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 Crossovers

  • Nissan Qashqai
    The Nissan Qashqai gets a new look and more functionality in an effort to attract a new generation of buyers

    Nissan Qashqai

    1
  • Ford Kuga
    Ford's targeting a class above with its bigger Kuga

    Ford Kuga

    2
  • The second generation BMW X1

    BMW X1

    3
  • Skoda Yeti
    The Yeti is a crossover that's available with both two- and four-wheel drive

    Skoda Yeti

    4
  • Mazda CX-5
    CX-5's exterior has been shaped using Mazda's 'Kodo - soul of motion' design

    Mazda CX-5

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    27 July 2016
    Sweden guns for Germany’s big-hitters with a new full-sized exec
  • Car review
    27 July 2016
    Facelifted roadster ushers in a new generation of turbo V6 AMGs
  • First Drive
    27 July 2016
    Special-edition Twingo is packed with kit for a reasonable price, but a practicality deficit and a gutless engine leave us feeling cold
  • First Drive
    26 July 2016
    An expensive but entertaining, intriguing and very usable road-going track car whose rarity may eventually underwrite its high price
  • First Drive
    26 July 2016
    French fashion brand Givenchy has come together with DS for a special edition DS 3. Is it now any closer to the class leaders?