Most Tiguans are sold with a 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, but there are also 109 and 168bhp versions, plus three petrols with 158, 177 or 208bhp. The two most powerful diesels provide useful extra muscle over the other engines, although the four-wheel-drive 138bhp model is noticeably slower than front-drive version.
Hill descent control is fitted to Escape versions for more off-road ability, but the Tiguan is primarily an on-road SUV, not a dedicated off-roader. In fact, we prefer 2WD versions of the car, because they are even better to drive than 4WD models. The firm suspension means the ride will be a little jittery for some tastes, but it also means the body doesn't roll too much in corners. There's lots of grip, too, so it's one of the most fun crossovers to drive.
Whether you choose a petrol- or diesel-powered Tiguan, you won't be disturbed too much by the engine. All are smooth when you're picking up speed, although the diesels can be grumbly at idle. There's a bit of wind noise, but there's little road noise and you barely hear a peep out of the suspension.
You won't be able to afford a Tiguan on a shoestring, but it's competitively priced compared with many rivals. Like most VWs, it holds its value well, so it's a cracking long-term investment. Running costs are also low on the 2WD models, which is another reason why they're our favourites.
The Tiguan's cabin won't win any prizes for inspiring design, but there's no faulting the high standard of construction. The materials are solid and swanky, while the fit and finish have a real Germanic solidity. Disappointingly, though, the Tiguan only scored three stars for reliability in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
Stability control, emergency brake assist and six airbags are standard, as they are on every VW from the Golf upwards, and the Tiguan's high seating position and permanent four-wheel drive (on some models) will be seen by many potential buyers as safety advantages. Deadlocks and an alarm are fitted to guard against theft.
Anyone familiar with VW Group products will feel at home in the Tiguan. The dashboard layout is neat and logical, and there's enough adjustment in the seat and wheel for most people to get comfortable. Rear visibility isn't so great, however, because of the chunky pillars and small rear screen, so we'd recommend you consider the optional rear-view parking camera.
VW's baby 4x4 is a roomy four-seater, and just about adequate for five on an occasional basis. The sliding rear seats add versatility, but when they're pushed right back, the boot is severely restricted. The boot is well shaped, however, and it's easy to fold the seats flat.
Entry-level S variants get the basics, including air-con, alloys, four electric windows, an AUX input and a digital radio. SE models are well kitted, getting dual-zone climate control, Park Assist with front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, and a USB socket, while Sport versions get part-Alcantara seats, 18-inch wheels and stiffer suspension. Escape models are the off-roaders: they have a reworked front end and extra under-body protection to tackle tougher, steeper terrain.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
The VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI 140 B'motion Tec SE is one of the best models in the range, with all the style of the more expensive models, but lower buying and owning costs. Our favourite trim, too.