Volkswagen’s new compact SUV drives as well as it looks
Pros: Sharp new looks, spacious interior, engaging drive
Cons: Premium pricing, not a true off-roader
Volkswagen has recently launched a new second generation Tiguan that offers more space, revised engines and most noticeably, a much-sharpened exterior for 2016. Bridging the realms of affordability and luxury, the new Tiguan is a strong alternative to other compact SUVs on the market like the new Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar and BMW X1, and arguably tops the class in terms of quality. That said, the Tiguan comes with a higher price tag than many of the best selling cars in the class, but those seeking a higher quality finish and that ever-desirable Volkswagen badge won’t be disappointed.
What is it like?
The new Tiguan is a breath of fresh air in the styling stakes, with a striking new grill, larger bumpers and strip-style headlights from the front. As it sits on a longer and wider platform than before, it has more road presence, particularly when equipped with larger alloy wheels like the Highline specification model that we drove. Of all the mid-sized SUVs in Volkswagen’s stable including the new SEAT Ateca, it’s arguably the best looking and will command strong residuals in years to come as a result. The high quality finish continues as you step inside with sturdy switches, a neatly-arranged dashboard and soft touch plastics in the driver’s area.
The new Tiguan is considerably larger inside than the old model and there is enough space to seat four tall adults in comfort. The dashboard features a new touch-screen arrangement which lends the centre console a neat look. The infotainment system is very easy to use and displays media vibrantly, while high-specification models also get digital speedo displays. Those seeking practicality will be impressed as there are plenty of storage areas throughout the cabin, and the rear seats are three-way split folding which is ideal for bulkier loads. Boot space is plentiful at 615 litres, and well on par with the likes of the BMW X3 and Nissan Qashqai. There isn’t a lot to dislike about the Tiguan’s interior, save for some less impressive plastic finishing lower down on the doors.
There are several different engine choices in Ireland, and we tested what is likely to be the volume seller, the 150hp 2.0-litre turbo diesel. Despite the large platform of the Tiguan, it accelerates strongly and cruises comfortably at high motorway speeds. Although the 2.0-litre diesel isn’t the quietest diesel engine on the market, it is nonetheless refined and feels well matched to the six speed manual gearbox. Buyers can also opt for a seven-speed DSG transmission along with Volkswagen’s 4 Motion four-wheel drive system, which is useful for slippier conditions, but it’s not a true off-roader like the Land Rover Discovery Sport or Jeep Cherokee.
We consistently achieved 6.0-litres per 100 kilometres in fuel economy (45mpg) during our test, while road tax comes in at a respectable €280 for the year. There are three different specifications to choose from in Ireland with Trendline, Comfortline and R-Line. As standard it’s well equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, electric and heated mirrors, rain sensing wipers, a tyre pressure monitoring system and lane departure warning featured. Our higher specification Highline model had some notable extras including an R-Line interior and exterior upgrade pack including 19-inch Sebring alloy wheels, LED headlights, upgraded bumpers and R-line style seats and steering wheel for a sportier finish.
Carzone verdict: 4.5/5
The new Tiguan is undoubtedly a much more wholesome proposition than the car it replaces. While it offers the practicality and family-friendliness of the Nissan Qashqai, it also offers an upmarket feel nearer to the BMW X1, which makes it highly desirable. The base petrol version starts from €359 per month with PCP finance, but we’d forgo that in favour of the superior diesel. The new Tiguan looks set to become another highly successful model for Volkswagen in 2017, and if you’re looking for an SUV that drives just as well as it looks, it should make your shortlist.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Volkswagen Tiguan Highline BMT
Prices from: €36,015
Price as tested: €40,403
Annual Road Tax: €280
Engine: 1968cc four-cylinder diesel
Power/Torque: 150bhp, 340Nm
Top Speed: 204 km/h
0-100km/h: 8.9 seconds
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 470 litres
Euro NCAP Safety Rating: 5 Stars