Composed, comfortable and well packaged, but lacks the spark that this clinical SUV needs

What is it?

Is the New Volkswagen Tiguan a better car than the outgoing model that it replaces? Yes, it is. But does it now come with the all-important sparkle that the old car lacked? No. And that’s a shame. Be in no doubt, however, that this is a competent, spacious and comfortable car that looks the business. But it’s not one that will make you feel special.

What’s it like?

This facelift brings a redesigned grille, revised rear lights and some new engines, including the 158bhp 1.4 TSI twincharger, a 2.0 TSI with 178bhp and the range-topping 207bhp variant of the same unit. There’s a new 109bhp diesel, too.

VW estimates that 90 per cent of Tiguan sales will go to the oil-burners – particularly the 2.0-litre with 138bhp – but it’s the more powerful 168bhp version with a six-speed manual gearbox that we opted to use for the 300-mile route from Munich to Austria’s Wörthersee via mountain roads, fast autobahn and more moderate traffic.

Gone is the gruff engine note, muted by better soundproofing that contributes to the 85kg that VW has added to the Tiguan’s weight. It now tips the scales at a hefty 1695kg.

Taller gearing, aimed at reducing CO2, means the Tiguan is best suited to long motorway hauls. On twisty roads you’ll find yourself making more use than you might expect of the manual ’box in order to get the most out of the SUV’s 258lb ft of torque, but at least it’s a slick-shifting unit. The light steering, meanwhile, is precise and the ride remains composed, ironing out bumps with ease.

Should I buy one?

Overall, the Tiguan is a likeable mid-size SUV, but it’s not something a driving enthusiast would choose to ferry their family around.

Alex Kertsen

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 170 

Price: £26,200 (est); Top speed: 125mph; 0-62mph: 8.9sec; Economy: 47.1mpg (combined); CO2: 158g/km; Kerb weight: 1695kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power: 168bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Submariner Redux 14 June 2011

Re: VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI 170

Yep, I agree completely: it makes them look as if their eye is not on the ball. Should have been the same weight at worst: making it 85 kg heavier is out of tune with the times.

disco.stu 14 June 2011

Re: VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI 170

Submariner Redux wrote:
I doubt they could do much within a modest budget to make the Tiguan significantly lighter at mid-life, but making it heavier seems a little careless

True, but adding 85kg (or an adult male's weight) to the car should draw more criticism from journos than just a passing comment. In this day and age, weight reduction should be a priority. And you just know that VW could have done it if they wanted to, but didn't see the value in terms of increased sales. This sort of thing should get more attention so buyers are aware of it.

Aluminium or plastic panels and components are getting cheaper, and VAG is full of clever people, so I think they could have done better in this regard.

captainrick 13 June 2011

Re: VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI 170

Mazda's Skyactiv technology is going to re-write the rules in this sector, IMHO. Lets hope that the CX-5 is not too ugly and that they can sort the ride for our pot-holed, 3rd world roads. It's efficiency will blitz the rest. People will still buy VW for the badge.