Volkswagen Tiguan: Thinking popular

  • Our 2.0-litre TDI 4Motion is most popular UK Tiguan model
  • Plenty of kit, economy, go-anywhere ability and performance
  • Only problem is this VW is something of a common sight

The tagline on the sign above my head in the office says ‘We think popular’, and it seems that in the case of our long term test cars we really do.

Of particular note is the VW Tiguan we run - a car which occupies a niche end of a market but has still sold over 45,000 examples since it was introduced to Britain in 2008. It’s now the fifth best-selling VW in the country, having just been overtaken by the up! models.

Last year, after a facelift, VW UK had its best ever year and sold 10,477 car. By far the most popular is the SE 2.0-litre TDI 140 Bluemotion Technology model with the manual gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive system. In fact this exact specification accounted for 25.6 percent of all Tiguan sales in the UK last year.

And yes, you guessed it, that’s the exact spec of OU62 XYV – our silver Tiguan long termer.

It’s easy to see why, as it walks a fine line between economy and performance, efficiency and go-anywhere ability as well as price versus equipment. Talking of which the SE comes with proper Park Assist, dual zone climate control, DAB radio, Bluetooth and iPod connection as standard.

Which save for the sat-nav (a whopping £1,710 for our upgraded example) is all you’d really need on a car like this – our lane assist (£740), panoramic glass sunroof (£935), upgraded alloy wheels (£495), leather seats with electric drivers adjustment and heated windscreen washer jets (£1,640) and metallic paint (£495) seem slightly superfluous.

In my time driving our long termer - which includes a 120-mile round-trip commute every day - I can’t stop seeing similar models. Even at the weekend, on a trip to the garden centre I couldn’t get away from similar cars, and ended up parked side by side with an almost exact twin – the other car missing out on the ‘Sierra’ 18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof and upgraded interior. In fact it was probably a more representative Tiguan than ours.

To be honest this over-familiarity does tend to breed a little bit of contempt with me – I like my cars to stand out from the crowd – but it’s testament to the Tiguan’s depth of abilities that it continues to impress me despite this.

Everytime I slip into the electrically adjustable driver’s seat I’m taken by how comfortable this car is, both at rest and moving – and I particularly like the adjustable armrest on the centre console which makes relaxing on long journeys a cinch. The supple suspension and decent, if not class leading, levels of body control help.

While it’s an expensive option, and something of a frivolity, the panoramic glass sunroof makes a difference too – lightening the otherwise dark and black interior could be rather oppressive.

The long and short of it is, our Tiguan SE is a properly nice place to be – whether it be for a long or short journey – and it’s easy to see why so many people have bought them so far. I just wish it stood out a little bit more.