Volkswagen obviously thinks that the crowded soft-roader segment can bear at least one more entrant, with the new Golf-based Tiguan now touching down in right-hand drive form.
Underneath, it shares the same underpinnings as the current Volkswagen Golf, including a development of its “4Motion” four-wheel drive system, so don’t expect stellar performance off-road. We opted to test it with the still-novel 1.4-litre TSI 'twincharger' petrol engine, which uses both a turbocharger and a supercharger to deliver 148bhp and 177lb ft of torque.
What’s it like?
The ride is good, the soft-ish suspension settings are capable of easily absorbing potholes and speed bumps while keeping body roll under control. The Tiguan also handles quite tidily, though turn-in is poor for such a road-biased car. Wind and tyre noise are, however, impressively muted.
Sadly, that’s where the good news ends. We've noticed that the twincharger engine struggles to deliver on its performance claims before, but the heavy Tiguan pretty much overwhelms it.
Not only is the motor as vocal as most modern diesels, but it also suffers from a perplexing lack of low-down torque. Below 2000rpm it felt as though a kitchen blender would have given the test car’s engine a run for its money.
Nor does the TSI pay for itself at the pumps. Volkswagen claims a combined fuel economy figure of just 33.6mpg for the car - which is hardly saving the planet - but even under gentle use we struggled to better 28mpg. The CO2 figure of 199 g/km is nothing special, either.
The Tiguan looks expensive compared to obvious rivals. Our test car weighted in at £19,370 in entry level "S" trim, and the quality of the cabin trim feels a bit insubstantial by Volkswagen's normally high standards.
Should I buy one?
No. You’d be better off with a Skoda Octavia Scout. It’s as quick, more economical, handles better and has comparable ability off the beaten track.