Used Volkswagen Tiguan (Mk1, 2008-2016) - How practical is it?

Few SUV rivals can match the Tiguan’s practicality, with room for five people and a big boot

The Tiguan is a Volkswagen Golf on stilts, so you get a raised driving position, plenty of interior space and a large boot. You’re unlikely to need more space from a five-seat SUV.

Dimensions and cabin design

The Mk1 Tiguan is 4,427mm long (4,457mm in Escape guise), 1,809mm wide and 1,686mm tall, plus it has a 2,604mm wheelbase. These figures are par for the course in the family SUV class.

Inside, there's plenty of room for five adults to sit in comfort, with generous headroom and legroom throughout. In truth, it works best as a four-seater, although children won’t mind sitting in the middle rear seat.

Avoid the S trim and you’ll get a front central armrest with storage compartment, folding tables on the back of the front seats, front under-seat drawers and a front passenger seat that folds flat for carrying longer items.

Boot space

The boot offers a generous 615 litres of luggage capacity with the rear seats up and pushed forward, so the Tiguan is more practical than many of its rivals. The rear seats also fold flat, so there’s no step to get in the way of longer loads.

With the seats folded, the boot capacity grows to 1,655 litres, which is less than the Skoda Yeti, but at least the Tiguan has a low boot floor and a square-ish profile, which makes loading long or bulky objects much easier.

Equipment and technology

The entry-level Tiguan S is extremely basic, which is why so many people chose to upgrade to a higher trim level. You do get manual air-conditioning, but the radio/MP3 compatible CD player looks a little primitive compared with today’s modern touchscreen infotainment systems. The S also gets 16-inch alloy wheels, side and rear protection pack, cloth upholstery, and front and rear electric windows.

Things improve with the Tiguan SE, which gets a touchscreen radio/MP3 player with six CD autochanger, 17-inch alloy wheels, heat insulated tinted glass from the B-pillar pack, chrome exterior accents and leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob. The interior remains a sea of grey plastic, but the SE feels more like a premium SUV.

Moving up to the Tiguan Sport adds more aggressive styling, 18-inch alloys, sports suspension, follow-me-home lights, front footwell illumination, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlights and a multifunction computer.

Finally, for the launch trims, the Escape was designed for people who required some off-road capability. A revised front bumper allows it to traverse a larger angle of approach, while underbody protection at the front guards against damage. There are also 17-inch alloys, protective strips and a special off-road mode. This includes hill descent assist and adjustment to the ABS to suit loose surfaces. It won’t rival a Land Rover Freelander, but it should be adequate for most people.

The sporty Tiguan R-Line arrived in 2009. It features everything you’ll find on the Sport, but adds sportier, almost aggressive, styling cues. Highlights include revised body-coloured front and rear bumpers, extended side sills with chrome strips, black rear diffuser, widened wheelarches, roof spoiler, front foglights, sports suspension, tinted glass, R-Line logos, seats finished in ‘Monte Carlo’ cloth and R-Line logo on the head restraints.

The Match trim replaced the SE in May 2010. The specification is broadly similar, but the key difference is the fitment of dual-zone climate control and rear parking sensors. It’s why the Match is our recommended trim level when buying a used Tiguan.

Look out for S and Match cars with BlueMotion Technology. These cars feature tech designed to lower fuel consumption, including a stop-start system and a visual gear change indicator. It’s easy to spot these cars – look for the BlueMotion Technology badge on the back.


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.

All Tiguans come with six airbags as standard, including a deactivation system for the passenger seat, while an optional rear side airbag system could be fitted as standard. There are also two Isofix points in the back, along with ‘top tether’ securing points on the reverse of the rear backrests.

All models have ABS and electronic stability control, but a tyre pressure-monitoring system is absent from the S trim unless alloy wheels are specified.

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