Volkswagen Tiguan SUV review
“The Volkswagen Tiguan is a premium alternative to models like the Nissan Qashqai, with plenty of space and impressive technology and engines”
- Quiet and smooth on the move
- Large, well shaped boot
- Nicely finished interior
- Top-spec models expensive
- Not as efficient as some rivals
- Sports suspension is uncomfortable
The second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan is a car that didn’t offer any major advancements over the original when it arrived but its popularity suggests that it didn't really need to; it's now VW's most popular model globally. The latest version is a popular choice in the medium family SUV market, and it gets sharper styling and upgraded technology thanks to an update for 2020.
Its nose and boot came in for a nip and tuck, and new technology from the latest Golf was added inside - that included an upgraded infotainment system.
Practicality continues to be an important part of the Tiguan's appeal; it makes for a logical step up from a Volkswagen Golf for a growing family. There are clever sliding rear seats and a generous 615-litre boot, in a bid to keep rivals like the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Skoda Karoq and premium models like the Mercedes GLC and BMW X1 at bay.
As is the common theme with other Volkswagen models, the Tiguan comes with a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines. Before the mid-2020 update, the Tiguan was available with four – a 1.5-litre TSI with either 128 or 148bhp, and a 2.0-litre with 187bhp or 227bhp. The line-up is likely to be tweaked but exact details have yet to be confirmed.
Thanks to their greater fuel economy, diesel engines have traditionally been popular with Tiguan buyers. There have been four to choose from, starting with the good-value 113bhp model, rising to 148bhp and 187bhp, all the way to a twin-turbocharged 237bhp engine that can only be chosen with 4MOTION four-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automatic DSG gearbox. As part of the most recent update, there's a new version of the 148bhp diesel with lower CO2 emissions, but it's not yet known if more powerful diesels will be offered.
There are also two new Tiguan models - a plug-in hybrid called eHybrid and a high-performance Tiguan R with 316bhp. The former has a petrol engine, electric motor and battery, with an electric range of up to 31 miles. S is the name given to the entry-level model, and even that is relatively generously equipped – Match and SEL serve to add more convenience features and luxury. A sportier look is also available from the aggressively styled R-Line Tech, with its angular bodykit and model-specific alloy wheels, while a sports steering wheel enlivens the interior. Trim levels shift for the facelifted car, adopting the same convention as the Golf. There'll be an entry-level version, followed by Life, Elegance and R-Line. Being a Volkswagen, there's an extensive options list, too, and it's easy to take the Tiguan's price tag far higher than where it started.
Importantly for families, the Tiguan achieved a five-star rating in independent Euro NCAP crash-testing, with an impressive 96% score for adult occupant safety and 84% for its protection of younger passengers. The latest Tiguan came 51st in our annual Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.
As a good-looking, practical and well equipped family SUV, the Tiguan is a great all-round package, and more than a match for the Peugeot 5008 or Renault Kadjar. Its image and desirability are very much in its favour, too, and you're very unlikely to struggle to find a buyer when it comes time to sell. Our top pick is the quiet 1.5-litre petrol paired with front-wheel drive and a DSG automatic for low company-car tax. In Match trim, the car comes loaded with all the kit most families should ever need.