Volkswagen Tiguan review

Our Rating: 
2008 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The VW Tiguan is a popular alternative to the Skoda Yeti, with smart styling and a wide range of engines

Powerful and refined engines, comfortable ride, classy interior
Rivals are better equipped, bland styling, limited off-road ability

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It’s easy to understand why the Volkswagen Tiguan is a favourite among UK car buyers as it combines the usability of the Golf with desirable SUV features.

While it may be getting a bit long in the tooth, the Tiguan is still a top choice in the crowded SUV crossover market thanks to a wide model range, frugal engines and a decent ride.

In the UK, there are four Tiguans to choose from: entry-level S, well-equipped Match, off-road Escape and racy R-Line. Both S and Match come in a choice of two- or four-wheel drive while Escape and R-Line can only be ordered with  all-wheel-drive.

On the engine front there’s a wide selection of petrol and diesel variants – the latter types providing the best mix of performance and running costs.

Key rivals include the Kia SportageHyundai ix35, Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai and thanks to Volkswagen’s premium aspirations, you could consider the Range Rover Evoque a competitor as well.

Our choice: Tiguan 2.0 TDI 140 Match 2WD BlueMotion

Engines, performance and drive


The Volkswagen Tiguan comes in four-wheel and front-wheel drive versions, both being comfortable and enjoyable to drive. Thanks to great adjustability in the driver's seat and steering wheel, visibility is great and it's easy to find the ideal driving position.

In terms of engines, the diesels make the most sense as they're more refined and offer the best mix of economy and performance.

The highlight of the engine range includes the 2.0-litre TDI Match with BlueMotion technology - this manages 53.3mpg making it the most efficient in the range, too.

There's also a high-powered 2.0-litre TSI - with 4MOTION four-wheel-drive system this can reach 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds which is borderline hot hatch pace.

The Volkswagen Tiguan feels more comfortable on-road than off, but Escape versions do come with a higher front bumper and hill descent control for maximum traction over challenging terrain.

MPG, CO2 and running costs


We'd definitely opt for the 2.0-litre TDI Diesel BlueMotion model - this produces 109bhp, returns 53.3mpg and emits just 139g/km of CO2, meaning road tax payments will be minimal. Meanwhile, the BlueMotion Tech pack adds stop-start and regenerative braking.

As you'd probably expect, if you opt for four-wheel drive or an automatic gearbox you'll see a significant impact on running costs. The 2.0-litre TSI 4Motion petrol in particular manages just 33.2mpg and emits CO2 emissions of 199g/km of CO2.

Rivals such as the Skoda Yeti and Mazda CX-5 definitely offer more in terms of efficiency and economy. But Volkswagen does provide a range of fixed-price servicing deals and all Tiguans come with a three-year, 60,000 -mile warranty.

Interior, design and technology


The Volkswagen Tiguan may not stand out as much as premium rivals like the Range Rover Evoque or Porsche Macan, but a 2011 facelift did at least bring it inline with the latest VW look. It introduced a sleeker front bumper, a more intricate headlight design with daytime running lights and LED taillights.

The Volkswagen Tiguan comes in four main specifications, including the entry-level S model, Match, Escape and top-of-the-range R-Line versions.

Volkswagen Tiguan S models are a bit sparse, so we'd opt for Match versions, which get a colour touchscreen sat-nav, climate control and front and rear parking sensors as standard.

Escape models come with underbody protection for those wanting to make the most of the off-roading experience. Range-topping R-Line cars get bi-xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, sportier front and rear bumpers plus two-tone sport seats.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


Despite its compact dimensions, the Volkswagen Tiguan is a very spacious car. There's 470 litres of boot space on offer - that's better than the Nissan Qashqai's and the Skoda Yeti's.

If that isn't enough, the rear seats slide and recline, allowing more space for extra luggage or legroom as required. You can even fold the rear seats flat, creating a total load area of 1,510 litres. A high loading lip does let it down a little, though.

Inside, there's plenty of room for five adults to sit in comfort, with generous headroom and legroom throughout. Escape versions even come with underbody protection and a different front end - so you don't need to worry if you fancy taking it off-road.

Reliability and Safety


The Volkswagen Tiguan finished 57th in our 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. Volkswagen, on the other hand, finished 16th out of 32 in our annual manufacturer ratings survey.

All parts are tried and tested, and the Volkswagen Tiguan even shares components with the reliable Volkswagen Golf.

On top of this, the Volkswagen Tiguan received the full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, with a score of 87 per cent for adult occupant protection and 71 per cent in the safety assist category.

The Volkswagen Tiguan comes with traction control, electronic brake assist and six airbags as standard.

Last updated: 21 Oct, 2014