The original Volkswagen Tiguan was one of the better SUVs to drive, but held back by its limited practicality. This new, second-generation model sets out to offer a much-improved all-round experience. Let’s see if it succeeds…
WHAT STANDS OUT
Tiguan for 2017 is longer and wider than the old model, and makes use of its larger dimensions to improve space inside for passengers and cargo. That includes what is arguably the biggest change: where the Tiguan’s boot space was previously one of the smallest in its class, it’s now one of the biggest, and will more easily fit items such as prams and even bicycles.
Tiguan has a healthy range of variants once again, and it’s hard to go far wrong with any of the turbocharged engine choices. The base model powers the front wheels only; other models feature all-wheel drive.
If you like sporty engines, it’s worth noting the Tiguan 162TSI, which is powered by the same engine as the iconic Golf GTI. The Tiguan can even match the hot-hatch’s 0-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds, by compensating for its extra weight with all-wheel-drive traction where the Golf is front-wheel drive only.
Standard equipment has also increased. All Tiguans include autonomous emergency braking, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, daytime running lights, and alloy wheels.
The Tiguan’s cabin presents class-leading quality, including the most important touch point, this tactile steering wheel, which is more or less identical to those in VW’s most luxurious models the Passat and Touareg.
An 8.0-inch touchscreen adds to a premium feel that helps offset its pricing that is a bit higher than the segment average.
Rear-seat passengers are treated to their own air vents, and the second-row bench slides forwards and backwards depending on whether leg or luggage space is the priority.
The middle Comfortline trim grade adds items including navigation, 3-zone climate control, and additional practical elements such as folding rear tables, storage drawers and luggage net.
Top-spec Highline models bring leather seats, ambient lighting, keyless entry, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, and an automatic tailgate among their extras.
The Volkswagen Tiguan is available in seven different configurations of trim grades and drivetrains, so there’s no shortage of options for varying budgets.
Engine and gearbox combinations are determined by trim grade. Where there’s a choice of petrol or diesel power, it largely depends on whether you prefer the sprightlier performance of petrol or the extra fuel efficiency of diesel.
Whichever way you go, the Tiguan is one of the best mid-sized SUVs to drive with a well- judged blend of refinement, comfort, and handling ability. The best ride quality comes with the addition of optional adaptive dampers.
If you have the budget for the 162TSI Highline, you have a genuine mainstream alternative to more expensive small SUVs from the luxury brands.
The Tiguan still isn’t the most affordable SUV in the mid-sized class, but it’s better than ever.
This model addresses the packaging shortfalls of its predecessor while retaining a great driving experience. Throw in a higher-quality interior and stronger equipment levels, and the Volkswagen Tiguan is a must for your shortlist.