Volkswagen Tiguan SUV
Price £22,975 - £31,650
- Smart image
- Roomy and classy interior
- Quiet and refined engine range
- Dull looks
- Only average fuel economy
- Limited off-road ability
At a glance
"The Volkswagen Tiguan is a little old now, but it’s still a very desirable model in the increasingly crowded SUV class thanks to a wide range, economical engines and a comfortable ride."
The Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the older models in the popular compact SUV class, but it's still competitive, with an aura of quality and a chunky off-roader look that many buyers find appealing.
It's also good to drive, with minimal body lean in corners and firm suspension that keeps things under control. Rivals that share similar attributes include the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. However, if it's a more contemporary look, better economy and a more car-like driving experience that you crave, you might be better off with one of the Tiguan's newer competitors such as the Nissan Qashqai or Mazda CX-5.
The Tiguan comes with a choice of diesel and petrol engines and in four trim levels: basic S, mid-range Match, luxury R-Line and (available with diesel engines only), go-anywhere Escape. To the Tiguan's already impressive off-road credentials – robust build quality and fittings, a choice of punchy diesels and short body overhangs – the Escape adds even shorter overhangs, extra front underbody protection, four-wheel drive and door protectors.
However, four-wheel drive is an option on all other versions of the Tiguan, so unless you need the Escape's additional body armour, something like a cheaper yet still well equipped 4x4 Match might well be sufficient.
The Tiguan's petrol and diesel engines come in a variety of versions. The petrols – a 1.4 and two 2.0-litres with different power outputs – are smooth and powerful, with the TSI 210 version almost matching the VW Golf GTI in the 0-62mph sprint. Even the basic 1.4-litre TSI is eager, but don't expect more than 42.2mpg with two-wheel drive or 37.2mpg with four-wheel drive.
The diesels are our pick for their smooth, quiet, punchy performance and excellent fuel economy. The most rounded one is the 2.0-litre TDI 140. It goes from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds while returning 53.3mpg (the same as the less powerful 2.0-litre TDI 110) with two-wheel drive, or a still-impressive 48.7mpg with four-wheel drive. Road tax is £130 and £150 a year respectively.
Standard equipment is good, even on the basic S model. This has DAB digital radio, manual air-conditioning and electronic stability control. Match trim (our pick, especially in two-wheel-drive form with the 2.0-litre TDI 140 engine) adds more luxurious finishes, touchscreen sat nav and parking assistance.
Though it looks and feels well made, the Tiguan had a poor showing in our Driver Power 2014 survey, with owners expressing disappointment at the model's reliability and comfort. Mainstream rivals, among them the Skoda Yeti and Mazda CX-5, all charted much higher. Fortunately, there should be fewer concerns with safety, as the Tiguan scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests.
You would need to be a low to average-mileage driver for a petrol-powered Tiguan to make financial sense
For its price, power and economy, the two-wheel-drive Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0-litre TDI 140 is the best-balanced model in the range
The trim and fittings in the Volkswagen Tiguan feel expensive and look to be more than capable of withstanding years of family wear and tear
Rivals may look more inviting, but few can match the Volkswagen Tiguan’s practicality
The VW Tiguan looks and feels well built, but owners marked it down in the 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey