Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine (badged 1.5 TSI 150) is the pick for most buyers. It needs revving fairly hard to get the very best from it, but there's enough pull from low revs. The 2.0 TDI diesel also suits the Tiguan really well and has more low-rev urgency, but we wouldn't bother spending the extra unless you need the optional four-wheel drive (4Motion) that it's available with.
For slightly less money, you could have a 128bhp version of the same basic 1.5 petrol engine (called the 1.5 TSI 130). However, while this engine is up to the job in the smaller Golf, it struggles more in the heavier Tiguan – particularly if you plan top carry lots of people on a regular basis.
The plug-in hybrid (eHybrid) combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. In pure electric mode, the top speed is 81mph and the battery provides an official range of 31 miles. Ask for maximum acceleration and the petrol engine joins in, giving near-hot hatch performance (0-62mph takes just 7.5 seconds).
Suspension and ride comfort
Patched up roads and broken Tarmac can unsettle the Tiguan a little – especially if you choose a version with big alloy wheels (R-Line cars get massive 20in alloys and sports suspension) – but compared with most key rivals the Tiguan is comfortable. Only the Volvo XC40 and Range Rover Evoque feel more plush, although the Skoda Karoq runs the Tiguan close.
Unfortunately, the plug-in eHybrid is a little less forgiving along pockmarked roads, because the extra weight of the battery pack places bigger demands on the suspension.
The Tiguan handles more like a conventional hatchback than many of its SUV rivals. Some may find the steering a little too light, but it’s precise and helps you feel in control of what is quite a hefty chunk of metal. It’s also barely any trickier to manoeuvre in tight multi-storey car parks than a Golf.
There isn't too much body roll through corners and all versions have plenty of grip, with the four-wheel-drive 4Motion models offering good traction in slippery conditions. True, the X1 and Seat Ateca are even more agile through the twisty bits, but the Tiguan outshines most other family SUVs, including the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage. The R-Line model is available with sports suspension but this doesn’t really makes the Tiguan any more fun.
The eHybrid, meanwhile, is the least sporty model in the line up. With the extra weight of its batteries it feels a little wallowy through the bends, although the same is true of many plug-in hybrids, including the Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Noise and vibration
The 1.5 TSI 150 engine is relatively hushed at low revs, apart from the odd whoosh and whistle from the turbocharger. It starts to get quite vocal when you rev it harder, but you don't feel much vibration through the controls. Manual models have a feelsome clutch pedal and pleasant gearshift, while automatic (DSG) versions shift smoothly on the move, but can be jerky when manoeuvring.
The 2.0 TDI is also fairly hushed by diesel standards, although more boomy than the petrols when worked hard. The plug-in eHybrid, meanwhile, is eerily quiet when running on electric power alone. And even when its petrol engine is called into action, it's the quietest Tiguan you can buy.
At high speeds, you will hear a flutter of wind noise around the Tiguan's door mirrors, but there’s minimal road noise unless you opt for a version with 20in alloy wheels.
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