The Mark 1 Tiguan from Volkswagen sold phenomenally well and actually outsold the entire 67-year production run of the Land Rover Defender in only eight years! This new model not only has all the strong characteristics of the original but is a very handsome car. Since launch in 2007, they have sold 2.8 million of them worldwide and over 100,000 of them in the UK.
The drive is typically German – no fuss, no rattles and no revolution. It could be said to be a tad dull inside but that’s a small gripe as it does exactly what is says on the tin. But they have added some frills such as the brilliant Virtual Cockpit from the Audi TT and any smartphone can be easily connected to the large infotainment system. And there is more room in this new model with each seat row raised by 8mm despite the roof line being slightly lower. This makes it easier to slip in and out, and with sliding rears seats, there are plenty of options for long legs and luggage.
The drive is exactly what you would expect – well planted on the road and built to last and although the AWD is optional, why on earth would you not take it. Add to this the optional Dynamic Chassis Control and head-up display and this starts looking like a class leader. Beside the Nissan Qashqai, it would be odd to understand why anyone would plump for the Japanese model when the Tiguan offers so much more, is better built, has better resale value and is a superior drive.
Japanese cars are good, of that there is no doubt, but l don’t think l have ever found one l liked. They lack any personality whatsoever and they all look a little drab and uninspiring and l find them the perfect cure or insomnia. I can now hear many of you grinding your teeth and listing all the great and inspiring Jap cars. Good luck with that, it’s a short list.
Although it won’t worry many cars off the line, it is brisk enough to satisfy with smooth and well-chosen gear ratios, plenty of traction and a comfortable ride. At motorway speeds, it really does feel planted and body roll is negligible in the corners.
There’s a big jump in price between mid-spec SE Navigation and upper-level SEL trim, because the latter gets adaptive LED headlights, 19in wheels, adaptive cruise control and VW’s Active Info Display TFT instruments as standard. If you are intent on a Tiguan, go for a 2.0 TDI 150 SE Nav in 4Motion form and add Active Info Display (£585), LED headlights (£1350), Discover Nav Pro (£1365) and Dynamic Chassis Control (£790).
The Tiguan proved to be more fuel efficient than expected during testing, returning better than 50mpg when touring – a result as good as any you’re likely to see from a car of this ilk.
Its rivals would be the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5 and it stands up well against all of them. You’ll get a more involved drive from the Beemer and Merc, but then pay the price. The Kuga is quite a good match and only the terminally insane would go for the Mazda over any of these.
The Tiguan is everything the modern family would need and, as always, VW tend to produce models that sit exactly where they intend within the sector and slightly displace all other models. It’s not the most inspiring drive but then the average punter is not really looking for that – they want build quality, safety, economy, decent residual and style, and in these respects, the Tiguan is a winner.
Model Tested: Tiguan SE 2.0 TDI SCR 150 PS
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo
Power: 150 bhp
Performance; 0-62 mph in 9.3 seconds
Top Speed: 127 mph
Economy: 58.9 mpg combined
Price from: £22.510.00
As tested: £28,035.00