This new and improved version of this popular SUV is well equipped to make the step up from family car to off-road giant, says Ed Coles
A country-based VW Tiguan review
Since its introduction in 2007, the Tiguan has proven a popular vehicle for the modern 2.4-children family.Normally associated with the school run or a weekend trip to a National Trust property, the latest version could tick a few Shooting Times boxes. So I’ve done a VW Tiguan review by putting the vehicle through everything country people would expect from it.
With the addition of all-wheel-drive, the new 4Motion Tiguan could be ideal for the modern family to handle town, country and a little more. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the all-new Tiguan 4Motion all-wheel-drive Elegance.
The Tiguan is available in six trim levels. This version is the Elegance, which is a higher-spec model before you go off to the realms of sportiness with the R-Line and R versions. It looks relatively pleasing on the eye for an SUV. The overall silhouette is a bit more refined than its predecessor. Most of the upgraded body styling is at the front, where new LED IQ lights and redesigned bonnet and grille have made it look like a baby Touareg. The contrasting chrome trims and 19in graphite and diamond-cut wheels give it a high-end feel with a hint of bling.
When I pulled out a feed bag and crouched down, things looked relatively promising. With 201mm ground clearance, in theory the Tiguan should be able to handle an off-piste excursion. It all looks reasonably robust underneath, but the road tyres could be the Achilles heel in my VW Tiguan review.
On opening the automatic boot, we’re greeted with a reasonably sized space, around six or seven full bags of wheat, by my guesstimation. It’s tall and fairly deep, with a two-stage boot liner that gives a whopping extra inch of space — pretty disappointing. That aside, the side dividers do come out so you can lay your 30in gun slip snugly across the length of the boot. There is certainly enough room for a couple of four-legged companions.
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It’s time to have a look under the bonnet. Powering the 4Motion Tiguan is a four-cylinder, two-litre turbo diesel engine, of which we can see pretty much diddly squat. But I have every confidence that it’s in there somewhere under all the plastic. The engine produces a spirited 150bhp, with 360Nm of torque, and has a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. With the all-wheel-drive, the Tiguan should go anywhere and get there relatively quickly.
The Tiguan is available with two choices of petrol engine, 1.5-litre TSI or two-litre TSI. All-wheel-drive is only available on the two-litre version, while there is also a 200bhp diesel version.
The interior of the Tiguan is plush. The “lounge and Art Velour micro fleece” seats are rather smart, but I’m pretty sure my muddy cocker would destroy them in no time at all. It feels quite spacious, even more so when you slide back the roof blind and take in the view from the panoramic roof.
Turning on the ignition, the dash and console burst into life in full digitised glory. The central screen operates all the toys and vehicle settings. The toys include DAB, satnav, reverse cameras, Apple and Android connectivity, internet connectivity and a host of app-based sorcery.
The Tiguan has driver aids and safety devices galore: fancy IQ adaptive headlamps; air bags in every conceivable place, front and rear; stop/start; adaptive cruise control; emergency braking; lane departure… the list goes on.
The first task for the modern keeper in the VW Tiguan review is fitting a child seat. No hassles or faffing about on that front, straight in with no swearing. The Tiguan has four driving modes that adjust engine and all-wheel-drive settings accordingly: Eco, Normal, Off-road and Sport.
With half-a-dozen bags of wheat in the back, petulant cocker clipped in and the feral toddler secured safely, it is time to push the Sport button because I’m late dropping her at the childminder. It is indeed quite sporty in this mode. The diesel engine is pleasingly responsive and the all-wheel-drive gives good traction and stability. It’s quite fun through the wiggly country roads and handles well.
On the open road, the Tiguan comes into its own and soon works its way through the seven-speed gearbox. The acceleration at speed is pretty impressive, the ride is smooth and comfortable, and the cabin is quiet.
What’s it like off-road? Let’s fill some feeders and find out. The drive up to the wood is a long, potholed track that will test the suspension if nothing else. It handles it well, with minimal knocking from the suspension.
Pulling into the puddled and rutted entrance to the wood, I feel the all-wheel-drive correct the slipping and sliding from the road-going tyres. A bit of mud is thrown up the side, but we’re safe. Negotiating the twisting woodland track is easy.
A brief stop to check and top-up some feeders and it’s off to the unforgiving, rutted and wet part of the wood. There was a lot of slipping and sliding. At one stage, it was making shapes, but made it without getting stuck. That was reassuring as I’d forgotten to put it in Off-road mode when I got back in. I completed my rounds without incident, realising it’s a lot less slippery when you put it in the correct mode.
I was quite pleased and impressed with the Tiguan, despite the tyres. It is an ideal family and country vehicle. You could certainly drop the kids off in the morning and go out for a day of shooting with relative ease and confidence. It’s fully loaded and there’s a certain quality about it. That quality and level of tech comes at a cost. The Elegance starts off at £35,900. With the added winter pack, tyre-pressure monitoring, tow bar and metallic paint, it comes in at a whopping £39,325. That is not cheap, but is around its competitors’ pricing.
NEED TO KNOW
- Manufacturer Volkswagen
- Model Tiguan Elegance
- 0-62mph (secs) 9.3
- Power 150bhp 360Nm torque
- Top speed (mph) 124
- Emissions 173g/km
- Fuel economy Low 34.6mpg Medium 44.5mpg High 49.3mpg Extra high 40.9mpg Combined 42.7mpg