The availability of key options on steering, damping, spring rate, ride height, wheel size, tyres and, of course, the number of driven axles will inevitably make one new Tiguan behave quite differently from the next.

It’ll be a while before we’ve had a chance to piece together a complete picture on what the best all-round specification for the car may be, but if the answer to that question turns out to be as simple as ‘buy a standard one’, we won’t be at all surprised.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The stability-biased chassis keeps the rear axle in line around the off-camber

Here, on its middle-of-the-road, common or garden passive suspension, standard-issue steering and 18in alloy wheels, the Tiguan strikes an excellent dynamic compromise for a pragmatic family car.

It is softer-riding, more inherently stable and less incisive in its handling than some of its nearest competitors, but this is a car intended to keep your occupants safe, comfy and happy at all times and to make your job of driving them around as easy and as unwearing as it can be.

You won’t have much fun (but then you’re probably not expecting much), but if you’re happy instead to accept a comfortable car that’s easy to place and still feels smaller, lighter and better controlled on the road than the SUV’s prevailing dynamic standard, you’ll like what you find.

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The Tiguan’s ride is gentle and quiet at all times – particularly so at motorway speeds – and only gets a little bit jostling over tricky surfaces around town.

It doesn’t seem to depend on overly soft springing to deliver that compliance, either, because body control is decent over vertical undulations and through corners.

When you do turn the Tiguan in to a corner, the chassis responds fairly precisely and progressively.

The car isn’t one to keep masses of lateral grip in reserve, and its medium-fast steering makes it easy enough to find the point at which the tyres begin to run out of grip.

When you do, it’s always the fronts doing the slipping, keeping handling secure at all times. Moreover, the discreetly tuned stability control system keeps that slippage assuredly and instantly reined in.

On standard springs and dampers, the Tiguan doesn’t give you as much encouragement to drive it hard as a BMW X1, a Ford Kuga or a Mazda CX-5 does, although on lowered sports suspension, more road-biased tyres, 19in alloys and quicker steering, that may well be very different.

But even the standard car keeps respectable check of its body movements and stays stable and controllable even when you’ve gone way beyond its bounds of grip.

The Tiguan doesn’t corner as flat or as fast as certain rivals, but its adhesiveness is great enough that you’re unlikely to find its margins in dry conditions on the road; in the wet, you may.

And if you do, you’ll know about it by the gathering roll in the car and the gradual bleeding away of the steering wheel’s authority over the front wheels.

But as understeer builds, so the car’s ESP works away calmly in the background to keep the car on line — so it still feels under control even when control is starting to run out.

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