This is the all-new second-generation Tiguan, a vehicle that is becoming increasingly important for the German brand. Despite being around since 2007, sales have increased year on year in the UK, with 2015 being the model's best yet. To put it another way, the Tiguan is now Volkswagen's third best-selling car in this country.
With that in mind, VW has been careful to build on the existing car's strengths without doing anything too radical. Beneath the solidly handsome exterior is the familiar MQB architecture that also underpins the new Seat Ateca. Length and width are increased over the old model, but clever use of high strength steels mean it's marginally lighter.
Initially the Tiguan will be available with a relatively small selection of 2.0-litre powerplants. These will include the ever-popular 148bhp turbodiesel and also the 178bhp TSI petrol that we're looking at here.
What's it like?
Opt for this most potent of the petrol engines and you'll find that your drivetrain choices have been made for you, but when that means VW's excellent seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox with permanent 4Motion four-wheel drive, it's not really an issue.
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.
Should I buy one?
Overall, the new Tiguan has an awful lot going for it. It's decent to drive, offers plenty of space and comes with loads of safety kit as standard. The trouble is that the small SUV segment is becoming one of the most hotly contested in the marketplace.
Not only is there competition from outside the Volkswagen Group, but there's also the Seat Ateca and upcoming Skoda Kodiaq to worry about. We already know the Seat will undercut the Tiguan while offering a very similar package.
Whether or not the Tiguan is worth the additional outlay is a question we will have to answer when we get to sample it back in Blighty. Even if it turns out to be as good as we suspect it is, it's going to have a heck of a fight on its hands.
Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TSI 4Motion
Location Berlin; On sale Now; Price £32,115; Engine 4 cyls, 1984cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 178bhp at 3940-6000rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1500-3950rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1645kg; 0-62mph 7.7sec; Top speed 129mph; Economy 38.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 168g/km, 28%
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