Two of Volkswagen’s current models are sold in greater numbers to the UK car-buying public than the Tiguan compact SUV: the Golf and the Polo.

VW currently sells 11 different cars in this country (more if you count estates and cabriolets as separate lines), so for the Tiguan to outsell so many of them – considering that it’s only now entering a second model generation – tells you that it has become quite popular in a short space of time.

The other thing that’s interesting about the Tiguan’s brisk success story is that it is just a compact SUV: not really a premium SUV, nor a trendy crossover-bodied one, nor a notably quirky or sporty-looking one.

Like so many Volkswagens, the Tiguan does it by the book, which is how a good chunk of British buyers like it.

Eight years ago, the first-generation version arrived in the UK just as the original Nissan Qashqai’s sales were taking off.

Compared with the Nissan equivalents, the Tiguan’s soft suspension rates and resolutely unsporting handling made for a readily intelligible SUV driving experience.

But this time, Wolfsburg’s answer to the Honda CR-V may bring something a smidgen more risqué.

This is the first in a series of new VW SUVs and crossovers, all due before the decade’s end, that share a new common design language and which will populate every market niche in 4x4-dom with a Volkswagen model.

As it often does with its cars, Volkswagen is offering a wide range of engines in the Tiguan – three petrol and four diesel – as well as a choice of manual or dual-clutch automatic gearboxes, front or four-wheel drive and regular, lowered sports or jacked-up ‘Outdoor’ suspension set-ups.

Our test car is a 148bhp 2.0 TDI in SE Navigation trim, a combination of powertrain and trim that is predicted to be the most popular in the UK.

Top 5 Compact SUVs

  • Ford Kuga
    Ford's targeting a class above with its bigger Kuga

    Ford Kuga

    1
  • Volkswagen Tiguan

    Volkswagen Tiguan

    2
  • Range Rover Evoque
    The Range Rover Evoque is available as a three-door, pictured here, or a five-door

    Range Rover Evoque

    3
  • The second generation BMW X1

    BMW X1

    4
  • Honda CR-V
    If the new CR-V looks more crossover than old-guard SUV it may be because the roofline is 30mm lower than before

    Honda CR-V

    5

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