Sets the standard for mid-sized SUVs – but at a price
- Excellent interior space
- Easy to drive and manoeuvre
- Sensible, practical touches
- Quality interior
- Lots of engine options
- Expensive compared with rivals
- Not a true all-terrain car
- Plain exterior styling
- Strong rivals better value
Mature, classy looks, a high-quality, roomy interior and efficient engines are just some of the key elements that make the second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan SUV not only one of the most popular cars in the VW line-up, but also one of the most popular SUVs on sale full stop.
Capitalising on its predecessor’s positive image and strong sales record – more customers bought Tiguans in 2015 (its last year on sale) than in any previous year – the Tiguan is a major player in the very popular, and growing, mid-sized SUV market.
There’s an ever-expanding array of talent the Tiguan’s up against. Not only must it tackle mainstream rivals such as the Ford Kuga, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Renault Kadjar and the omnipresent Nissan Qashqai, its near-premium positioning allows it to square up to the BMW X1 and smaller Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Tough-looking SUV focuses on comfort
It’s no surprise to learn that the Volkswagen Tiguan’s underpinned by its parent company’s modular architecture, a version of which is also employed by the similar SEAT Ateca and Skoda Karoq, but also the larger Kodiaq seven-seater.
If you want a Tiguan with space for seven, there’s the Tiguan Allspace, which is virtually a Kodiaq, but in a VW body.
Consequently it feels surefooted and agile but not especially sporty – in many respects it feels reassuringly like a Volkswagen Golf to drive, albeit with an elevated driving position.
The Tiguan’s blessed with a pleasingly rugged SUV appearance, with taut, perpendicular styling. It’s peppered with interesting details, like the light-catching indentations on the grille bars and the pronounced chamfering along the body, which wraps around to help frame the tail lights.
Not only is the cabin spacious thanks to the Tiguan’s increased overall length and wheelbase compared with its predecessor, up 60mm and 77mm, respectively, there’s an accompanying uplift in quality, too.
Some of the plastics lower down the dashboard lack the same soft-touch nature of those on the upper plane, but it all feels well assembled and the switchgear operates with a satisfyingly well-damped action.
Wide range of familiar petrol and diesel engines
There’s a broad selection of engines available in the Tiguan, most of which you’ll find in use in other VW Group products.
On the petrol front, engines range in size from 1.4 to 2.0 litres in size, offering between 125 and 180hp. Front-and all-wheel drive versions are available on some engines, as is the choice between manual and DSG automatic gearboxes.
Those who prefer diesel power are served by 2.0-litre TDI units, ranging between 110 and 240hp, again with front- and all-wheel drive on certain models and manual or DSG gearboxes. Not all engine and gearbox combinations are available in all trim levels, though.
The latest Tiguan’s noticeably more agile but doesn’t feel sporty to drive – comfort’s its primary goal, especially when fitted with adaptive suspension. Its steering errs towards lightness and the relaxed nature of the DSG transmissions suits the VW better, too.
Off-road it’s pleasingly capable: there’s 200mm of ground clearance on 4Motion Tiguans – 10mm more than front-wheel drive models – and the short front and rear overhangs allow it to deal with severe inclines with ease.
Wealth of technology available
As you’d expect with a contemporary crossover, the latest Volkswagen Tiguan’s bristling with standard and optional technology.
There’s a raft of electronic safety equipment including adaptive cruise control, emergency city braking and LED lights front and rear.
You can also upscale the standard S, SE, SE Navigation, SEL and R-Line trims’ equipment rosters with a plethora of options including a panoramic glass roof, an adaptive digital instrument display and a high-quality Dynaudio stereo system.
Volkswagen’s also further honed its Active Control system allowing you to tailor your on-road driving for comfort or firmness (Sport) depending on your personal tastes, as well as Snow and Off-Road modes when conditions are more challenging.
The Parkers Verdict
With such a huge amount of competition from all angles, the VW Tiguan asserts itself with a mature driving experience, a high-quality, practical interior and plenty of badge appeal.
It’s not the most exciting car to look at, sit in or drive, but it’s such a well-rounded family SUV that it has to be on your shopping list if it doesn’t go out of your budget. It’s more expensive than many similar-sized rivals, but it should be a trouble-free car to own that deals with family life very well indeed.
Read on to find out how we rate this excellent SUV both on-road and off with Parkers’ full Volkswagen Tiguan review.
What owners say about this car
This is my fifth Volkswagen vehicle and I must say I am more than impressed with it. I am so... Read owner review
Auto-hold function often has a mind of its own, will have to return to dealer. Otherwise a real premium feel... Read owner review
I like this car it’s very convenient entering and exiting. The driving view is excellent. I upgraded to winter pack... Read owner review