Volkswagen Tiguan: A question of character

  • The Tiguan's qualities continue to impress 
  • Smooth-riding and quiet on the motorway
  • In short, it’s got everything but personality

A weekend with the Tiguan was a reminder of just what a calm and collected customer it is.

Its first task was an early morning trek to the excellent Blyton Park circuit in Lincolnshire where I was doing a spot of extracurricular work for a driving experience company.

As a car to climb into, bleary-eyed from an early alarm call, and drive a long distance without fuss, the Tiguan is perfect. If you just want to get somewhere without drama and in comfort, it does the trick nicely.

The sat-nav, like several other systems I’ve tried, couldn’t quite manage to find the track’s handy location in the middle of nowhere, but it got pretty close and the Tiguan’s pliant suspension and squidgy tyres did an impressive job of ironing out the patchwork quilt of potholes on the access road to the track.

That uber-comfortable ride is one of the Tiguan’s strengths, as are its car-like handling characteristics. Underneath that large body it’s partly based on an older version of the VW Golf, and although naturally you’ll feel a bit of extra body roll and reluctance to change direction compared with the hatch, it’s a far better performer on the road than most 4x4s.

It’s particularly good on the motorway, cruising very quietly and always with the feeling that there’s more power in reserve if needs be.

The main fly in the ointment from a personal point of view is that the Tiguan, although very able, is just a bit, well… boring.

Inside, the cabin is comfortable, well-finished and logically laid out with everything just where you need it, but it’s a relentlessly sombre place to be. The optional panoramic glass sunroof brightens things up a little, but the characterless design and black ‘n’ dark grey colour scheme means it’s not terribly inspiring.

It’s a similar story on the outside: the Tiguan is a neat and inoffensive but rather bland looking car. Or so I thought; one man’s meat being another man’s poison and all that, it drew plenty of praise and positive comments from friends and colleagues at home and at the track. Maybe it’s a more interesting car than I’ve given it credit for.

Overall we’re still finding it hard to find serious fault with the Tiguan – it’s a strong all-rounder. If nit-picking, I’d suggest the boot perhaps isn’t quite as accommodating as you might expect from a relatively large car and would benefit from some hooks to help restrain shopping bags and the like.

The most annoying detail I’ve found is quite a small one: to open the large tailgate you have to put your fingers into a hollow which is invariably filled with rainwater and grime, leaving you with mucky fingertips. It’s a surprising detail on a car that is otherwise sensible to the point of being just a little bit colourless.

If Volkswagen can inject a bit more personality into the next-generation Tiguan, it’ll be tough act to beat.

Volkswagen Tiguan

The Tiguan meets some more exciting machinery at Blyton Park

VW Tiguan interior

Tiguan's cabin is high-quality but has a rather sobre atmosphere

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Total mileage: 9,815 miles

Average mpg: 34.5mpg