While not the most glamorous 4×4 on the road today, the Tiguan is certainly well thought out. You get off-road looks, but with all the perks of a family estate car.
It is a very good vehicle and is very easy to live with day-to-day, being not much larger than a family estate car. It feels more like a car to drive than a 4×4 since it is based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf.
Its hatchback-based underpinnings rather show it up when it comes to work in the field, however. While it is capable on most surfaces, it will not go the same places as a similarly-priced Land Rover Defender.
In common with all Volkswagen vehicles, the Tiguan’s cabin is a well-equipped and pleasant place to sit.
Shooting Gazette likes:
Storage: There are lots of loops for tying objects down securely in the boot, and stowage compartments in the cabin are good.
Spacious: Headroom is really good and there is a lot of space in the front. The rear seats can be moved backwards to increase legroom for passengers.
Design: The Escape trim level has skid plates which will stop you scraping your bumper. There is also an off-road button with a hill descent control system.
Economy: A four-wheel drive system is permanently enabled, sending 90 per cent of the engine’s power goes to the front wheels and distributing it to other wheels only as conditions deteriorate.
Flexibility: The 60/40 split rear seats fold down very simply and include a built-in armrest in the middle. This can be sacrificed for a load-through system for transporting long items such as skis.
Clear screen: The air conditioning system and windscreen wipers are very efficient.
Pulling power: The Tiguan will tow a braked trailer of 2000kg.
Equipment: This car comes well equipped whatever trim level you select.
The reinforced underside panels of the Escape trim level are an excellent addition if you’re planning to take your Tiguan off-road.
Shooting Gazette dislikes:
Restrictive boot: This came as something of a surprise. From the outside you would expect a large boot, but the lack of space on display here spoils what is otherwise really a very good car.
Off-road: Rear visibility isn’t great, and in spite of electronic systems the Tiguan’s off-road abilities are limited.
Firm ride: Avoid the optional sports suspension as it is rather hard.
Electric handbrake: The Tiguan is only available with an electronic handbrake, which may put some buyers off. Though there is a hill hold system, I prefer the fine control of a manual handbrake in cars with a manual gearbox.