In an SUV world, is the Volkswagen Tiguan a king?
There's no questioning the sales figures and ownership statistics behind the Tiguan model, however is the newest generation better than ever before?
Boring SUV's, there are plenty on sale right? Every single manufacturer (generally) has something in the segment and with the rush to push cars out, many blend in to the noise and have about as much charisma as a wet towel. Having something stick out for all of the right reasons is difficult to achieve, however Volkswagen have achieved it in the smaller segment.
Say hello to the Tiguan, a crossover SUV which is as capable in the city as out... of the city. A vehicle which even in two-wheel-drive format can do some off-roading and won't blend in too much with the competitors aesthetics.
Aesthetically blending... ish!
A crossover SUV is never usually very appealing to the senses, that said, VW have done a pretty good job of taking design language used throughout their more 'interesting' cars and plop it into the Tiguan. The result is an exterior design which isn't too in your face but which sticks out in a multi-story carpark when among competitor vehicles.
The front shouts VW, with the side profile hinting at Arteon design. Combined with 5-spoke alloys, the profile makes you wish they'd made a Tiguan R (with a 300PS Golf R lump). The rear can be at times indistinguishable from a Touareg, especially in R-Line trim level - I find that a good thing as the Touareg back-end looks incredibly good.
As a combined effort, the external aesthetics of the Tiguan are pleasing, whilst not totally over the top like some competitor vehicles. It's balanced and has just the right amount of 'street' meets 'mud'.
Photo Source: VW UK Newsroom - https://www.volkswagen-newsroom.com/en/images/albums/tiguan-2054
An interior you already know...
Over the last few years, more and more VW's have been adapting their new interior aesthetic - as a result, the Tiguan immediately feels like a friend you somehow already know. This is a design which has been used in the Golf for a number of years now - the bigger screens are always welcome and the rest of the switches have generally already seen some use in the Tiguan before.
Around town visibility is decent, it's a reasonable comfortable ride and it generally feels like a quality interior. Whilst bland in places, it's also robust and you trust it'll last through years of abuse. Truly, you can see why the Tiguan has sold in such volume as the interior is a genuinely nice place to be - not overly shouty but of a decent standard. The standard audio is, as per usual with VW, superb. Apple CarPlay is also great to use thanks to a reasonably sized screen.
Surprisingly good to drive!
No, it's by no means as nimble or fast as a Golf R, but by all means is the Tiguan just as good on the road as a standard Golf. Whilst you do feel some inevitable body-roll, in general it does feel quite composed on the road. Around town you don't lack acceleration (even in the smallest petrol), with the only issue being a-typical DSG lag. It gets slightly exacerbated in the lower output cars, with at times 8 second delays in planting it to getting any real response.
The diesel would be my engine of choice as it gives immediate response but also returns up to 60mpg. Either engine works in town or back roads and both also do extremely well on motorways. When you decide to have a bit of fun, the Tiguan doesn't really let you down. You can have a seriously good throw around country lanes as it feels relatively balanced. The steering feel doesn't feel that much less connected in reality than a Golf GTI and the pedal feel is genuinely responsive.
The petrol engine can turn around up to 47mpg, whilst VW claim more, that is more than reasonable considering it is technically sort of a 4X4. Diesel wise you'll easily see 60mpg+.
"Is it a king then?"
In its own segment, it rules. Above all closest to it, it's a country mile better. Not only because it's slightly different aesthetically to the rest, but because the interior is of a superb quality and the platform works so well that regardless of your engine choice, you'll be happy with the result. It is without any question of a doubt an overly saturated market as it stands, however I feel VW have done enough to secure their place at the top of the leaderboard.
With a new range of VW aesthetics coming, I can't wait to see just how good the next generation of Tiguan will look - as if this previous version is anything to go by... it'll be stunning.