Volkswagen Tiguan plug-in hybrid long-term test: report 2

This recently refreshed plug-in hybrid SUV can travel up to 30 miles on a charge. We're living with one to see if the Tiguan should be on your new car shortlist...

Volkswagen Tiguan charging

The car Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 eHybrid Elegance

Why it’s here To show that going green doesn’t mean compromising on longer journeys, even if you can’t charge at home

Needs to Be economical, both around town and on the motorway, offer a comfortable and refined experience, and function as a mobile office when needed

Mileage 1642 List price £39,640 Target Price £39,056 Price as tested £40,695 Test economy 97.4mpg Official economy 153.2mpg

13 May 2022 – Plug and play

The electric car chargers in the road where I have am-dram rehearsals twice a week have been playing up recently. Sometimes they won't release the car’s cable at the end of charging, and at others they fail to charge it up at all.

When I ran a purely electric car, this introduced an element of peril each time I planned to charge up there, but with my plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Volkswagen Tiguan there’s no such trouble.

If I can see that any of the three chargers are out of order (the units have a helpful green or red light to show whether they’re working), or have claimed yet another cable from a stricken car, I simply glide past. With a PHEV, I know that when I run out of battery charge, there’s a petrol engine to pick up the slack.

I can't charge up a car at home, so I’m often on the look-out for convenient charging locations, and although the PHEV set-up eliminates 'range anxiety', I still take extra care when I’m running low on battery.

Volkswagen Tiguan E-Mode button

You see, even though plug-in hybrids can be wonderfully efficient, they’re less so when they run out of electric power, largely due to the hefty weight of their battery packs. Indeed, my Tiguan flashes up warning message prompting me to charge the battery once it hits empty.

That means I want to hold on to my charge for as long as possible, which is why I usually flip the Tiguan’s E-Mode switch into its hybrid setting. That allows the engine and electric motor to work together, rather than leaving it to run on electric power until the battery has been drained then relying solely on the engine.

I do wish I could choose this mode as the default, though – my Tiguan reverts to electric-only mode as standard, meaning I have to change to the hybrid setting at the start of every journey. Obviously, if you can charge up at home overnight, that's not likely to bother you.

Volkswagen Tiguan cable storage

Speaking of charging, I'm really impressed with the generous storage area given over to the Tiguan’s cables. There's a deep trough under the boot floor that takes them easily so they don't snake all over the boot making it look untidy.

That might sound like a small thing, but with some electric cars I've struggled to pack the cables back into the nooks they first arrived in – and details like that can make or break the electrified driving experience.

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