Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • High-quality cabin ambience a Volkswagen trait
  • Switchgear and touchscreen intuitive to use
  • Finding an ideal driving position proves easy

How is the quality and layout?

Over the past two decades, VW has honed its reputation for producing high-quality cabins and the one installed in the Volkswagen Tiguan is no exception. Not only is there a satisfying degree of squidginess from the upper dashboard plastics, but this time around the Tiguan’s treated to a unique interior, rather than one shared with the Volkswagen Golf SV.

It’s a quiet cabin with an upmarket tactility and precise, well-damped actions for the switchgear, the whole thing feeling as though it’s built to stand the test of time.

Infotainment and tech

Infotainment is a prominent feature in the Tiguan’s dashboard, and for the 2020 facelift most models get the latest 8.0-inch touchscreen system. This is one of the best on the market – the graphics are clear and classy, the interface simple to use and the screen’s beautifully responsive to touch. A larger 9.2-inch version is optional, but loses out a little on ease of use, due to the removal of shortcut keys and physical knobs.

Underneath it sits a touch-sensitive climate control panel, which is much less successful in its implementation. Here it simply feels unnecessary – a step forwards that isn’t really any better than the system it replaces.

The same can be said for the touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons standard on R-Line and R trims – they simply don’t work as well as the standard, clicky units you’ll find on lesser trim levels (pictured above), being all too easy to activate the wrong function.

Volkswagen Tiguan (2021) interior view

As with other SUVs you’re sat high in the Tiguan, with a commanding view of the road ahead. We like the relatively shallow dash, helping the Tiguan feel more like a conventional hatch, while finding a comfortable driving position is no problem – especially with the ergoComfort seat on high-end models offering 14 different kinds of adjustment.

Subtle differences for Tiguan R

The biggest change you’ll notice in the Tiguan R will be the large sports seats up front in a rather fetching blue check pattern. You also get stainless steel pedals, blue stitching and carbon-effect dash inserts, but the differences are otherwise subtle compared with the rest of the range.

We like the larger steering wheel paddles, which look and feel far more purposeful than the token-sized ones you usually get, while the drive mode selector has now moved onto the steering wheel in the form of an R button. While we like the relocation of the latter for its convenience, it might take a while to get used to if you are a creature of habit and instinctively refer back to the centre console where it usually lives.

Comfort

  • Spacious passenger compartment front and rear
  • Little exterior noise enters the cabin
  • Adaptive suspension option improves ride quality

Despite taking up a similar amount of road space as a Golf Estate, the latest Volkswagen Tiguan feels like a roomier car. Four adults will easily get comfortable in the Tiguan with enough space in the back for a 6ft passenger to sit behind a driver of the same stature and not have their knees against the back of the front seat.

Fitting three children on the back seat shouldn’t prove difficult, although Isofix points are only fitted to the outer two seats. Up front the seats are comfortable and supportive, especially the ergoComfort driver’s seat with additional adjustment including a tilt function and electrically controlled lumbar support.

Volkswagen has worked hard to make sure the Tiguan’s cabin remains quiet with little engine, road or wind noise permeating into the cabin. On this front, it is worth noting that the diesels are much louder than the petrols, especially on a cold morning.

It’s also worth noting the 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine has been a little hit-and-miss in terms of refinement within the Volkswagen group. Thankfully, it’s a little bit smoother in the Tiguan as it is in the more expensive Audi Q3, which sounds rough and feels lethargic in comparison. In the Tiguan, this engine is more willing to rev and a little more refined with fewer vibrations sent into the cabin.

Larger alloy wheels add a degree of sharpness to the otherwise fine ride quality but we’d recommend spending the extra on Dynamic Chassis Control with its excellent adaptive suspension damping. It’s not the cheapest option, but one well worth ticking.

Tiguan R remains comfortable for the family

Unlike the smaller T-Roc R, which can fidget over road surfaces, the Tiguan R remains comfortable and much more bearable to live with everyday – even with the large 21-inch wheels fitted as standard. Driving the Tiguan R in its firmest Race mode remains comfortable enough to cover long distances. There really is little compromise to worry about.

The good news continues when it comes to refinement. Even with the low profile tyres, road noise remains filtered out of the cabin. You’ll hear a little wind flutter around the windscreen but the engine remains hushed when you settle down to a cruise. The augmented engine note is quieter in Comfort mode too.

The R-specific sports seats provide plenty of side support and remain extremely comfortable. They’re great for this high-performance car even if the lack of electric adjustment might seem a little mean for a £45k car.