In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Tiguan SUV - Engines, drive & performance

Petrol and diesel engines perform well and the Volkswagen Tiguan is comfortable

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

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Owners Rating

3.8 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Tiguan won't set pulses racing, but it's very quiet and smooth, especially when fitted with the optional Dynamic Chassis Control, which allows you to adjust how firm the suspension is. When in Comfort mode, these adaptive dampers can make the Tiguan very smooth, even over poor road surfaces and with the larger 20-inch wheels fitted.

The top-of-the-range R-Line Tech trim turns this on its head. While the model's sports suspension means the Tiguan feels more composed at speed and has more agile steering, it's less comfortable over bumps in the road. Unfortunately, however, this sporty suspension setup doesn't completely resolve the car's propensity to lean under heavy cornering.

The steering has plenty of ‘feel’ so the Tiguan is easy to place accurately and with confidence. In general terms, the VW does a good job of isolating you from wind and road noise and feels very car-like and easy to handle.

Volkswagen Tiguan diesel engines

While the 113bhp diesel feels a little slower than needs be, the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine suits the Tiguan well, easily coping with the car’s weight. Volkswagen's DSG automatic gearbox is also smooth and responsive in most situations, but if you put your foot down in a hurry, it can take its time to think about which gear it needs to select. We prefer this engine over the more potent 187bhp diesel, which has a curiously uneven power delivery that makes the Tiguan hard to drive smoothly.

Go for the even more powerful 237bhp twin-turbo diesel, however, and you've got a surprisingly quick car on your hands. The prodigious power is available from low revs all the way up the range which means it can deal with overtakes easily, while it's also great for towing. It'll get from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds – 1.4 seconds quicker than the 187bhp diesel.

Like that car, the 237bhp version is only available with four-wheel drive and the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which seems to suit it better than the 187bhp version; it swaps gears smoothly and quickly in automatic mode, while also responding quickly to any manual inputs you make with the steering-wheel-mounted paddles.

It’s difficult to recommend the 237bhp diesel, however, when you consider that it’s more expensive to buy and to run than the 187bhp model, and the latter can do everything the more powerful model does, apart from offering mildly snappier performance.

Petrol engines

When experienced in other VW Group products, the 2.0-litre petrol engine is generally smooth and powerful. However, in the Tiguan it’s only available with four-wheel drive, which bumps up its CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. For buyers who don’t need four-wheel drive, the most powerful 148bhp 1.5-litre engine is the best petrol, as it’s less expensive and more economical while still swift, with 0-62mph taking 9.2 seconds.

Volkswagen is also introducing a range-topping Tiguan R that uses the same 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine used in the Cupra Ateca and Volkswagen T-Roc R. Power has been increased to 316bhp and it also gets four-wheel drive, an upgraded chassis and larger brakes to cope with the extra power.

Whichever engine you choose, the Tiguan is a quiet car to travel in. Only the wind rushing around the door mirrors disturbs the calm slightly, although this is by no means intrusive. There’s a little noise from the engines when worked hard, but this is true in all but the most luxurious cars.

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