litre load area.

Right, let's get down to business, which one's better in the snow?

It's probably no surprise that the Freelander, with its snow setting, is by far the superior vehicle in the winter. Even in the normal setting it has masses amounts of grip and you never feel like you are out of control. The Tiguan, although competent in these conditions, can slide around a little bit. It's still great, but not up to the Freelander. That said, the Tiguan is better on road, offering a more car-like drive in the corners.

It's a no-brainer then: if you want a car that'll get you to work in the winter go for the Freelander. If you want an all-rounder, however, go for the Tiguan.

What do you think of the VW Tiguan? Get your opinions published in our Owners' Reviews section here.

Total mileage: 1,895 miles

Average mpg: 39.8mpg