‘New VW Tiguan’ isn’t the kind of headline you’d expect to usurp the likes of SUV debutants Jaguar and Bentley from star billing at the Frankfurt show, but the hamsters running round in the wheels powering our web stats indicate you can’t get enough of it.
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, this is much more than another new car on the VW MQB platform. The latest Tiguan is the first of a whole new era of VW SUVs, and it sets the blueprint for plenty that will follow. There’ll be bigger ones, smaller ones, coupe-like ones, but all will follow the rules of engagement laid out here.
Somewhat unusually for a Volkswagen, the Tiguan doesn’t quite look as you’d expect it to. It’s much showier than a typical VW - much less understated, with plenty of sharp creases in the bodywork and lots of glitzy details and finishes. Dare I say it - it’s a design that looks like it might age a bit more quickly than is normal for a VW. Then again, the current car’s more rounded look hasn’t particularly stood the test of time either.
What cannot be criticised is the perceived quality of this car. The cabin is luxuriously appointed, trimmed with plush materials and is a fine place to sit. Whether or not they’ll age, those fancy details only add to the feelings of glamour and quality.
There’s been no fanfare from VW about a push upmarket. Instead, and in typical VW fashion, the firm has pointed out how much more spacious and efficient the new Tiguan is compared with the old one.
But be in no doubt of the intent here: VW’s small margins on its models are well documented, but SUVs (and the higher margins they bring with them) hold a solution. A Tiguan can, of course, command a much higher list price than its MQB stablemate the Golf, and that premium look and feel can only further boost the figure on the sticker - and therefore the money made on each vehicle.
VW’s march towards being the number one car maker in the world is surely inevitable, but being able to do it with the profit margins it would like is less assured. The arrival of the Tiguan and the many SUVs after it is, VW hopes, the solution to that particular problem.