Can anyone say redemption? Dieselgate-related criticism aside, the Volkswagen Tiguan, in my opinion, is one of the greatest automotive coming-of-age stories of our time.

What before was an unspectacular, mumsy Volkswagen soft-roader has become a fully-fledged hottie, both alluringly neutral and quietly premium in equal measure. Seeing one has become an event, even in non-pimped-out SE specs (although the visual appeal is further intensified by specs further up the ladder). If ever there was a sign that the SUV segment is getting prettier, the Tiguan is it.

It’s not all about looks and perceived quality though. Despite being less nimble and agile than its Spanish cousin, the Seat Ateca, the Tiguan runs it close in the comfort stakes, and has a plusher interior to boot, naturally. The Tiguan feels more upmarket than its predecessor in every way.

Driving purists would tell me to go for a Porsche Macan instead, and purist driving purists would tell them to go for a Porsche 718 Cayman and so on, but the Volkswagen’s quiet confidence, effortless capability and calm in the face of adversity image will put it in good stead for its continuing dieselgate battle. My inner news hound is yearning for the day when Volkswagen confirms a Tiguan GTI and Volkswagen Tiguan R to match the Volkswagen Golf

2016 was the year of the SUV by quite some margin, although the trend is set to continue into 2017 with quite a large raft – more of an ocean liner, really – of SUVs on their way in the next twelve months. Many will be gorgeous, quick, capable or a formidable mixture of the three, but it’s doubtful that any will be as complete as the Tiguan. 

Check back tomorrow for another of our favourite cars of the last year. 

Here's Steve Cropley's favourite car of the year - the McLaren 540C

Read Mark Tisshaw's favourite here - the Lotus Exige Sport 380

Sam Sheehan chose the McLaren 570GT as his 2016 favourite

The Suzuki Ignis was chosen by Rory White - read his entry here

Read John Howell's choice - the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet - here