While some may prefer to manage their own gears, the auto impresses with smooth and swift shifts. Our only real complaint is the tardy step-off in Eco mode. Select Normal or Sport, however, and the Tiguan sprints energetically away from a standstill. VW claims a 0-62mph time of 7.7sec, and it's a figure we can fully believe.
The engine is not only capable of zingy performance but it also proves to be smooth and subdued in normal use. Stretch its legs and it will become more vocal, but it's never gruff or unpleasant. Those hoping for shades of Golf R in the aural experience might be disappointed, but then this really isn't that type of car.
While we found its predecessor to be a bit soft, our initial impressions of this new Tiguan seem to suggest that VW has decided to stiffen things up noticeably. This does mean the ride can be firm at times, although it's not uncomfortably so. Body roll is well contained and it turns into corners keenly enough. Helping matters is steering that is well weighted and precise.
Ultimately though, we will need to get the Tiguan away from the smooth German roads of our test drive and back in the UK to really understand how it handles.
What we do know is that the Tiguan is impressively capable off-road. It may not have much in the way of axle articulation or any form of differential lock, but clever electronics ensure you can scrabble up steep and rocky inclines or keep moving with one or more wheels dangling in mid air.
The growth spurt also means the Tiguan is spacious inside for passengers both front and rear. A sliding rear bench also means you can either prioritise leg room or boot space. We did find some of the plastics used slightly disappointing, though.
The upper dash and top of the front door cards may be pleasingly soft, but there's plenty of hard scratchy stuff around the centre console, lower dash and on the rear door cards. With our test car costing well over £30,000, we would have expected better from VW.
Still, you'll find plenty of premium grade equipment. All models receive autonomous emergency braking and lane assist, and plenty of other goodies are available. These includes a configurable 12.3in digital display instead of conventional dials, a head-up display and full LED headlights.