Volkswagen’s popular SUV the Tiguan gets a beefed-up new look.
PUBLISHED: 15:25 24 October 2016
MARTIN MEINERS PHOTOGRAPHY
If you’re responsible for coming up with a new version of your third best-selling model, then you’d probably play it safe.
That’s what Volkswagen has done with the new Tiguan, but that’s not to say it’s boring. The new style makes the old model look quite plain, thanks to a bunch of sharp edges, a bold grille, and an increase in size. It’s also visibly longer and wider, but also a bit lower, giving the Tiguan a much more muscular stance and some real road presence.
There are lots of engine options; two petrol options (1.4 and 2.0-litre) and four diesel options, all of which are two litres. The entry-level 112bhp diesel is good value, while the 237bhp bi-turbo offers pace, but it’s the 148bhp, mid-range model that will sell best in the UK, so that’s what I’ve got to test.
It’s got to work a little hard to keep the 1.6 tonnes of Tiguan moving along, but it’s refined (apart from when it’s under stress) and economical, with any diesel clatter disappearing to a distant rumble when up to speed.
It’s in the mid-range that the engine’s flexibility shows, such as when starting an overtaking move from 30mph, but the performance alone is never going to leave you grinning. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with the handling, but it never engages or entertains. Instead, it’s a case of Volkswagen making life as safe and easy as possible, and the lack of thrills is rewarded with a wonderfully luxuriant ride quality, so the Tiguan is no worse for that.
The interior style is almost identical to its Golf cousin, but the material quality is excellent and everything is laid out in a logical fashion. Despite having a lower roofline, Volkswagen has squeezed in more headroom than previously, and there’s plenty of shoulder room all round. Those in the second row of seats also get plenty of space but, while seven seats are available, those right at the back aren’t really suitable for much more than small children or very short journeys.
All but the ‘S’ spec models are well equipped, and will satisfy most drivers including, crucially, most teenagers. An 8-inch touchscreen connects to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, allowing mobile phone app-based navigation or music streaming. CamConnect even allows anxious parents to wirelessly attach a GoPro camera to the system, providing a view of sleeping (or fighting) children without needing to turn round and take your eyes off the road. There’s even an optional connection to allow connection of a tablet via wi-fi, giving control of the car’s infotainment functions to those in the back seats.
That all comes at a significant cost though, with the Tiguan priced closer to the likes of the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA than it is to the Ford Kuga or even SEAT Ateca. This mid-range car, with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox, will cost cash buyers a hefty £27,310, but residual values are expected to be comparable to its premium rivals which will help ease the pain.
SEAT’s new SUV might appeal at that point, but the Ateca misses out on the premium feel that Volkswagen has engineered into the Tiguan, something you can’t really put a price on. It’s also not as spacious or practical.
Which makes the Tiguan the complete package. Just.