From £21,155
Too expensive, and lacking in refinement and low-down torque

What’s new?

Volkswagen obviously thinks that the crowded soft-roader segment can bear at least one more entrant, with the new Golf-based Tiguan now touching down in right-hand drive form.

Underneath, it shares the same underpinnings as the current Volkswagen Golf, including a development of its “4Motion” four-wheel drive system, so don’t expect stellar performance off-road. We opted to test it with the still-novel 1.4-litre TSI 'twincharger' petrol engine, which uses both a turbocharger and a supercharger to deliver 148bhp and 177lb ft of torque.

What’s it like?

The ride is good, the soft-ish suspension settings are capable of easily absorbing potholes and speed bumps while keeping body roll under control. The Tiguan also handles quite tidily, though turn-in is poor for such a road-biased car. Wind and tyre noise are, however, impressively muted.

Sadly, that’s where the good news ends. We've noticed that the twincharger engine struggles to deliver on its performance claims before, but the heavy Tiguan pretty much overwhelms it.

Not only is the motor as vocal as most modern diesels, but it also suffers from a perplexing lack of low-down torque. Below 2000rpm it felt as though a kitchen blender would have given the test car’s engine a run for its money.

Nor does the TSI pay for itself at the pumps. Volkswagen claims a combined fuel economy figure of just 33.6mpg for the car - which is hardly saving the planet - but even under gentle use we struggled to better 28mpg. The CO2 figure of 199 g/km is nothing special, either.

The Tiguan looks expensive compared to obvious rivals. Our test car weighted in at £19,370 in entry level "S" trim, and the quality of the cabin trim feels a bit insubstantial by Volkswagen's normally high standards.

Should I buy one?

No. You’d be better off with a Skoda Octavia Scout. It’s as quick, more economical, handles better and has comparable ability off the beaten track.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
loather 27 February 2008

Re: Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI

Ste33 wrote:
In-fact perhaps Autocar should refrain from testing these kinds of cars altogehter and leave them to WhatCar? ?

Fair point Ste33. However, this only serves to highlight the fact that 90%+ of cars now are essentially commodities/domestic appliances and well on the way to carbon-footprint/energy rating paraphenalia subjugation, a là white goods and so on, courtesy of the Politburo in Brussels.

But I came in here originally because the sentiment was 'who cares' about this vehicle and 'what's the point of such things like this'. Well, the point is, somebody somewhere - er, Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany, is making a good, prosperous living out of designing, engineering, and producing at a rate of knots(extra shifts to meet ten month order backlog just begun) such tedious, 'white goodery', and I suppose if you're gonna do it, like anything in life, you should do it the very best you can, and aim to wup the competition, which is precisely what VW has done. By the way they've just scooped another price for their turbo/kompressor TSI petrol engine. And lastly, us, I imagine almost exclusively fellas on this forum, are not the real target audience for this product whatsoever. This is prime Ladies car territory, as are Freelanders, X3s, coming GLKs and so on. Perhaps it shows who's got the real brass nowadays.

Ste33 27 February 2008

Re: Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI

Having subscribed to Autocar for over 15 years, I can say that every issue has its fair share of technical mistakes. But I dont care if the Tiguan has 236lb/ft @ 1750rpm or 2500rpm, it is the most mind-numbingly boring car to be released since the Ford Fusion in my opinion. VW should expect nothing other than a terrible review from magazines like Autocar ( who are for car enthusiasts, not buyers of appliances ) after teasing us with the agressive, and desirable Tiguan concept car, and then revealing the Oh-my-god-I've-slipped-into-a-coma production car. After owning a number of earlier Golfs, and other german cars, I'm just preying that the forthsoming Scirocco will be something more that a ultra boring, Golf-based 3 door mid-sized Golf looking hatch, with Golf interior and Golf engines. In-fact perhaps Autocar should refrain from testing these kinds of cars altogehter and leave them to WhatCar? ?

Simon Wells 27 February 2008

Re: Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI

loather wrote:
Okay, so if there is no wilful advantaging of home-grown product, say Land Rover Freelander - even if it is a bastard child of Sweden(S80), owned by Yanks/Indians - and doing-down of Volkswagen competitor products by Autocar journalists, that leaves '***-up' rather than conspiracy for Autocar's embarrassingly inaccurate Road Test report of the diesel Tiguan last November(click link below) where the car was dismissed for its out-dated pump-düse engine, even though VW had trumpeted to the Press long beforehand that the Tiguan would see the introduction of their brand-new common-rail TDI power unit. Either way Mr Duff, ***-up or conspiracy it ain't no recommendation for the objective, detailed professionalism of Autocar's output.

Loather, I've bought Autocar week in, week out since Noah was a boy and I'm having trouble spotting any anti VAG bias, now or historically. I can recall recent positive road tests for virtually the entire current Skoda range, the Golf GTi and the 1.4 twin charger version, the Polo in Blue Motion form, and the Audi R8, TT, A3 and A5. They are not big fans of Seat at the moment or many VAG 4x4s and have been disappointed by the Audi A4 - but that hardly amounts to some kind of blanket policy. I work in motor industry PR and can say that the Autocar hacks are as straight as any in the business.

As for the pumpe duse thing, people just sometimes make mistakes - as I've ably illustrated in this forum today - but to see conspiracy in errors is the first step on a slippery slope towards becoming Mohammed Al Fayed. Relax, fella!