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

Owners Rating

3.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews
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

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 preferred this engine over the more potent 187bhp diesel, which had a curiously uneven power delivery that made the Tiguan hard to drive smoothly, and is no longer available. It has been replaced with the same 197bhp diesel engine fitted in the Volkswagen Golf GTD.

The more powerful 237bhp twin-turbo diesel was a surprisingly quick car. The prodigious power available from low revs all the way up the range meant it dealt with overtakes easily.

Petrol engines

For buyers who don’t need four-wheel drive, the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine is arguably the sweet spot of the Tiguan range.

There isn't a huge amount of pulling power to get the Tiguan moving but above 3,000rpm there's a reasonable turn of speed, with 0-62mph taking nine seconds. The six-speed manual is good, with a light and precise action.

A 2.0-litre petrol engine is also available with two power outputs and gets four-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard. The base 178bhp version is a decent performer, going from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds, which is a healthy increase over the smaller petrol engine. Opt for the 242bhp version and you get the same engine as the latest Golf GTI. This gives the Tiguan a serious performance boost, with 0-62mph taking six 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.

Recommended

Volkswagen Tiguan SUV review
Volkswagen Tiguan SUV steering wheel
Volkswagen Tiguan
3 Sep 2021

Volkswagen Tiguan SUV review

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace now on sale
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace - front 3/4 dynamic
Volkswagen
12 Aug 2021

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace now on sale

Top 10 best medium size and family SUVs 2021
Peugeot 3008 SUV front cornering
Peugeot 3008
29 Jul 2021

Top 10 best medium size and family SUVs 2021

Volkswagen Tiguan vs Volkswagen ID.4: rivals comparison
Volkswagen Tiguan vs ID.4 header
Volkswagen
2 Jul 2021

Volkswagen Tiguan vs Volkswagen ID.4: rivals comparison

Most Popular

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed
Toyota RAV4 Adventure
Toyota RAV4
14 Sep 2021

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed

New Volkswagen Passat set to launch in 2023
2023 Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat
9 Sep 2021

New Volkswagen Passat set to launch in 2023

Top 10 best small estates 2021
Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda Octavia Estate
16 Sep 2021

Top 10 best small estates 2021

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks