Driving

Volkswagen Tiguan review

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Volkswagen Tiguan
Review continues below...
9 Aug 2016 09:11 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 14:44

In this review

Driving

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

Volkswagen Tiguan estate performance

The best-selling Tiguan is the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel model (badged 2.0 TDI 150) and it's easy to see why; it offers a fine blend of performance and fuel economy, whereas the cheaper 115 version (with 113bhp) feels a little short of puff. There's also a 190 version of the 2.0 TDI engine that delivers plenty of punch but is rather pricey, while the range-topping 240 version brings yet more pace for an even more eyebrow-raising price.

If you’re more interested in petrol power, the entry-level 125 model puts out 123bhp from its turbocharged 1.4-litre engine. However, while it's the most affordable model in the range, it struggles a bit up inclines, especially when loaded up to the gunnels. The 150 version is better, but still lacks the low-rev pulling power of the diesels.

As for the 2.0-litre 180 petrol engine, it feels fast and is quick off the line, thanks to all-wheel drive coming as standard. It doesn’t quite have the in-gear flexibility of the diesels, though, but around town you’ll have little issue with the decent performance it offers and out on the motorway there’s no problem overtaking.

Volkswagen Tiguan estate ride

By small SUV standards, the Tiguan rides very well indeed. It smooths over bigger imperfections, such as speed bumps, better than the BMW X1, yet the suspension is still firm enough to stop the body from bouncing up and down too much along undulating roads.

Patched up roads and broken Tarmac can unsettle the Tiguan a little – especially if you choose a version with big alloy wheels – but compared with its key rivals the Tiguan is comfortable. Even the sporty R-line trim is bearable, if not as good as lesser models. If you want a more settled ride, you'll need to choose something with a lower centre of gravity, such as a VW Golf.

We wouldn't bother with the Tiguan's optional adaptive suspension. It doesn't improve the ride that much and there are more worthwhile extras to spend your money on.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan estate handling

The Tiguan handles more like a conventional hatchback than many of its SUV rivals; it's genuinely enjoyable to drive. Some may feel the steering is a little too light, but it’s precise, making the car easy to place on the road. There isn't too much body roll through corners and all versions have plenty of grip, although the four-wheel-drive 4Motion models unsurprisingly offer better traction in slippery conditions.

True, the X1 and Seat Ateca are even more agile through the twisty bits, but the Tiguan outshines most other small SUVs, including the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage. The R-line model is available with sports suspension but this doesn’t make the Tiguan any more fun.

4Motion models add a dial next to the gearlever that allows you to select different modes depending on the terrain and initiate a hill descent system. A further option is adaptive chassis control – this allows you to stiffen or soften the suspension to prioritise either ride comfort or flatter handling.

Volkswagen Tiguan estate refinement

The petrol engines are especially smooth, even when being worked hard, and while the diesels sound a bit clattery at tickover and when you really put your foot down, they're still muted at a cruise and far from raucous when accelerating. That said, the diesel engines in the rival X1 are slightly quieter.

At high speeds, you will hear a flutter of wind noise around the Tiguan's door mirrors, but virtually no road noise unless you opt for a version with really big alloy wheels.

The manual gearbox is light and easy to use, while the DSG automatic is smooth and soothing the vast majority of the time, with only the occasional jerk at low speeds.

 

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There are 5 trims available for the Tiguan estate. Click to see details.See all versions
S
This entry-level trim still brings a reasonable amount of standard equipment, including air conditioning, alloy wheels and a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and a DAB radio. You also...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
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£21,392
Average Saving £2,093
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SE
This is one of our favourite trims because it offers a good balance between equipment and affordability. You get bigger wheels, three-zone climate control, parking sensors, cruise control and bette...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£23,057
Average Saving £2,263
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OUR PICK
SE Nav
As the name suggests, this is effectively SE spec with sat-nav and some online features bundled in. The system is easy to use and should help make your Tiguan easier to sell on in the future. For a...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£23,715
Average Saving £2,330
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SEL
This trim gains a few luxuries over SE, such as digital instrument dials, adaptive cruise control, even bigger alloys, a panoramic sunroof and some piano-black trim. It’s plush but rather pricey, s...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
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£28,149
Average Saving £2,781
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R Line
This is the top-rung Tiguan that adds a sporty flavour to the exterior and interior. Over and above SEL, you get 20in alloys, R-line-specific bodystyling, heated front seats, aluminium-look dash in...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£30,249
Average Saving £2,996
View Trim