Volkswagen Tiguan SUV

Price  £21,960 - £31,280

Volkswagen Tiguan SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Spacious interior
  • Quality cabin
  • Powerful and quiet engines
  • Dull design
  • Poor equipment levels
  • Limited off-road ability

At a glance

"The Volkswagen Tiguan is a comfortable five-seat family car that offers plenty of practicality and rugged 4x4-inspired looks."

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a small SUV that gets the excellent build quality we would expect of a VW, but adds four-wheel drive and a raised driving position. It competes with models such as the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and excellent Nissan Qashqai.

As a modern off-roader, the Volkswagen offers surprising fuel economy, depending on which engine you choose. Buyers can pick between 1.4-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines, and three 2.0-litre diesels. Buyers can also go for two-wheel-drive models, which offer the best economy. The Tiguan feels nice to drive on road, while the Escape model gets a number of features that make it more capable off-road, although it can’t match a Land Rover Freelander.

Trim levels include S, Match, Escape and R-Line. All models come with air conditioning, electronic stability control, and a DAB radio. 


MPG, running costs & CO2

3.6 / 5

Economy and efficiency are decent but no match for some rival cars

If you are looking for an economical Volkswagen Tiguan then the best model to go for is the 2.0-litre 110 diesel BlueMotion. It uses technology such as stop/start and is equipped with fuel saving two-wheel drive to return fuel economy of 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 139g/km, meaning road tax costs £130 a year. This is some way short of the 1.5-litre diesel Nissan Qashqai, which can get more than70mpg and qualifies for free road tax.

The 2.0-litre 140 Bluemotion Tiguan actually achieves the same economy and emissions as the 110 version and is quicker, but costs more to buy. If you want a strong mix of economy and performance then the 2.0-litre 177 diesel is the model to go for, thanks to its balance of performance, fuel economy (48.7mpg), and annual road tax of £180.The 2.0-litre 210 petrol engine is quickest of all, but it will only return 33.2mpg, while road tax costs £265 every year. The slower 2.0-litre 180 petrol engine should cost exactly the same to run, while the 1.4-litre is the most frugal petrol - capable of 42.4mpg and emissions of 156g/km for road tax of £180 annually.

All Tiguans qualify for VW’s fixed-price servicing and come as standard with a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty. 

Engines, drive & performance

3.4 / 5

Handles surprisingly well for a big crossover car

Suspension that does well to resist body lean, plenty of grip and responsive steering mean that the Volkswagen Tiguan is good to drive on road. The most basic diesel two-wheel drive 2.0-litre 110 diesel may be the most economical model, but it is also the slowest with a 0-60mph time of 11.9 seconds. Go for the two-wheel drive 2.0-litre 140 diesel and the balance between economy is much better and it gets from 0-60mph in 10.2 seconds. The fastest diesel of all is the 2.0-litre 177 version, which gets from 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds and comes fitted as standard with four-wheel drive for improved grip.

Of the petrol models, the 1.4-litre makes the most sense. It can get from 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds and is reasonably economical. The 2.0-litre 180 and 210 models get from 0-60mph in 8.3 and 7.8 seconds respectively, but both are thirsty on fuel.

The four-wheel drive 2.0-litre diesel models are the best tow cars and can pull up to a maximum of 2200kg. 

Interior & comfort

3.6 / 5

Reasonably comfortable, quiet and relaxing on all surfaces

The Tiguan gets the kind of solidly built interior that we have come to expect from Volkswagen. It may not have the stylish design of some competitors, but it is logically laid out and easy to use. There’s plenty of adjustment for the steering wheel and driver’s seat so getting comfortable behind the wheel should also be easy – and the car’s raised ride height makes for excellent visibility.  

How comfortable your Tiguan’s suspension is comes down to the model you choose. If comfort’s your priority, we would advise going for the S model. It gets 16-inch wheels that make it more comfortable than the rest of the range, which comes fitted with larger 17 and 18-inch wheels.

Practicality & boot space

3.6 / 5

Spacious interior and big boot means the Tiguan is very practical

The Tiguan gets a useful 470-litre boot which is more than you get in both the Nissan Qashqai and the Skoda Yeti, but 30 litres smaller than the Mazda CX-5’s. The VW’s rear seats can also slide forwards and backwards to give more or less boot space. Folding away the rear seats reveals a maximum capacity of 1,501 litres. The boot lip is also low and the boot opening large, to make it easy to load even heavy bulky items.

Passenger space in both the front and the back is excellent, and the rear seats also recline to make it easier to get comfortable. The Volkswagen also gets a range of cubbyholes that make it easy to hide any clutter.

Reliability & safety

3.6 / 5

Reliability should be first rate and safety is impeccable

The Tiguan didn’t fare too badly in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, coming 40th out of 150 cars. Surprisingly, it was marked down for reliability, while owners also complained about its uncomfortable seats and suspension.The VW finished behind rivals such as the Ford Kuga (34th), Nissan Qashqai (21st) and Mazda CX-5 (13th).

The Tiguan scored five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP, and the model gets six airbags, stability control and ISOFIX anchorage points to safely mount two child seats. Options include lane assist, which keeps the car in lane with gentle corrections to the steering, and automatic emergency braking.  

Price, value for money & options

2.5 / 5

High list price and poor equipment levels compared to rivals

All Tiguans come with air-conditioning, electronic stability control, and a DAB digital radio. The Match model makes more sense because it comes with useful equipment such as a touchscreen sat-nav, a Bluetooth phone connection, climate control, as well as front and rear parking sensors. Its 17-inch alloy wheels look nice, but will make the suspension stiffer.

The top-of-the-range R-Line model will be the least comfortable thanks to 18-inch alloy wheels and sports suspension, although it also adds powerful xenon headlights to an extensive equipment list. The Escape model, meanwhile, gets clever electronics and increased ground clearance to help it tackle steep off-road inclines. 

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"Few buyers are likely to use a Tiguan for heavy-duty off-roading but with VW's tried and tested 4MOTION four-wheel drive set-up the SUV is easily capable of light off-road duties. On tarmac the light controls and tall driving position combine with compact proportions to make it easy to drive. It is agile and all three engines provide plenty of performance."
10 / 20
"The cabin is terrific - really well-designed and finished, with VW's typical high standards of build quality. However, it's all starting to look a bit samey - get behind the wheel of a Golf and you struggle to spot the difference."
3 / 5
"VW reliability might not be as legendary as it was. But that Beastie Boy medallion still cuts some sway in snobby Surrey suburbs."
4 / 5
"The Tiguan is great to drive, thanks to responsive engines and a finely balanced chassis. It has a pleasingly smart image, too, with a classy, spacious and flexible cabin."
Last updated 
18 Jul 2014

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