We use cookies on whatcar.com to improve your browsing experience and to provide you with relevant content and advertising, by continuing to use our site you agree to this. Please see our privacy policy for more details. Continue

What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Refined cabin; efficient engines; roomy

Against Firm ride; limited off-road capability; high prices

Verdict A smart and relaxing crossover, with reasonable running costs and resale values.

Go for… 2.0 TDI 140 Bluemotion

Avoid… 2.0 TSI 200 R Line 4Motion

Volkswagen Tiguan Crossover
  • 1. VW badge ensures Tiguans aren't cheap to buy
  • 2. There have been reports of auto parking brake failing
  • 3. Door handles can stick in the open position.
  • 4. Engine failures have been known, but are rare.
advertisement

Volkswagen Tiguan Crossover full review with expert trade views

The Tiguan was Volkswagen’s first crossover and adheres to the company’s usual strengths of quality and refinement.

This VW is a practical car, with room for up to five, and rear seats that slide to favour legroom or boot space. At 505 litres, the loadspace isn’t the biggest, but it’s a useful, rectangular shape without awkward intrusions.

Drivers sit low in the cabin, giving a car-like feel, and the dashboard is logically laid out and built from high-quality materials. All models come with decent safety kit, including stability control, side- and window airbags, and ISOFIX child seat mounts.

The Tiguan is far from perfect to drive, but it's not offensive, either. While the stiff suspension brings a slightly unsettled ride at lower speeds, it settles down nicely as the speed increases to become a relaxed and composed cruiser.

Trade view

Look out for the Bluemotion editions of the diesels – they’re frugal and good to drive.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The Tiguan's engine range is designed with economy in mind, and initially included a 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol and a 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel. In 2008, these were joined by a 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel and two 2.0-litre petrols with 168bhp or 197bhp. However, we prefer the refined and efficient 138bhp Bluemotion version of the 2.0-litre diesel.

Despite its 4x4 looks, the Tiguan isn’t really built for off-road use, but VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is available across the range. It is an advantage in slippery conditions, but pushes up running costs.

There are five trims: the entry-level S model is well equipped, with air-con and an MP3-compatible stereo, but the Match adds a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a touch-screen stereo and parking sensors. Sport models have firmer suspension, automatic headlights and front sports seats, while the top-of-the-range R-line has a sporty bodykit, aluminum-effect pedals and a multifunction steering wheel. The Escape 4x4 models have underside chassis protection and hill descent control.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on all Tiguans, but Volkswagen’s slick DSG automatic 'box is an option on the larger petrol and diesel models.

Trade view

Desirable, practical and so far reliable – there’s plenty to like about the Tiguan

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The VW badge on the front means Tiguans aren’t cheap to buy, but slower-than average depreciation will save money in the long run.

The Tiguan’s fuel consumption is on a par with its rivals', which include the Ford Kuga and Toyota RAV4. It is also noticeably more efficient than the off-road capable Land Rover Freelander. The diesel Bluemotion model will return an impressive average of 53.3mpg, with even the sportiest petrol version returning 32.8mpg.

Stick to the diesel models and the Tiguan won't be too expensive to tax, with CO2 emissions ranging from 139g/km to 189g/km. The larger petrol models emit 199g/km. This is on a par with rivals' cars of this type.

The smaller petrol Tiguans sit in groups 15-16, while the larger-capacity petrol-engined four-wheel-drive models rise to groups 20-21.

Main dealer servicing can be expensive, but the VW stamp in the service book will help protect resale values. Rates vary wildly, so try a number of dealers for the best quote.

Trade view

Look out for the Bluemotion editions of the diesels – they’re frugal and good to drive.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Mechanically, the Tiguan shares many components with the Golf – which has a proven reliability record – so there shouldn’t be any unpleasant surprises once the warranty has expired.

However, there have been issues with the automatic parking brake failing to release, particularly when on a slope. This can cause damage as the engine drags the car forward. Replacement parts can be expensive, so make sure the parking brake works correctly, with no warning lights.

Exterior rear door handles have also been known to stick in the open position, preventing the doors from closing when shut from the inside. This fault stems from a design flaw, which requires the door to be dismantled and corrected under warranty.

Check the air-conditioning blows both cold and hot air, because a small number of owners have reported problems in this area. The problem stems from an issue with the air-con's switchgear, rather than the more expensive compressor or condenser.

Serious engine and fuel pump failures have also occurred, although these are rare.

Trade view

Desirable, practical and so far reliable – there’s plenty to like about the Tiguan

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
Haymarket Logo What Car? is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media
What Car? is part of Haymarket Motoring
© Haymarket Media Group 2014