There are two buzzwords the car industry loves at the moment. One is ‘premium’, denoting something that connotes with luxury or aspirations thereof; the other is ‘SUV’, which, as you’re probably aware, refers to the current breed of off roaders that aren’t quite so good off road.
As you can imagine, then, a premium SUV sits right at the very apex of desirability, so it’s no wonder car makers are scrambling to build them – or, failing that, to try to brand them as such in their marketing. Take the Volkswagen Tiguan, which was, until recently, nothing more than a smart family SUV; now, however, higher prices and chintzier fittings suggest Volkswagen is trying to push it upmarket, with the result that it’s encroaching on the territory of more aspirational rivals.
Rivals such as the Range Rover Evoque. It might be a little long in the tooth now, but the Evoque remains perennially popular, thanks to its smart looks and an image to die for. Of course, it doesn't come cheap for that very reason; if you buy one new, you'll have to spend considerably more than you will to buy a Tiguan. Buying one that's a couple of years old, however, brings it within reach – but is it worth foregoing the benefits of a brand new car for a genuine slice of automotive aspiration? Time to find out.
Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI BMT 150 SE Nav List Price: £28,910 Target price: £26,666 Official fuel economy: 58.9mpg Emissions: 125g/km CO2 Power: 148bhp 0-62mph: 9.3sec Top speed: 127mph
Range Rover Evoque 2.0 TD4 180 SE Tech 5dr Price new: £34,800 Price today: £27,000 Official fuel economy: 59.5mpg Emissions: 125g/km CO2 Power: 178bhp 0-62mph: 10.0sec Top speed: 124mph
Price today is based on a 2016 model with average mileage and a full service history
New Volkswagen Tiguan vs used Range Rover Evoque – interior & equipment
Of these two cars, it’s the Evoque that’s the more immediately pleasing when you climb aboard, thanks to a broad selection of materials that keep the interior smart and light; by contrast, the Tiguan’s interior is rather darker and feels less special, although when you start to touch the plastics and switches, you actually find it’s just as well built.
The Evoque is undoubtedly the better equipped of the two cars as standard, though, coming with electrically-adjustable leather seats – heated in the front – sat-nav, a heated windscreen, and dual-zone climate control. The Tiguan gets tri-zone climate control – meaning those in the back get their own settings to play with – as well as sat-nav, but misses out on some of the other trinkets, ultimately adding to the slightly more utilitarian feel.
However, while the Tiguan isn’t as special inside, it’s easier to use; some of the switches are more sensibly placed, while the infotainment system is more simple, more responsive and altogether easier to get to grips with.
New Volkswagen Tiguan vs used Range Rover Evoque – space & practicality
Both of these are family SUVs with five doors, but their approach to practicality couldn’t be more different. The Volkswagen Tiguan is the larger of the two cars, and as you might guess from the boxier looks, by far the more practical.
In the boot, for example, whether you have the seats upright or folded down, there’s room for about two additional suitcases. In the rear seats, meanwhile, there’s more head, leg and shoulder room in the Tiguan. Up front, the difference between the two cars narrows, but you still get more room in the VW.
The Tiguan trumps the Evoque in terms of versatility, too. Its rear seats slide forward and backward, recline, and fold in a 40/20/40 formation, folding nice and flat when they do so. By contrast, the Evoque’s rear seats have none of these neat tricks to offer, and only fold in a 60/40 format, making them far less flexible. You also miss out on the folding front seat that comes as standard in the Tiguan.