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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

There’s a range of petrol and diesel engines providing Volkswagen Tiguan performance.

Petrol engines

A 1.4-litre kicks off the line-up but usually an engine this small would be unsuitable for a car this size. However the 1.4-litre TSI is a very different engine as it uses twin-chargers - meaning it produces an impressive 148bhp. It's smooth and quiet but can feel a little sluggish on the move and needs to be worked quite hard in order to get meaningful performance as it lacks in-gear punch. In the 1.4 TSI version, CO2 emissions drop to 156g/km while economy increases from 35mpg to 42mpg with the front-wheel drive version.

A 2.0 TSI engine is available which has 168bhp and a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds (1.1 seconds faster than the 1.4 TSI) but the most powerful model is the 2.0 TSI with 197bhp - the same engine that's used in the 2005 Golf GTI. It's only available in Sport or R Line trim and propels the Tiguan from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds while economy is 32mpg.

Diesel engines

The diesels make more sense and account for nine of every 10 models sold. The 2.0 TDI is available in two outputs of either 138bhp or 168bhp, it has more pulling power than either petrol and as a result even the lower power version feels brisker on the move. The 168bhp is very swift and will cover the 0-62mph benchmark in just 8.9 seconds while returning an almost identical 40mpg to the 138bhp version - making it our pick of the range. Whichever power version you choose, the TDI makes a comfortable motorway cruiser, but also has the pace to make light work of B-roads.

Facelift in 2009

In May 2009 two-wheel drive versions of the 1.4 TSI and 2.0 TDI 140 engines were added, while November 2009 saw Bluemotion Technology models introduced. These low-emissions variants use the same two engines (and only as two-wheel drive). The 2.0 TDI is even more impressive with economy of 53mpg, up from 44mpg.

All Tiguan models have a six-speed manual gearbox with the option of a Tiptronic automatic on the larger petrols and 138bhp diesel.

Parkers recommends

The 1.4 TSI engine is an interesting choice, but we’ll stick with the 138bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel for its broad spread of talents.

The Tiguan is designed primarily for driving around town and on the motorway – and this is reflected in its strengths. It’s easy to drive, comfortable and agile enough for quick lane changes. Top models can even park themselves (either parallel or into a car park space) at the push of a button. All the driver needs to do is line the car up and control the brakes and accelerator – the steering is done automatically.

The Tiguan is capable out of town, too. It corners well and doesn’t particularly suffer from bodyroll, despite its tall shape while on the motorway it cruises comfortably. However it's not suitable if you’re a serious off-road enthusiast, although the Escape model - with shorter overhangs and off-road settings (including hill descent control), is more capable. Unlike serious off roaders, there's no low-ratio gearbox available, however four-wheel drive models come with 4Motion - this system senses when a wheel starts to slip and increases power to the other wheels to maintain traction. It means that the Tiguan can tackle muddy lanes with ease.