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First Drive

First published: 5th April 2016

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First Drive

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 (150PS) TDI 4MOTION first drive review

The second generation Volkswagen Tiguan enters a compact SUV segment that has never looked so competitive or accomplished. Jon Quirk finds out if the new car can get Volkswagen back on pace

First published: 5th April 2016
Auto Trader verdict:
The landscape may be littered with new entrants, but the Volkswagen Tiguan is still a class act. Admittedly, there are no surprises with this second-generation version – it’s conservatively styled, offers a functional, unfussy interior, and is undemanding to drive – yet the big strides made in both practicality and standard safety make this one truly desirable family car.
Need to know:
  • Second-generation version of Volkswagen’s compact SUV
  • Available in 2WD or 4WD, with a 2500kg towing ability
  • First UK deliveries in June, with prices starting from £22,500
What is it?
The Volkswagen Tiguan is the company’s third best-selling model in the UK; and, after an impressive eight years in production for the original model, there’s an all-new, second-generation Tiguan in town.

Aside from the daytime-running LED headlights and neat geometric details in the tail-lights, the Tiguan remains a sensibly styled, compact SUV. The boxy proportions and precise character lines offer a contemporary look, but you’re in no doubt that this car places function well before form.

The competitive £22,500 pricing kicks off with front-wheel drive versions, targeting those customers keen to enjoy the raised driving position of an SUV without the increased running costs. However, the majority of UK sales will be for models with four-wheel drive.

Standard safety equipment on all five trim levels is huge, with entry-level S versions receiving seven airbags, city emergency braking, post-collision braking, lane assist and the company’s first active bonnet, that can rise by 50mm in 22 milliseconds to reduce the severity of an impact with a pedestrian.

Two engines will be available from launch, including a 2.0-litre TSI petrol with 177bhp and the latest 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp, the latter said to account for a staggering 95% of UK sales.
What's it like?
Very grown up. The Tiguan is quiet, refined, comfortable and handles securely. It may not be an exciting drive, but it’s an accomplished one.

The 2.0 TDI offers plenty of mid-range urgency to shift through the DSG gearbox seamlessly and not make you miss exploring the upper limits of the rev range. That said, the noise is noticeably harsh and clattery at idle, taking the edge off an otherwise cosseting cabin.

The interior, however, is a shining example of Volkswagen Group greatness, with lots of soft-touch plastics an arm’s reach away, and mixed with parts bin acquisitions from the Passat – the frameless rearview mirror and 12-inch touch-screen infotainment system, to name just two items – as well as the optional, ‘Virtual Cockpit’ or digital dials first seen in the Audi TT.
2016 Volkswagen Tiguan
2016 Volkswagen Tiguan
2016 Volkswagen Tiguan
2016 Volkswagen Tiguan
The four-wheel drive system gives the Tiguan a 10mm boost in ride height to improve ground clearance, as well as a 4Motion rotary control with four modes (snow, off-road, on road, individual) to choose from. It’s intuitive to use and was effective on our brief off-road course, aided by our test car’s ‘off-road pack’ which features a toughened front underbody, sill door protectors and new bumpers with increased approach (25 degrees) and departure (24 degrees) angles. The set-up may be overkill for the school run, but it will be perfect for hauling a horse box to your next dressage competition, thanks to a 2500kg towing capacity.

It’s practical, too. The rear seats are big enough for three children or two adults – a slight crest in the footwell restricts legroom for a central passenger – while the 520-litre boot can expand to 615 litres thanks to a set of sliding rear seats, bettering the capacious Honda CR-V’s 589 litres. As in the Honda, there’s also a flat load bay, a spare wheel and a lever in the boot to help you tumble the 60:40 split-folding seats effortlessly to offer 1655 litres of loadspace.
Should I get one?
If you’re after a compact SUV, but still want to tow a horse box or drive to your next ski holiday, then yes. The Tiguan may not make any big statements in the compact SUV segment, but it does everything you require of a family car in a very confident, capable and unflustered manner. The level of standard safety equipment means it's only a matter of time before a full five-star Euro NCAP rating is awarded, too.
Key facts:
  • Model: 2.0 (150PS) TDI 4MOTION SE
  • Price: £30,480
  • Engine: 2.0-litre common rail diesel, seven-speed DSG
  • Power/Torque: 148bhp/251lb ft
  • 0-62mph: 9.3secs
  • Top speed: 124mph
  • Economy: 42mpg
  • CO2/BIK tax liability: 149g/km/29%
  • Boot space: 520-1655 litres
Also consider:
Nissan Qashqai
The original crossover remains one of the UK’s best-selling family cars. A great option, especially in 2WD guise

Honda CR-V
Has the edge on practicality, but lacks the Tiguan’s plush interior, tech and formidable safety

Seat Ateca
Seat's first ever SUV arrives in September and first impressions are good. If you’re not in a hurry to buy, it may be worth holding out for

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