Volkswagen Tiguan review
Perfectly honed for family life, the Volkswagen Tiguan is well-built and practical but lacks any real sparkle
Since its introduction in 2007, the Tiguan has proved itself a solid performer rather than a scintillating showstopper, but its lack of sparkle on the road is mirrored by many of its closest crossover rivals. However, this facelifted model is good at many of the things that matter the most in its class. There’s lots of room inside for a growing family, the cabin is very well built and, although it remains a little dull inside, it’s now crammed full of the latest tech. Overall, this is an extremely well rounded package, and while some may feel it lacks a bit of personality, its success proves the Tiguan ticks a lot of boxes.
If you take the plunge, you shouldn't be disappointed with the quality and kit on offer, even if you can buy more spacious models for a similar price.
About the VW Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan SUV has been an extremely popular choice for families since the first one arrived in 2007. So popular in fact, that VW didn’t feel the need to introduce a second-generation until 2016. The current Tiguan benefited from a mid-life facelift in 2020, with the line-up being further extended this year by the arrival of a hot Tiguan R variant, and the plug-in Tiguan eHybrid PHEV.
The Tiguan is not cheap compared to rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Kuga, as VW has priced the mid-sized SUV towards the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. It’s not quite a premium offering though, and the SEAT Ateca and Peugeot 3008 put it to shame for value, despite coming close in terms of quality. While the Tiguan is similar in size to cars like the Skoda Karoq and Nissan Qashqai, its prices are similar to the larger Skoda Kodiaq.
While the facelift freshened up the Tiguan’s exterior, the changes have not made a radical difference to the way the car looks. VW watchers will notice the similarity to the larger Touareg SUV, but most observers would find it hard to put a finger on the exterior changes. It’s a different story inside though, where a range of tech improvements have given the Tiguan a leg-up. Engines, too, have been revised in the face of continually evolving competition.
The Tiguan shares its engineering and tech with the seventh-generation Golf hatchback and, as previously, it’s available in two body styles. The standard version has five seats, while the roughly 20cms longer Tiguan Allspace is available with five or seven seats.
Discounting the Tiguan R and the PHEV, the Tiguan is available in a range of trim grades, including Life, Active, Elegance and R-Line variants. As well as offering more goodies inside, each grade is clearly distinguished by a different exterior finish, so you can tell them apart on the school run.
The Tiguan R has its own single specification, and we’re still waiting for confirmation of available spec levels for the eHybrid although we’ve already driven the car in Elegance trim.
Prices for mainstream models range from around £27,500, although the hot R version is nearly £46,000 and the PHEV will likely top the line-up at around £47,000, although prices are still to be confirmed. You need to be careful adding kit from the options list, particularly with higher-spec cars, as this will quickly push the price up over the £40,000 mark and incur a higher rate of tax.
Volkswagen has kept the Tiguan engine range fairly simple - a 1.5-litre TSI petrol unit is available with either 128bhp or 148bhp, while there's a 2.0-litre diesel engine in 148bhp or 197bhp guise. Petrol cars are front-wheel-drive only, although the lower-powered diesel is offered as a two- or four-wheel-drive version.
The top-of-the-range 2.0-litre TDI car only comes with Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard for lower- to medium-spec versions, with a seven-speed DSG auto available thereafter.
The Tiguan R uses the 316bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission from the Golf R, coupled to a standard 4Motion set-up, while the Tiguan eHybrid adopts the 1.4-litre petrol engine and 12kWh battery from the Golf GTE.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingPerfectly honed for family life, the Volkswagen Tiguan is well-built and practical but lacks any real sparkle
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Tiguan is a capable cruiser, while new R and eHybrid models add extra strings to its bow
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsAll Tiguans are cost-effective to run, but the eHybrid will save company drivers a packet
- 4Interior, design and technologySolid design is functional rather than stylish, although the Tiguan now features a smart new look and the latest on-board tech.
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceBuyers will appreciate the Tiguan's larger boot and increased passenger space compared to rivals
- 6Reliability and SafetySafety is good, but VW will be hoping the Tiguan reliability reputation improves