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.