Volkswagen Tiguan review

Category: Family SUV

The 2024 Tiguan is a little pricey but in other respects it's a very fine family SUV

Blue VW Tiguan front cornering
  • Blue VW Tiguan front cornering
  • Blue VW Tiguan rear right driving
  • Lawrence Cheung test driving VW Tiguan
  • Blue VW Tiguan boot open
  • VW Tiguan infotainment touchscreen
  • Blue VW Tiguan right driving
  • Blue VW Tiguan front left driving
  • Blue VW Tiguan front right driving
  • Blue VW Tiguan rear left driving
  • Blue VW Tiguan left static boot open
  • Blue VW Tiguan rear static boot open
  • VW Tiguan interior front seats
  • VW Tiguan interior back seats
  • VW Tiguan interior steering wheel
  • VW Tiguan interior detail
  • VW Tiguan interior detail
  • VW Tiguan interior detail
  • Blue VW Tiguan front cornering
  • Blue VW Tiguan rear right driving
  • Lawrence Cheung test driving VW Tiguan
  • Blue VW Tiguan boot open
  • VW Tiguan infotainment touchscreen
  • Blue VW Tiguan right driving
  • Blue VW Tiguan front left driving
  • Blue VW Tiguan front right driving
  • Blue VW Tiguan rear left driving
  • Blue VW Tiguan left static boot open
  • Blue VW Tiguan rear static boot open
  • VW Tiguan interior front seats
  • VW Tiguan interior back seats
  • VW Tiguan interior steering wheel
  • VW Tiguan interior detail
  • VW Tiguan interior detail
  • VW Tiguan interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but VW has decided it's time to give us a new version of its best-selling model globally – the Volkswagen Tiguan.

This third-generation Tiguan flaunts a modern exterior design, while its underpinnings are a development of its predecessor’s, making way for new on-board tech to help the popular family SUV deliver a more polished drive than before.

Meanwhile, the overhauled interior offers a little more space, and buyers get lots of trim levels to choose from, plus a range of engines, including two petrol plug-in hybrids.

So, should buyers looking for a car that offers a combination of family-friendly practicality and a relatively upmarket image simply go out and buy a Tiguan? Well, before you do, read on to find out how it compares with the best family SUVs out there.

We'll tell you how we rate the latest VW Tiguan against more value-focused contenders, such as the Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq. We'll also consider the highly competent Kia Sportage, the stylish Mini Countryman and premium-badged alternatives, including the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40.


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Overview

The VW Tiguan offers generous space for occupants, a big boot and fine driving manners, but its higher costs count against it. A Skoda Karoq is better value, while the Volvo XC40 can be had for the same cost as a mid-rung Tiguan. For private buyers, the 1.5 TSI 150 Life is the one to go for, while company car drivers will be better off with the eHybrid.

  • Well-judged ride and handling balance
  • Has a large boot and great seating flexibility
  • Roomier than many rivals
  • Higher trims have to contend with upmarket rivals
  • Option packs drive up the price
  • Slightly coarse 1.5-litre petrol engine
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Strengths

  • +Neat body control
  • +Well-weighted steering
  • +Optional adaptive suspension brings a fine ride

Weaknesses

  • -Vocal 1.5-litre engine
  • -Some road noise on the motorway
  • -Occasionally jerky brake pedal response

Engine-wise, the VW Tiguan covers most bases. There's a choice of familiar pure-petrol (TSI) , pure-diesel (TDI) and mild-hybrid petrol engines (eTSI) from launch, with the option of front or four-wheel drive, depending on the version.

From mid 2024 there will also be a choice of two eHybrid plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models, with power outputs of 201bhp and 268bhp. Both can officially cover a competitive 62 miles on electricity alone.

The Tiguan range kicks off with a 1.5-litre petrol engine, which is available with 129bhp (as the eTSI 130) or 148bhp (eTSI 150). Both come with mild-hybrid assistance to bolster performance and fuel economy. The eTSI 130 officially takes 10.6 seconds to sprint from 0-62mph.

When we tested the eTSI 150, it managed a 0-60mph time of 9.0 seconds, making it slightly slower than a Volvo XC40 B3 (8.7 seconds) and a Mini Countryman C (8.4 seconds). While it needs revving fairly hard to get the very best out of it, there's plenty of muscle available in everyday driving.

The only minor demerit is there’s a slight hesitancy when setting off from stationary, otherwise the automatic gearbox will eagerly change down a gear when you need a burst of acceleration – especially when you twist the gear selector from D (Drive) to S (Sport).

Volkswagen Tiguan image
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If you’d prefer to run on diesel, you'll want the 2.0 TDI, which has 148bhp and an official 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds. We've driven it in prototype form and found it to have plenty of grunt, especially at low speed.

Meanwhile, a pair of more powerful 2.0-litre TSI petrol options equipped with four-wheel drive will arrive later, offering 201bhp or 261bhp. A new-generation Tiguan R performance version has not been confirmed.

The Tiguan’s suspension is tuned slightly more towards the firmer end of the scale, but it rounds off bumps comfortably without jostling occupants around in their seats.

