More grown up, roomier interior, broader engine range
Still not the last word in fun
What is it?
It's Volkswagen’s second-generation Tiguan. You may not realise it, but the first one has been phenomenally popular, outselling the Land Rover Defender’s 67-year production run in a mere eight years. In the UK, it’s currently the best-selling VW after the Golf and Polo.
The new one, naturally, is a strong evolution rather than a revolution, but it’s a fine one. Looks good too, no? Spec it in R-Line trim and it’s a really assertive looking car, and thus-equipped we imagine it doesn’t look far short of the first sketches that excitably left its designer’s pencil.
Volkswagen has tried to give it more substance beneath the skin, moving the Tiguan upmarket so it’s better able to take on rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport. This also addresses a grumble of the first one – interior space wasn’t quite where it should be for a family-focused SUV. As well as a regular, five-seat Tiguan, there’s now a seven-seat Tiguan AllSpace available. It’s primed for in-house rivals like the Skoda Kodiaq, as well as newly SUV-like people carriers such as the Peugeot 5008.
While the least powerful Tiguans come with front-wheel drive, AWD is available on most engines. It’s a system related to the Golf R’s, favouring front-wheel drive, but able to send every bit of power to the rear axle when necessary. It also hikes the Tiguan up by 11mm, for better obstacle clearing.
There’s a mix of petrol and diesel engines, ranging from 113 to 237bhp, the latter cranked out by a twin-turbo diesel, which will be the performance high point of the range. And there will be no GTI or R badges appearing on any of ‘em (besides the aforementioned R-Line trim), despite the Tiguan now being so core to VW.
It’s the first VW SUV based upon the ‘MQB’ architecture that underpins so many of the group’s cars. There’s a good chance you’re sick to death of those three letters appearing in car reviews, so we’ll cut to chase: MQB-based cars invariably steer sharply and are intuitive and easy to drive. These, you’ll be aware, are all good things.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
The first-gen Tiguan was a little dowdy looking, and for all its talents, never particularly stood out in the SUV segment. The new one is sharper and more exciting to look at, and that’s echoed in the way it drives, too. Most people buying these might never appreciate how Golf-like its dynamics are.
There’s a load more choice with the second-gen Tiguan, too. It’s sharp R-Line trim makes it look like a performance variant, even if a proper GTI or R has been ruled out. Adding the seven-seat AllSpace also strengthens the Tiguan’s armour against a larger and more diverse group of cars than its forebear ever faced.
Whichever way you go, though, the Tiguan is a feel-good car, and one of the most accomplished that VW currently makes. And its stable mates are hardly shabby.