From £22,3559
The most powerful Tiguan variant makes for an expensive option - but a thoroughly likeable one

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Tiguan

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

Nic Cackett
21 February 2017

What is it?

A year or so after its launch, and already the Tiguan occupies a happy little SUV niche: cheerily cheaper than a BMW X3, confidently plusher than the vaguely related Seat Ateca and just plain better than pretty much everything else in between. In its road test, we said it was dropped on a buyer expectation sixpence. That opinion hasn’t been shifted by anything we’ve driven in the meantime.

Confidence is high then for this, the engine bay range-topper; new to the UK model line-up. The 237bhp 2.0-litre bi-turbo TDI engine is already a constituent of the Passat range – but its introduction into the Tiguan feels like a more appropriate placement of its obvious potential, not least because it nudges the all-wheel-drive SUV deep into X3 xDrive30d territory.

Of course, it takes some serious gumption to hold a flame to BMW’s formidable diesel straight-six, so Volkswagen has duly extracted 369lb ft of torque from its four-cylinder unit, courtesy of the 200bar of combustion pressure being whipped up by its sequentially arranged big/small turbochargers. A bespoke cylinder head and gasket keeps the lid on the common 2.0-litre block, which still manages 44.1mpg on a rolling road while chastely emitting 167g/km CO2 in conjunction with a standard seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

What's it like?

We’ve driven the fire-breathing Tiguan in R-Line form abroad, and didn’t like it much for the presence of its ride-hobbling 20in rims. This car is the slightly less showy SE L model – meaning you get almost all the same standard kit (including adaptive dampers), only with higher-profile 19in wheels and slightly more anonymous styling.

That quality feeds directly into the Tiquan’s likeable Q-car character. The badge on the back has a dash of red, yet still just reads 2.0 TDI – and the motor makes a sound little different to the irascible drone of its lesser siblings. But it awakens in gratifying style: a judicious prod of throttle making light of the car's 1795kg kerbweight; a stamp forcing the SUV into a properly hurried diesel-edged surge.

The kick is sufficiently wallop-like for you to be vaguely grateful for four-wheel-drive in a straight line, and downright thankful for it when it comes time to hustle the car through a sharp corner. The extra performance is sufficiently lusty for the Normal drive mode to be found wanting in steering weight and body control, but Sport mode conjures up a bit more heft and has the dampers applying themselves far more effectively. 

Throw in the DSG’s own very adroit S-mode and the impressively neutral balance of the 4Motion drivetrain, and the Tiguan can be driven very briskly indeed – and not without the lingering sense of satisfaction that you might associate with the similarly fast X3. It’s possibly not the car’s natural stomping ground, though - most owners though will surely be content with aligning a Comfort chassis setting with an agreeably enormous capacity for overtaking.

Should I buy one?

Not every mainstream SUV would be made better for the addition of substantially more power, yet there’s little doubt in the Tiguan that it works to the car’s advantage. Even if you drive it very casually and without troubling the underlying go-faster reservoir of twist, its presence sits contentedly in the back of the mind – sequestered next to the knowledge that you’re not going to get stuck in the snow or a muddy field, either.

The Tiguan is that sort of beautifully rounded, slightly pricey option anyway - this new engine simply turbocharges the appeal. 

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 BiTDI 240 4Motion DSG SE L

Location UK; On sale Now; Price £36,725; Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, twin-turbo, diesel; Power 237bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 369lb ft 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1795kg; Top speed 142mph; 0-62mph 6.5sec; Economy 44.1mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 167g/km, 33% Rivals BMW X1 xDrive 25dMercedes GLC 250d

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Comments
40

A34

21 February 2017
So you could also go F Pace or Disco Sport for that money. Or better still a Kodiaq. This Tiguan would be pretty down on my list for this sort of car!

21 February 2017
A34, yes you can get an F Pace for this money but if you want the 240PS diesel in auto it starts from £42k, and the base level of equipment is not as good as the Tiguan. Can't find this engine on the Disco Sport on line model builder yet but I bet the gap to the Tiguan is similarly large. That doesn't mean the Tiguan is as good as they are (I haven't driven any of them) but it's quite a bit cheaper.

21 February 2017
[quote=reckless fox]A34, yes you can get an F Pace for this money but if you want the 240PS diesel in auto it starts from £42k, and the base level of equipment is not as good as the Tiguan. Can't find this engine on the Disco Sport on line model builder yet but I bet the gap to the Tiguan is similarly large. That doesn't mean the Tiguan is as good as they are (I haven't driven any of them) but it's quite a bit cheaper.[/quote] The F Pace isn't all it's made out to be, far from it, and both it and the DS are powered by an engine that has no place in a Massey Ferguson let alone a so called 'premium' product.

289

21 February 2017
Agreed, pretty pointless addition to the range...especially as it still has a shitty Van engine in it - so out of step with the way the market is shifting (yesterday's news). An R line would also probably fall within the new harsh taxation/VED regime at over £40k.

21 February 2017
Another day another VAG review again!!! £37k for a car with scratchy hard plastic covering the whole of the back doors. You can buy something far better than the price of this dreary thing. Before I get criticised as a VAG hater, I would love to know why a few years back the current Polo was a 3* rated car, and when the current Fabia was launched it was a 3* car... both middle of the road cars. Roll on a few years and heavy advertisements both are 5* rated cars?? Most car mags the first double page is a VAG advert and also the the third page...

21 February 2017
Hard plastic on the back doors of this too? It's bad enough in the Golf but in this it's unforgivably cheap. I was in the back of my brother's Golf 7 the other day and the temptation to tap and scratch the el-cheapo door cappings is irresistible.

21 February 2017
[quote=Jimbbobw1977]Another day another VAG review again!!! £37k for a car with scratchy hard plastic covering the whole of the back doors. You can buy something far better than the price of this dreary thing. Before I get criticised as a VAG hater, I would love to know why a few years back the current Polo was a 3* rated car, and when the current Fabia was launched it was a 3* car... both middle of the road cars. Roll on a few years and heavy advertisements both are 5* rated cars?? Most car mags the first double page is a VAG advert and also the the third page...[/quote] If you don't like it, don't read about it, don't buy one, fxck off and buy a Ford. You daft twat.

21 February 2017
The Ford will be cheaper and the trim quality is about the same.

21 February 2017
[quote=darenn]The Ford will be cheaper and the trim quality is about the same.[/quote] You'd probably need to spec a Kuga to Vinegar spec, or whatever it's called to get something close. Even then, you won't get an equivalent engine. Once the specs are matched as close as they can be, I'd doubt there would be more than a grand in it and then the VW would have the higher residual. Trim quality is leagues ahead in the VW, always has been and always will be. It's an area of car design/manufacturing that, culturally Ford simply doesn't understand.

21 February 2017
[quote=Marc][quote=Jimbbobw1977]Another day another VAG review again!!! £37k for a car with scratchy hard plastic covering the whole of the back doors. You can buy something far better than the price of this dreary thing. Before I get criticised as a VAG hater, I would love to know why a few years back the current Polo was a 3* rated car, and when the current Fabia was launched it was a 3* car... both middle of the road cars. Roll on a few years and heavy advertisements both are 5* rated cars?? Most car mags the first double page is a VAG advert and also the the third page...[/quote] If you don't like it, don't read about it, don't buy one, fxck off and buy a Ford. You daft twat.[/quote] One angry person.... I read it because it's published and I like reading about cars. Buy a Ford? Okay, don't need to as we have one along with an Audi A3 also....

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