It’s well controlled most of the time (with occasional choppiness above town speeds) but an XC40 does an even better job of isolating occupants from bumps and potholes to provide a calm, cosseting ride. The Countryman isn’t far behind.

You can add adaptive suspension, called DCC Pro on R-Line trim or as part of the optional Dynamic Driving Package, which allows you to soften or firm up the suspension by selecting Comfort or Sport drive modes.

In its softest setting, the Tiguan rides serenely and quietly on rough roads, with very little float over undulations. In its stiffest mode, the ride is more settled and it smothers bumps far better than a BMW X1 with adaptive suspension – even on our test car’s large 20in wheels.

While the X1 is keener to turn in to bends, the Tiguan strikes a good balance of comfort with agility. The well-weighted steering inspires confidence and its neat body control allows you to thread your way down a country road at a reasonable pace. It doesn’t have as much outright grip as an XC40 or Countryman, but the Tiguan feels more polished to drive than a Nissan Qashqai or Vauxhall Grandland.

Because the Tiguan’s 1.5-litre petrol engine frequently visits the higher end of the rev range, it’s more vocal than the XC40 B3 and Countryman C. The Tiguan also generates slightly more road noise than those rivals at motorway speeds, but it’s not enough for it to be a bugbear; this is still a reasonably quiet cruiser.

The mild hybrid system on the 1.5-litre eTSI switches the engine on or off quickly and smoothly, while a coasting function helps further reduce fuel consumption. Regenerative braking helps harvest electricity when you apply the brake pedal, but the inconsistent response can sometimes make it tricky to slow down smoothly.

“The optional DCC adaptive suspension has an Individual mode that lets you fine-tune it to your exact taste, with 15 degrees of firmness to choose from.” – Will Nightingale, Reviews Editor

Blue VW Tiguan rear right driving

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Strengths

  • +Comfortable driving position
  • +Good material quality

Weaknesses

  • -Fiddly touch-sensitive ventilation controls

Getting comfortable in the latest VW Tiguan is easy, thanks to plenty of adjustment from the seat and steering wheel. Power adjustable lumbar support for the front seats is standard on Life trim and above, while Elegance trim includes massaging seats and an adjustable seat base for additional thigh support.

The Tiguan gives you a great view out of the front windscreen, while large side windows and relatively slim rear pillars help provide a clearer view when looking over your shoulder than in an XC40.

To make parking a doddle, all versions come with front and rear parking sensors, as well as a rear-view camera. Elegance trim adds a 360-degree camera.

Automatic LED headlights come as standard across the range while Life trim will automatically switch on high beams for you.

All versions come with a versatile 10.3in digital instrument panel that looks sharp and offers all sorts of useful information. The optional Infotainment Package Plus adds a head-up display.

The most prominent update is a freestanding infotainment touchscreen that measures 12.9in. A whopping 15.0in screen (that’s as big as in a Tesla Model Y) is available as part of the Infotainment Package Plus.

The larger screen is impressive, but either version uses the brand’s latest software and is a big improvement over older VW systems. You get sharp, vibrant graphics and a quick response to inputs. Life trim and above includes wireless phone-charging, sat-nav and a voice control system that recognises natural speech.

While you can customise shortcut icons at the top corner of the screen to aid usability, some of the climate control functions are integrated into a sub-menu. At least the temperature and heated seat settings are permanently on display.

Meanwhile, the touch pads below the screen that adjust the temperature can be quite fiddly to use, but at least they light up so you can use them in the dark, unlike in the VW ID 3. Likewise, you get proper buttons on the steering wheel for cruise control and audio settings, rather than fiddly haptic controls like the ID 3's.

On the lower centre console, a rotary dial with an integrated OLED display allows you to easily adjust the volume or scroll through the drive modes.

The Tiguan’s smart interior offers plenty of soft-touch, leather-like materials on the doors and dashboard, while gloss black and silver trim finishers add a bit of visual flair. Life trim comes with a strip of ambient lighting on the dash, while Elegance and R-Line versions have additional patterned lighting on the dash and doors. The controls and switches operate with reassuring precision.

You'll find some hard, scratchy plastics lower down on the dashboard, but it's kept away from the areas you touch regularly. Even so, upmarket rivals such as the Genesis GV70, the Range Rover Evoque and the XC40 have classier interiors that better conceal their cheaper materials.

“I like the physical rotary controller on the centre console, but it’s a shame it doesn’t operate more of the touchscreen’s functions.” – Steve Huntingford, Editor

Lawrence Cheung test driving VW Tiguan

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Strengths

  • +Lots of space for occupants and their luggage
  • +Versatile rear seats

Weaknesses

  • -None that we’ve seen so far

There’s plenty of head and leg room in the front of the VW Tiguan for even the tallest of occupants, and storage space is impressive too.

The front door pockets will each hold a fairly large bottle and there’s a cubby below the centre armrest with two cupholders. There’s also space for a pair of phones on a rubberised tray below the centre air vents.

