The second-row seats slide fore and aft and would have offered enough space for taller adults as well as kids if not for our test car’s optional panoramic sunroof. The third-row seats aren’t as easy to access as in some rivals, are fit for younger kids only and don’t feature Isofix child-seat anchorages. They’re easy to fold up and down, though, and smaller passengers on booster seats could travel in them happily.
To drive, the cheapest diesel Tiguan Allspace has more than adequate performance, drivability and refinement; medium-light but fairly precise and easily managed controls; tidy handling manners; and a medium-firm ride that feels ready for a bit of heavy hauling and towing if necessary, but not sporty or annoying with it. The car has a slightly more middle-of-the-road dynamic character than the Tiguan had in its original-model-generation early years, when the car’s slightly boundingly firm ride earned it the nickname ‘Tigger’ at Autocar HQ. On balance, though, the new car’s gently stout and steady blend of ride composure and body control probably means more has been gained than lost.
The engine has the slightly coarse, rev-reluctant, hard-working character you’d expect of a four-cylinder diesel, but it’s no chore to interact- or rub along with. It moves the car along briskly enough when you need it to, and it doesn’t struggle to top an indicated 50mpg out of town.
The Tiguan’s standard-fit driver assistance systems are also worth a mention, since the lane keeping system is less intrusive than rival systems; it’s easier to deactivate than some if it is getting on your nerves; and because, rather than continually tweaking at the steering, it will give you a discreet warning message through the digital instrument screen if you’re continually wandering across your lane. That, it seems to this tester, ought to be a much more effective way of getting drivers to pay a bit more attention to where they are pointing the car than continually seeking to correct their line in a more discreet way that’s actually just as likely to hinder as help.