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New Volkswagen Tiguan 2024 review: improved quality and more practical than ever

The new Volkswagen Tiguan addresses many of its predecessor's failings, but it’s still far from the best in class to drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The new Volkswagen Tiguan feels a lot like the old one, but that’s more of a compliment than a criticism. It’s still a refined and practical SUV, although it’s far from the best to drive in its class, and in diesel form it’s not as efficient as before. Volkswagen appears to have regained its strength in perceived cabin quality though, and if you pick the right trim you’ll get all the kit a family could ever need. 

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The future is electric for the Volkswagen Tiguan. At the 2023 Munich Motor Show, VW CEO Thomas Schafer said the Tiguan (alongside the Golf and GTI nameplates) will be a model that’ll live on into the electric car age. So does that shift in focus mean Volkswagen has taken its foot off the gas for this all-new, combustion-engined, third-generation model? 

The latest Tiguan doesn’t exactly push the envelope in terms of looks – at first glance you might even mistake it for the outgoing model. But playing it safe with the Tiguan’s styling makes a bit more sense when you factor in that this is Volkswagen’s best-selling model globally. 

Jump inside and the first thing that strikes you is that the interior is almost a carbon-copy of the new Passat. In our test car’s case, that’s mainly thanks to the massive 15-inch infotainment screen in the middle of the dashboard, which is a £1,100 option on Life models and up. As standard, all cars get a 12.9-inch screen and a 10.25-inch ‘Digital Cockpit Pro’ driver’s display. 

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We know Volkswagen is reverting back to more physical controls in its cabins after heavy criticism of its touch-sensitive sliders. Unfortunately, the new Tiguan has arrived too soon for this change of heart. The buttons beneath the screen are at least backlit, and the revised set-up allows you to skip to a certain volume or temperature by using two fingers on the panel. There are at least physical buttons on the steering wheel, which we approve of. 

Back to that massive screen, and as we found out with the Volkswagen ID.7 recently, the new MIB4 infotainment system doesn’t have the most intuitive menu layouts. We’d like the shortcut toggles to be more prominent, but it’s perfectly responsive with a brilliantly clear resolution.

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After a few iffy years in relation to interior build quality (especially with its ID-badged products), Volkswagen seems to be back on form – and the new Tiguan is testament to this. Our car was the middling Elegance model, sitting below the range-topping R-Line, but above the entry-level ‘Tiguan’, followed by Life and Match. 

The basic trim level does look a little dull, but should get the same solid feeling we found in the Elegance, even if it does miss out on our car’s lashings of chrome and leather, plus useful technical touches like three-zone climate control, heated and massaging front seats, adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera.

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The new Tiguan is longer, wider and taller than the old model and it feels it inside. Tall adults should have no problem getting comfortable in the rear seats and Volkswagen has done a good job of making the cabin look airy, with decent visibility all around. Boot space stands at 652 litres, which is more than you get in the Toyota RAV4, Ford Kuga or Renault Austral, and 37 litres more than the outgoing Tiguan. 

Our car featured the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine with 148bhp and 360Nm of torque, an unit we’ve become quite familiar with over the past few years. It’s still a great option in the Tiguan; maximum torque arrives at 1,600rpm and from then you’ll find there’s a smooth delivery of power. Mated to the seven-speed DSG gearbox (again, something we’re well acquainted with), the focus is very much on offering a composed and refined drivetrain. 

Sitting on the latest iteration of the MQB evo platform, there is some room for adjustability with the Tiguan’s dynamics. Shift from Comfort to Sport and you’ll find the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) system firms up the dampers, adds weight to the steering and holds onto its gears for longer. The DCC is the same setup you’d find in the new ID.7 and comes with a baffling 15 different levels of damping. You have to manually change it within the screen if you want the maximum stiffness – although we wouldn’t recommend it because it doesn’t increase driver engagement all that much, while having a noticeably detrimental effect on ride quality. That’s true of the steering and gearbox calibration, too. 

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Should you fancy chucking the Tiguan around a bit, you’ll find it surprisingly stable in the bends. There’s not much communication from the steering, however, and the diesel engine in our front-wheel drive car lacked the responsiveness or grunt to really get the pulse racing. 

Along with four-wheel drive petrol offerings, some more powerful plug-in hybrids will join the range later this year, with either 201bhp and 268bhp. All-electric range doubles from the old car to an impressive 62 miles, thanks to a larger 19.7kWh battery. 

Despite the proposed gains for the plug-in hybrids, efficiency for the 2.0-litre TDI has dropped. It’s a little heavier than before, and as a result the car we tested emits 3g/km more CO2 (149g/km), while fuel economy takes a 7.2mpg hit, with the combined figure now standing at 43.2mpg. That is at least reasonably realistic – during our test we saw an economy figure close to the 40mpg mark. 

Alloy wheel sizes range from 17-inch on the base car, to 20-inch on the R-Line. Our Elegance model came on 19-inch rims and overall we found the Tiguan to be pretty refined, with road and wind noise mostly kept at bay. But then we only drove it on relatively smooth roads in the south of France – the true test will come when we drive the car on UK roads in the spring. 

Model:Volkswagen Tiguan Elegance TDI
Price from:£34,060
Price as tested:£39,275
Powertrain:2.0-litre 4cyl diesel
Power/torque:148bhp/360Nm
Transmission:Seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:9.1 seconds
Top speed:130mph
Economy/CO243.2mpg/149g/km
Size (L/W/H):1,639mm/4,539mm/1,842mm
On sale:Now
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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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