Leg room is generous in the rear seats, with plenty of space for feet underneath the front seats. There’s plenty of head room for 6ft tall occupant in the back, and there’s still a small amount of clearance from the roof lining with the optional panoramic roof fitted.

If you’re only carrying a couple of rear passengers, they can use the central armrest, which includes two cupholders and somewhere to hold your phone upright for watching video.

A middle rear-seat passenger will be fine on short journeys, and their section of the rear bench is flat, rather than raised, but their legs will have to straddle a small hump on the floor.

All Tiguans come with 40/20/40 split folding rear seats, which are more versatile than the 60/40 split folding seats you’ll find in the Seat Ateca and Volvo XC40. They can be slid back and forth, and reclined.

The Tiguan has a seriously big boot by class standards, with 652 litres of space in non-PHEV versions.

The load area is a good uniform shape, and Life trim adds an adjustable boot floor. At its highest position, it has a usefully large storage area underneath and creates a flat loading area when the rear seat backs are folded down.

With the floor in its lowest position, the boot is big enough to swallow nine carry-on suitcases, which is two more than an XC40 and four more than a Mini Countryman C.

There are handles in the Tiguan's boot that drop the rear backrests so you don't have to open the rear doors to do it. A powered tailgate is standard on Match and Elegance trims for added convenience and is optional on other trim levels.

There’s no new seven-seater version to replace the VW Tiguan Allspace but a model called the VW Tayron is due in 2025 to fill that gap in the line-up. It will be closely related to the 2024 Tiguan.

“Plug-in hybrid versions get a slightly smaller boot than petrols and diesels, with some of the underfloor storage given over to the batteries.” – Doug Revolta, Head of Video

Blue VW Tiguan boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Strengths

  • +Strong fuel economy from petrol engine
  • +PHEV has ability to charge faster than rivals

Weaknesses

  • -Higher trim levels are pricey

Entry-level versions of the VW Tiguan cost more than the equivalent Kia Sportage, Mini Countryman, Seat Ateca or Skoda Karoq. If you pay more for a mid-level Tiguan, it'll be a similar price to a BMW X1 or Volvo XC40. 

The Tiguan’s monthly payments are relatively high on PCP finance too. For the latest offers, see our New Car Deals pages.

With official fuel economy figures of around 45mpg and CO2 output at around 140g/km for the 1.5-litre petrol, it should cost a similar amount to run to rivals. We achieved a real-world figure of 38.1mpg when we tested a 1.5 eTSI 150 on our test route – slightly ahead of a Countryman C (37.2mpg) and XC40 Be (35.6mpg).

Company car drivers will find themselves drawn to the eHybrid plug-in hybrids because their electric-only range and low CO2 emissions place them in a lower benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bracket than other Tiguans. The eHybrids have a maximum charging speed of up to 50kW.

There are a total of five trim levels to choose from, kicking off with the entry-level Tiguan. It covers the essentials, with 17in wheels, climate control, the touchscreen infotainment system and some parking aids.

We’d recommend paying a bit more for Life trim, which adds three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, 18in alloy wheels, ambient lighting, wireless phone-charging and sat-nav. Heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel are available as an option on Life trim and above as part of the Winter pack.

Match trim is enticing too, because it adds keyless entry, a powered tailgate and rear privacy glass for a small increase in price.

If you want even more luxuries, Elegance is for you. That trim gives you 19in alloy wheels and adds heated seats, heated windscreen washer jets, a heated steering wheel and the massaging front seats. It’s rather pricey, though, costing slightly more than a top-spec Kia Sportage GT Line S.

R Line sits alongside top-spec Elegance, and trades some luxuries for sportier styling and big 20in wheels.

The Tiguan is too new to have been included in the family SUV class of our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey but Volkswagen came a slightly disappointing 22nd out of 32 brands in the manufacturer survey, below Seat, Skoda and Volvo.

Volkswagen’s standard warranty runs for two years with unlimited mileage then a further year up to a total of 60,000 miles. That’s par for the course, and doesn’t match the seven years you get from Kia or the 10 years available for Toyotas.

The 2024 Tiguan has yet to be tested for safety by Euro NCAP but all versions come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assistance, as well as traffic-sign recognition and a system that monitors driver fatigue. You also get blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert to warn of approaching vehicles behind you.

“I’m impressed with the plug-in hybrid’s maximum charging rate of 50kW. That means a 10-80% top up in 25 minutes.” – Darren Moss, Deputy Digital Editor

VW Tiguan infotainment touchscreen

FAQs

  • The VW Touareg is bigger than the Tiguan, although both offer loads of interior space.

  • At the top of the Tiguan tree are the Elegance and R-Line trims. They’re both similarly equipped, although R-Line trades some of the luxury kit found on Elegance for a more sportier appearance.

  • The VW Tiguan Allspace is being discontinued and is expected to be replaced by the Tayron in 2025.

At a glance
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Target Price from £32,521
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From £23,000
RRP price range £34,085 - £48,220
Number of trims (see all)5
Number of engines (see all)5
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol parallel phev, diesel, petrol
MPG range across all versions 43.5 - 706.2
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £340 / £2,678
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £680 / £5,355
Available colours