This is the new Volkswagen Tiguan, now the most popular VW in the world | Top Gear
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This is the new Volkswagen Tiguan, now the most popular VW in the world

The current ‘most successful’ VW model hits its third generation

Published: 19 Sep 2023

Send out ravens! Ring the bells! For we must spread the good tidings far and wide! In news sure to hearten spirits across the land, a medium-sized SUV is now a German car company’s current best-selling model.

So, let us expel the Golf as the car you always thought was Peak Volkswagen, and instead welcome around the fire the new, third-generation Volkswagen Tiguan. Apparently, VW has shifted 7.5 million of the things since 2007, and the car “is currently the most successful VW model worldwide”.

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So there’s a lot riding on this car, which is why Volkswagen tells us it now rides on the MQB evo platform said to “improve the Tiguan in practically every area”. Well, it’s better than making it worse in practically every area. Though we’ll come to the touchscreen shortly.

First up, engines. There’s a revised plug-in hybrid powertrain that gets a new 19.7kWh battery, able to sustain the Tiguan in all-electric mode for up to 62 miles (100km). That’s paired with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol to produce just over 200bhp or just under 270bhp. Combined, VW reckons the Tiguan eTSI is capable of a 621-mile range.

Two more mild hybrids join the fray – with the same 1.5-litre four-pot – allowing for 126bhp and 147bhp, along with a pair of 2.0-litre turbo petrols (200bhp/260bhp) and a pair of 2.0-litre turbo… diesels. Interesting choice, there. The petrols come with 4WD, the hybrids are FWD, and there are six and seven-speed DSGs on offer.

The new platform, says VW, apparently allows for an upgraded chassis control which now gets a ‘vehicle dynamics manager’ able to better optimise the e-diff locks and shocks. The headline? “The handling characteristics are more neutral, stable, agile and precise”. There’s more camber dialled in, too.

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Volkswagen has also dialled in a tonne more screen, perchance the only aspect where VW has deviated from the whole ‘improve the Tiguan in practically every area’, depending on your affinity for these things. Gone is the integrated screen/physical dials of the second-gen car, and in comes the vehicular equivalent of an IMAX cinema.

There’s a standard 12.9in infotainment display tablet slapped bang in the middle (with the option of going up to 15in) that joins a 10.25in digital driver display flatter in design and less susceptible to glare, which in turn means it doesn’t need to sit inside a binnacle. Naturally that’s not the only thing that’s been changed inside. There’s a multi-function steering wheel (with proper buttons by the looks of it), a bigger centre console, new seats, a HUD, and of course more space and better materials.

VW says the new Tiguan’s front end is taller than before for ‘greater presence’, though it boasts a better drag coefficient. It’s smoother and more streamlined, though it certainly looks unnecessarily cross about something. There are other subtle tweaks to the new car’s silhouette, VW using words like ‘sporty’ and ‘muscular’ and ‘powerful’. New wheels are available from 17in to 20in in size.

Indeed, such variety underpins VW's entire SUV strategy, the carmaker reminding us how this new Tiguan slots into its vast army of Big Cars: there’s the T-Cross, the ID.4, ID.5, Touareg, Taigo, T-Roc and T-Roc Cabrio. And elsewhere in the world you’ll find stuff like the Atlas, Tayron and ID.6.

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