The VW Tiguan has been on sale since 2007, and was facelifted in 2011. Essentially, the poor old girl is knocking on a bit. But in that time, the compact crossover market has gone thermonuclear, and VW’s smartly styled, beautifully built offering isn’t making any less sense now than it did back then. So, can the Tiguan continue to hold its own against fresher-faced, arch-trendy opposition? Read on for the CAR review.
Which VW Tiguan are we talking about here?
This car is powered by the most popular engine in the line-up: a 2.0-litre turbodiesel developing 138bhp and 238lb ft. It’s an engine that we’re familiar with, as it’s also found under the bonnet of the previous Mk Vi VW Golf, among others, where it has proven as much of a torquey, well-mannered peach as it does here.
However, in our test Tiguan, it has the extra responsibility of driving the rear wheels, as well as the fronts. The adaptive ‘4Motion’ all-wheel drive system maintains a straight-faced, 90% front-drive orientation until a low-grip situation is sensed by the stability control. The microchips send for the cavalry, diverting anything up to 100% (yes, really) to the rear tyres to settle the 1655kg Tiguan.
There’s an 11g/km CO2 penalty to account for if you spec the all-wheel drive system, and a 4.6mpg deficit versus the front-drive Tiguan. VW claims 48.7mpg overall – we scored an admirable 44mpg in our test car.
Frankly, we’d rather buy a front-drive model and fit it with winter tyres, avoiding the added cost and the unnecessary complication of carting around extra components. However, if you must have the extra security of all four wheels clawing the blacktop, the Tiguan makes a better fist of being an SUV than many a jumped-up hatch-based crossover.
To drive, the Tiguan feels more hatch than mud-plugger, which makes sense as it uses the previous model Golf’s underpinnings. That spells predictable handling, made more so with all-wheel drive, and reasonably responsive steering that has weight yet not so much feel. The ride, too, isn’t jarring or harsh, and body control is well contained for a high-rider. It’s a pretty sharp SUV.
What’s the spec of this particular Tiguan?
Here’s our tip: this is the Tiguan you want. In typical VW fashion, the Tiguan has got a ‘Match’ model for the autumn of its life. Replacing SE trim, the Tiguan Match packs the essential must-have goodies without feeling like something unspeakable rolled in glitter.
There’s climate control, DAB radio, auto lights and wipers, plus 17in alloys wearing high profile tyres. So, it’s a smooth rider, and if you’re still not convinced by the Tiguan’s ability to behave like a smaller car, and intimated by its bluff lines, it’ll even park itself, thanks to the on-board ‘Park Assist’ system.
On the downside, most of the switchgear is so long in the tooth that it has even filtered down to the cut-price Skoda Rapid by now. The sat-nav’s 5.0in screen feels cramped, and there are some glaring holes in the spec list: where’s the cruise control and xenon lights?
Doesn’t sound too shabby, as long as the price is right…
Well, it’s not a cheap car: £26,460 is a sizeable chunk of wedge. But, the Match is still the best-value Tiguan by a country mile. How? Because it costs £450 less than the old SE spec, but boasts an extra £750-worth of kit. Granted, if we’re talking loaded run-out specials we’d prefer a Mercedes SLS AMG Final Edition, but back on planet sensible, the Tiguan Match is just the shot in the arm this likeable (if bland) soft-roader needed to keep itself in the hunt until a new model is spat out of the VW Group machine.
So, the Tiguan Match is definitely the VW crossover to buy. But, is it the crossover to buy, full stop? For £26k, you could bag yourself a much more commodious Ford Kuga in top-spec Titanium trim, packing a brawnier 2.0-litre TDCi in its superior chassis.
Life will only get harder for the Tiguan with the imminent arrival of a new Nissan Qashqai, and the lure of posh badges from the likes of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Still, if it ain’t broke… The Tiguan is dated, and while it’s not top of the tree, it’s still a polished performer that can hold its own among fresher, glitzier rivals.