From £21,155
Revised Tiguan is as talented an all-rounder as you’re likely to find in the compact 4x4 market

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Tiguan
The Tiguan is based on the Golf platform

Does the Volkswagen Tiguan blend a hint of SUV bad-weather confidence with decent on-road dynamics?

What is it?

Volkswagen’s facelifted Tiguan compact SUV, deliveries of which will begin in the UK in September, and which we’re testing in the UK for the first time. And it stands out as one of the more talented all-round road cars available of its type.

Although they’re cracked up to be seriously multi-talented, you often have to compromise on quite a lot when buying a £25,000 SUV. You can have a voluminous seven-seater, but it’ll probably come from a budget brand and with a slightly agricultural driving experience. You can have one from a premium brand, but it might be quite small and only have two driven wheels. You can have one from a more blue-blooded 4x4 brand, but you’ll have to settle for relatively low spec.

And within that rather confusing market, the Volkswagen Tiguan has become a bit of touchstone: the go-to-option for all-round breadth of ability. Oft-criticised for its ‘lightweight’ Golf-derived underpinnings, it’s actually the Tiguan’s civilized and efficient Golf-family engines and relatively modest dimensions that make it so uncompromised. Few others in the class combine the Tiguan’s car-like performance, handling, ride, refinement and efficiency, after all. And even fewer come with such a flexible, well-equipped and well-appointed cabin, with decent capability as a tow car or occasional offroad tool, or with a badge as desirable as VW’s.

What’s it like?

The new Tiguan gets a Touareg-inspired face and a new array of petrol engines. Economy and CO2 gains have been made across the whole range, and there’s a new more offroad-oriented Escape model too with more outright mud-plugging capacity.

We tested the volume-selling 138bhp 2.0-litre TDi version, with 4Motion four-wheel drive and in SE trim. Even with four driven wheels, the car squeezes into VED road tax band F for a £130 tax disc, and returns better than 40mpg on the motorway, thanks to VW’s Bluemotion Technology package, which includes automatic engine stop-start.

Performance is well up to class standards, making the Tiguan easy to drive and feel quite fleet of foot on the road. The car’s ride is a little firm, and more reactive than some SUVs. It’s certainly easy to understand why many owners christen their cars ‘Tigger’ – the VW certainly feels springier than most of its type. But the Tiguan steers and handles very tidily indeed, with strong grip, quick responses, well-contained body roll and little understeer. That being the case, it’s easy to accept the modest amount of choppiness in the car’s dynamic demeanor over undulating surfaces.

Although the Tiguan still isn’t as accommodating as some for the money, it’s as practical as a Toyota RAV4 in most meaningful measurements, and a good deal more so than a Ford Kuga or BMW X1 thanks to rear seats that slide and recline as well as folding flat. Headroom up front is as good as almost any SUV. Material quality and fit-and-finish inside the cabin are both consistently good, and standard equipment on our SE spec test car included dual zone climate control, a DAB radio, tyre pressure monitors and self-steering park assist.

Should I buy one?

It may seem a little middle-of-the-road compared to some compact SUVs, but VW’s Tiguan would make a growing family’s perfect first time 4x4.

It’s got 80 per cent of the capabilities of any SUV, but doesn’t come with drawbacks like poor fuel economy, cumbersome handling or average refinement.

Put simply, it’s a car that still drives like a car - and yet it’s also all the 4x4 you’re ever likely to need.

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDi 4Motion SE

Price: £25,645; Top speed: 116mph; 0-62mph: 10.2sec; Economy: 48.7mpg; Co2: 150g/km; Kerbweight: 1655kg; Engine type, cc: 4 cyls in line, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power: 138bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Comments
26

17 August 2011

[quote Autocar] But the Tiguan steers and handles very tidily indeed, with strong grip, quick responses, well-contained body roll and little understeer. That being the case, it’s easy to accept the modest amount of choppiness in the car’s dynamic demeanor over undulating surfaces.[/quote] Somehow I suspect those christening their Tiguan "Tigger" may disagree with you, as they have to live with the choppy ride, rather than being a road-tester with a handling focus.

17 August 2011

Reads more like a press release than a review.

17 August 2011

[quote Autocar]

Put simply, it’s a car that still drives like a car - and yet it’s also all the 4x4 you’re ever likely to need.

[/quote]

That really does sum this car up perfectly. It really is the Golf of the soft roader world.

However, like the Golf, I find this car terminally bland. For the majority of buyers though this won't be a problem and they will enjoy the great build and on road ability.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

17 August 2011

[quote TegTypeR]

That really does sum this car up perfectly. It really is the Golf of the soft roader world.

However, like the Golf, I find this car terminally bland. For the majority of buyers though this won't be a problem and they will enjoy the great build and on road ability.

[/quote] Could not have put it better myself! Might add that I think it looks uglier than it did before

17 August 2011

I am sure its a decent thing, but its so dull.

And its yet another VW facelift that has left the car worse than before they started.

17 August 2011

[quote TegTypeR]

For the majority of buyers though this won't be a problem and they will enjoy the great build and on road ability.

[/quote] Great build? I assume then the last Golf you travelled in was a mk4. You can guarantee that every rattle I fix on my mk5 produces another elsewhere. And of the three mk6 (or is it 5.5?) owners I know, their cars have developed rattles in the dash and B-pillar trim in the past year. VW's build quality is way over-rated IMO.

18 August 2011

I think the looks are an improvement and I think it actually looks Ok. I do however think that the Dash looks a bit cheap and bland and indeed thought it with the last one also.

18 August 2011

[quote ronmcdonald] Great build? I assume then the last Golf you travelled in was a mk4. You can guarantee that every rattle I fix on my mk5 produces another elsewhere.[/quote]

I look after a very low mileage R32 Mk5 at the moment for a friend (he lives abroad) and I have never found any problems with the build, even if the thing is awful to drive. I do however have an issue with the dreadful quality of the plastics they use (which is much over hyped by the press) and I can imagine that given some miles and wear they probably would start squeaking and rattling quite nicely.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

18 August 2011

[quote ronmcdonald]Great build? I assume then the last Golf you travelled in was a mk4. You can guarantee that every rattle I fix on my mk5 produces another elsewhere. And of the three mk6 (or is it 5.5?) owners I know, their cars have developed rattles in the dash and B-pillar trim in the past year. VW's build quality is way over-rated IMO[/quote]

You're not alone in having reservations about VW's quality. Honest John who does a lengthy and very interesting question and answer piece in the Saturday Telegraph is also a bit skeptical about VW at the moment.

18 August 2011

Skoda Yeti.

Also is their a car that does not rattle? have a two year old CRV, that has the odd rattle but it is not the end of the world, actually our Golf has less rattles.

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