First Drive

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion Outdoor pack review

The new Volkswagen Tiguan gets an optional package to help it off the beaten track: it's a useful addition

Words ByDoug Revolta

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The Volkswagen Tiguan SUV is now available with an β€˜Outdoor’ pack to help it perform a little better off-road.

The pack is a Β£350 optional extra and increases the Tiguan's angle of approach and departure. This means that there is not as much overhang at the front and back of the car as there is on standard models, which should help avoid unwanted scrapes and bumps when tackling jutted off-road terrain.

It also adds some protection underneath the front of the car, as well as chrome door sill protectors to help protect against scratches when stepping into and out of the car.

It’s available with any engine on SE, SE Nav and SEL trims, even in two-wheel drive guise. Our Outdoor test model was a four-wheel-drive Tiguan powered by a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

What’s the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion Outdoor pack like to drive?

The Outdoor pack doesn’t affect how the Tiguan drives on-road, which means it’s still a very capable SUV but without being scintilating. The steering is quite light for an SUV. This isn’t a hindrance when driving in town, but it would be preferable if it became a bit heavier at motorway speeds. Other than that, it's safe and predictable when cornering.

Four-wheel-drive Tiguans are quite well-equipped for off-roading as it is. They get an improved ground clearance of 20cm, which is 11mm more than front-wheel-drive models. Driving modes that help in off-road conditions also come as standard with four-wheel drive, so the Tiguan can control its own speed and braking when ascending or descending hills.

All this works well, but the majority of buyers will use their Tiguans for motorway journeys or the school run rather than adventuring off the beaten track, and in truth car is better suited to the former anyway.

This 2.0-litre diesel engine offers a good blend of performance and economy and feels strong enough to cope with towing duties should the need arise. An electric towbar can be added for an extra Β£715, and the four-wheel drive model can tow up to 2500kg, which is 500kg more than front-wheel-drive Tiguans.

Volkswagen's seven-speed automatic gearbox does a good job of smoothly shifting through the gears. We’d recommend keeping it in the normal driving mode rather than Sport, because that has a habit of holding onto gears for too long, exposing the engine's gruff top end. That said, keep it in its sweet spot and the engine remains quite quiet.

What’s the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion Outdoor pack like inside?

There’s certainly a sense of improved cabin quality for this new model compared with the one it replaces. The latest model feels more closely aligned to premium brands such as BMW and Audi than its natural rival, the Nissan Qashqai, in that respect.

The Tiguan's soft-touch plastics look and feel decent, and the dashboard is clearly laid out with all of the major controls angled towards the driver for ease of use. This SEL model comes with a lot of equipment and exchanges the analogue instruments for a 12.3in screen that can display things like sat-nav maps and media info.

It’s also easy to find a comfortable driving position, thanks to a height adjustable driver’s seat and fully adjustable steering wheel. There’s ample front head and leg room, and ’s plenty of cubbyholes and big door bins that offer useful storage options.

The new Tiguan also has nearly 3cm more rear leg room than the old car, and head room is excellent. The car will easily fit two tall adults in the back, or three at a bit of a squeeze. The boot is one of the best in class. It has no load lip and the rear seats fold 40/20/40 using convenient levers by the tailgate. With the rear seats down, there’s a completely flat load deck if you raise the boot's dual-height floor.

Should I buy one?

The Tiguan remains a well-rounded SUV, if a little pricier than its strongest rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai. It has a high quality and spacious interior, is pleasing to drive on the road and this particular model can certainly cope with occasional light off-roading.

Indeed, if you do live in an area that has particularly challenging terrain, then at Β£350, the Outdoor pack makes financial sense, ensuring the car is a bit more practical for traversing muddier territory. Ultimately, though, we’d still recommend that most buyers stick with a two-wheel drive Tiguan with a manual gearbox for the best value package.

This particular model’s high price also pushes it towards the more premium side of the class, and in particular the Land Rover Discovery Sport. For similar money, that's likely to be considerably more capable off-road should you really need that capability.

What Car? says...

Rated 4 out of 5

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The rivals:

BMW X1

Audi Q3

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion Outdoor pack

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

Price from Β£33,160

Power 148bhp

Torque 251lb ft

0-62mph 9.3sec

Top speed 124mph

Fuel economy (official combined) 49.6mpg

CO2/BIK band 149g/km/29%