VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI 2WD

20 Oct, 2011 5:12pm Paul Bond

New front-wheel-drive model cleans up SUV’s act - but can it match the 4x4's all round appeal?

Verdict

3
The greenest Tiguan isn’t the best, but it’s still one of the most likeable crossovers around. This front-wheel-drive version arguably makes the most sense for owners keen to cut costs. But without the versatility of four-wheel drive, it’s difficult to justify the high-riding VW over conventional hatchbacks such as the Golf, which offers a sharper driving experience and much more equipment for the same price.

This new two-wheel-drive Volkswagen Tiguan is the greenest and cheapest diesel version yet. So if you don’t need all-wheel drive, is it the pick of the range?

The BlueMotion badge on the bootlid hints at the fuel-saving kit under the skin, including VW’s super-smooth stop-start system and regenerative brakes. There’s also a detuned version of the familiar 2.0-litre diesel engine, producing 109bhp.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the VW Tiguan


All of which means this is the most efficient Tiguan on sale – it returns 53.3mpg and emits 139g/km of CO2. On the surface, those figures look great, but they still trail the Skoda Yeti Greenline, which manages 61.4mpg and 119g/km respectively.

Performance is adequate, but the car can feel unresponsive at low revs. For an extra £550, you can get your hands on a 138bhp version that’s just as economical and nearly two seconds faster from 0-62mph. Refinement impresses, though, and the supple ride and spacious cabin set the crossover apart from its rivals.

The 470-litre boot can be adjusted by sliding the rear seat bench back or forth, plus it folds flat easily, freeing up extra luggage space. And with the seat in place, there’s certainly enough room for five adults to travel in comfort. Doing without four-wheel drive won’t be a problem on normal roads, but this Tiguan might leave you red-faced if there’s more snow this winter.
 
High ground clearance, a set of chunky tyres and hard-wearing plastic cladding around the sills and arches mean it’s still capable of crossing soggy fields and navigating country lanes. But as there are no locking differentials or low-range gearbox, it’s best to stick to the road.

And that’s where the Tiguan scores, as it’s still one of the most satisfying small SUVs to drive. The precise handling and high driving position impress, even if it can’t match the fun factor of cheaper rivals suchas the Ford Kuga.

You don’t get much equipment for your money, especially in the basic S trim of our test model. So while this Tiguan is a decent all-rounder, there are better choices in the line-up. The more powerful 4x4 diesel is a more capable car.

Key specs

* Price: £21,730
* Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
* Power/torque: 109bhp/280Nm
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
* Top speed: 109mph
* Economy/CO2: 53.3mpg/139g/km
* Equipment: 16-inch alloy wheels, air-con, electric windows, ESP, stop-start, low-rolling-resistance tyres, 60:40-split folding seats, MP3
* On sale: Now

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