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We've already tried the all-new, second-generation Tiguan on snow, but how does it fare on the road?

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen’s compact SUV bulks up for a bigger slice of segment sales

What is it?

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.

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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 NowPrice £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%

Join the debate

Comments
11

5 April 2016
"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"

So, is it becoming the norm? Will you now do that for every car?
- 1st you test a pre-production model. And conclude that you can't really conclude cause although the car has some assets,it's just a pre-production car, and you weren't allowed to drive it much, and it wasn't on open roads...
- 2nd you drive a production car, finally. But unfortunately, as it wasn't on UK roads, it's hard to judge the chassis real qualities. (cause we all know that there are absolutely NO bad road in Germany -or elsewhere-). So let's wait until you get to drive it un UK.
- 3rd and final report, in UK, where you finally manage to reach a conclusion?

Don't waste your readers time and just publish the third. The rest is pointless.

5 April 2016
You're not paying for this stuff so why get so discombobulated? It's the norm, these days, to release tests and information in dribs and drabs as and when stuff becomes available to the journos. Is it really that much of a hardship quickly to scan a few pieces until you get the test that you want? Some people....

7 April 2016
beniot9888 wrote:

"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"

So, is it becoming the norm? Will you now do that for every car?
- 1st you test a pre-production model. And conclude that you can't really conclude cause although the car has some assets,it's just a pre-production car, and you weren't allowed to drive it much, and it wasn't on open roads...
- 2nd you drive a production car, finally. But unfortunately, as it wasn't on UK roads, it's hard to judge the chassis real qualities. (cause we all know that there are absolutely NO bad road in Germany -or elsewhere-). So let's wait until you get to drive it un UK.
- 3rd and final report, in UK, where you finally manage to reach a conclusion?

Don't waste your readers time and just publish the third. The rest is pointless.

This is standard auto journalism, has been for decades. And while Germany may have some bad roads, UK has some of the worst, plus some of the most challenging. It is said that if you can get a car to ride and handle properly in the UK, you can get it handing and riding well nearly everywhere

5 April 2016
Austin Maestro for the 21st century.

5 April 2016
Scratchy plastics in a VW car... Oh dear that will upset the VAG fanboys. They will have nothing to come back with to say why their VAG car is superior to everything else..

Mind you I did read somewhere that the current Golf rear door covers is all hard plastic.

Wonder if they have sorted out the software issues with the infotainment systems yet?

6 April 2016
A petrol press car for a first drive.... from VW?

Obvious insinuations aside, I personally am fed up with seeing every new car test being fitted with the diesel option. This does make a refreshing change.

 

 

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

6 April 2016
Coincidentally this article and the one on the F-pace are on the same webpage. Now the F-pace designers could benefit from studying the proportions of the Tiguan. Neither the front nor the back look too tall, as they do on the Jaguar. And the Tiguan glasshouse is in perfect proportion to the body while the Jag glasshouse looks uncomfortably squashed.

6 April 2016
I guess the high waist / shallow glasshouse is intended to give the F-Pace a "sporting" stance and distinguish it from the more practical Land Rover offerings. It does give the car a rather cliff-like appearance front and rear, not helped by the inexplicably low positioning of the front auxillary lights. I suppose this just highlights the contradictions inherent in a sporting SUV. Regarding the Tiguan, it's undoubtedly good looking, but is it already too familiar, given its wholesale adoption of the now ubiquitous VW (and Skoda) "sharply creased" design cues?

7 April 2016
abkq wrote:

Coincidentally this article and the one on the F-pace are on the same webpage. Now the F-pace designers could benefit from studying the proportions of the Tiguan. Neither the front nor the back look too tall, as they do on the Jaguar. And the Tiguan glasshouse is in perfect proportion to the body while the Jag glasshouse looks uncomfortably squashed.

Seriously? I think the F-Pace in miles ahead in style and proportions over this! I don't dislike the Tigaun, but it hardly the best proportioned car out there

6 April 2016
Looks like an MG Maestro.

Who would have thought that VW designers would ever have been inspired by a 35 year old Austin Rover design.

Just goes to show eh...

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