From £22,3559
Popular family SUV gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain that boosts economy and performance without affecting practicality or interior space
Steve Cropley Autocar
4 November 2021

What is it?

Don’t take this the wrong way, but the Volkswagen Tiguan puts me in mind of the Ford Cortina. It shares some fundamental characteristics with that saloon of yesteryear, distinguishing every driveway, fitting every supermarket parking spot, and being a car most households aspire to and need. As a result, it seems to be everywhere – and just as the mass of drivers-in-the-street discover electrification, it has been launched as a thoroughly credible plug-in hybrid model.

There are three models, actually: the £35,515 Life entry version, the plusher Elegance and the sportier R-Line, our test car. All Tiguan PHEVs are well equipped, coming with niceties such as three-zone air-con, adaptive cruise control and front/rear parking sensors. A heated steering wheel and keyless entry show the emphasis of the £37,780 Elegance, and the exterior roof spoiler and 20in alloys the character of the £38,120 R-Line. Oddly, the latter model, though the most expensive, doesn’t get the desirable matrix LED headlights of its lesser brethren. You have to pay extra. 

The powertrain consists of a well-proven 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine in unison with an electric motor (ahead of the six-speed automatic gearbox) so that the whole system has an extremely healthy power output of 242bhp, the electric motor’s impressive ground-level torque from standstill contributing to a brisk 7.5sec 0-62mph sprint. You can drive for up to 30 miles on the stored energy of the 10.4kWh lithium ion battery, and also at speeds of up to 80mph, though if you go as fast as that for long, the electric-only range shortens dramatically. 

What's it like?

On the road, the Tiguan PHEV is as house-trained as the rest of its siblings, with accurate and easy steering, a quiet ride (smooth for an SUV, not so much for a saloon) and plenty of performance.

It’s compact enough to be easy to drive even on width-limited UK country roads, and generates relatively little road noise. German manufacturers seem to be learning at last that this is a priority.

The rear passenger compartment is spacious given the car’s reasonably compact exterior dimensions, and without compromising boot space. And the car appears to be built to Volkswagen’s usual high-quality standards, with lustrous paint and very accurate panel-fit.

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Should I buy one?

Taken all round, the Tiguan PHEV seems a fine day-to-day all-rounder with economy to burn, and it works especially well for business-based user-choosers, who will benefit hugely from the fact that it attracts benefit-in-kind taxation of only 11%. All those years ago, the Ford Cortina was a darling of the fleets, too.

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The Apprentice 4 November 2021

Does not always work for company car drivers, tax is low yes, but with sub 2L engine, drivers on AFR rates will often lose money on fuel reimbursement per business mile, especially on longer trips when it becomes a 30mpg car. For some this out of pocket could negate the tax gain over the year. Prospective company owners need to do a bigger calculation and not be blinded by the low tax figure. I have seen too many trapped in the PHEV catch, often pushed by their employers keen to make their fleet CO2 look lower. Its a bit of a mission of mine to open peoples eyes to the PHEV illusion, having been there, done that. If your company still does fuel cards and just pays the bill, sure have one.

 

4.5 seems generous, personally I would go for the more modern Tucson PHEV, if I really wanted to cut my costs withouf missing out on toys, the MG HS PHEV is a good car.

scotty5 4 November 2021

Interesting pricing. It's a no brainer as a company car. The exact same car with a 1.5tsi petrol is £34k. With a 2.0tdi diesel it's £36k and with Phev it's £38k.

Unless you're a private motorist who does huge mileages ( there can't be many of them ) or needs a tdi for towing then pricing renders the diesel as useless.

Would a £4k price difference temp the private motorist? If I had access to off-street parking or there was a charger nearby, I have to say that £4k difference may well be worth it otherwise I'd stick with the 1.5tsi.  

Aerial 4 November 2021

4.5 stars? like most phevs if its company owned that charging cable will never leave the boot. Also the same awful slider controls from the ID seem to have infected this as well. Are they also not even backlit?

Cobnapint 4 November 2021
Have to agree. Who's going to be a*sed to plug this in every night when it's not a full EV. The novelty will soon wear off.
catnip 4 November 2021

And they're mounted really low down here, taking your concentration and eyes even further away from the road.