You would think that the future of motoring is all about Hybrid this and electric that. It is and it isn’t, well not just yet for we are currently in the SUV era. Consumer buying trends has seen the SUV of any category, large or small, rise in popularity over the last five years. And now it appears every car maker is rushing to cash in, from Dacia to Maserati to Rolls Royce, the SUV is the new King of the urban jungle.
For VW the launch of the second-generation Tiguan will begin an all new assault on the compact SUV market. No segment will be safe from VW’s determination to ensure consumers are lining up at their car dealership forecourts ready to sign on the dotted line to buy an SUV of some type.
So this is it, this is the second generation Tiguan, it’s built around a modular platform that will be shared by a good few other VW cars such as the Golf. The MQB platform is considerably more configurable and new weight-saving measures mean the new Tiguan is over 50kg lighter than its first generation relative which was in production for over 10 years.
The all new Tiguan is priced from £22k and will be available in 5 trim levels and a vast array of sub-specs per trim level. Volkswagen has made sure you the consumer are not left wanting for a lack of choice or standard spec. At launch, there will be only one diesel engine however the 2.0-litre TDi will be available in four states of power ranging from a lowly 115bhp and all the way up to 240bhp.
For those looking to avoid any link with diesel-gate two petrol engines will be made available at a later date. The 1.4-litre TSi will come in two states of power, 125bhp and 150bhp. And then there is the 2.0-litre TSi which will have a total power output of 180bhp.
Volkswagen say that all seven new engines are EU6 compliant and more efficient than the EU5 engine on the previous model. In other words VW has wiped the emissions dodging slate clean and dry. Let’s not mention EU5 engines ever again.
Volkswagen says that UK consumers will trend towards buying a Tiguan equipped with a diesel engine and this will account for 90 percent of all UK sales.
The 1st generation Tiguan sold 2.8 million units over the course of its lifetime and 100,000 of those customers hailed from the land of hope and glory. So the 2nd gen Tiguan has a lot to live up. Let’s start with the exterior, that new MQB platform has allowed VW automotive stylists to create a very sleek new look.
The new design language discards the “Werthers Originals” look of the first generation Tiguan and ushers in a sharp, sophisticated balanced and symmetrical look. It’s fair to say the new Tiguan now looks far more desirable, goodbye Qashqai and X1 hello Tiguan.
The interior mirrors the sharp lines and from a design perspective it’s been very well executed, the attention to detail in how the lines flow into angles and more angles catches the eye. VW say the second gen Tiguan is a step up in quality. As the old saying goes it is and it isn’t.
While the top half of the interior is bedecked with soft-touch surfaces the lower half is textured hard wearing ABS, posh plastics to you and I. On the flip side the interior is well built and in the case of the SEL Off-Road spec on test, with its leather interior it still kind of like feels just short of being accepted into the premium luxury club.
Interior space is very accommodating certainly up front and also for rear passengers. The new Tiguan is slightly less taller but is actually longer and wider than the previous model. Visually it looks and feels bigger than it’s compact SUV designation. And of course the rear seats fold flat to open up from 567-litres to 1655-litres of cargo space thats 145-litres larger than before. Plenty of space then for the practical-minded. What more do you want from what is a confined space?
The Tiguan will be available in 2WD or 4WD, the lowest-powered versions will be front-wheel drive and 6-speed manual only. The 7-speed dual-clutch transmission will be offered to models with 150bhp and engines with 180bhp+ will have the dual-clutch DSG transmission fitted as standard.
Volkswagen predicts that the mid-range SE Navigation trim combined with the 150bhp 2.0-litre TDi engine will be the most popular choice. The Tiguan SEL Off-Road 4Motion on test featured the 150bhp 2.0-litre TDi and is as close to damn it to the top end of the ownership scale with only the R-Line trim beyond it.
Fitted with the DSG 7-speed transmission gear changes were executed with ruthless efficiency and speed. The 2.0-Litre TDi 150bhp engine never felt short of power. Certainly the 340Nm of torque ensured swift progress. You can even flip the auto-transmission into manual mode and change gears via the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifts to channel your inner racer fan-boy.
The new Tiguan immediately made the impression of being setup to have a firm spring rate. When ever this occurs the ride usually tends to suffer and grip levels become ambiguous. That’s really not the case for the new Tiguan. Over rough surfaces and pot-holed ridden roads the Tiguan proved to be unwaveringly providing just enough comfort levels to dampen any potential discomfort. In other words, the ride was comfortable.
As a result of the firm suspension setting the Tiguan handles capably for a compact SUV, its stable under braking, remains relatively flat through the corners and offers plenty of grip which is certainly enhanced by the permanent 4-wheel drive system. This system which VW calls 4Motion Active Control allows you to select from four driving modes On-Road, Off-Road, Individual and Snow. No need to go into details it’s quite self-explanatory.
In addition to these on and off-road settings, you also get what VW calls driver profiles, Eco, Normal and Sport. I have always seen these as a kind of traction control system. The engine is usually increased by around 250rpm per mode and the steering is sharped up the higher mode you use.
To be honest I just selected Sport mode and put my foot and what immediately became apparent was that Tiguan feels light footed, the steering is nicely weighted, light when parking and weighs up comfortably when cruising. And you can really point this SUV into a corner, or tackle a country lane with encouragement. It almost feels like a car to drive yet you have that lofty SUV riding position.
The 2.0-litre TDi turbodiesel engine combined with the dual clutch felt smooth when changing through the gears and even under a short jaunt it felt like it would be a relaxing car to drive over a longer journey. Other reviews have slated the Tiguan is being a boring car to drive. Yes that is true… in comparison to a Porsche 911 GT3 which is probably what many motoring journalists aspire every car to handle like.
But for the average motorist the Tiguan is a good car to drive. And the average motorist is probably more concerned with things like fuel economy, in this area the Tiguan managed around 42mpg on a combined cycle which is fairly considerate for a vehicle of this category, size and weight.
The new Tiguan will come with a good amount of standard spec, if you like your alloy wheels then you will be pleased to know that even entry-level models will come with 17-inch alloy wheels, the test vehicle had killer-looking 19-inch alloys if you must know. Optional specs highlights will include a digital instrument binnacle and a heads-up display system but obviously these will be standard on higher spec models.
VW reckons the mid-range SE Navigation trim with 4Motion (4WD) will be the most popular spec for UK buyers and without going into too much geek detail, believe me you will get a good amount of standard kit and the latest in safety tech. This will include City Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Monitoring, Lane Assist and much more.
All in all the new Tiguan is most certainly a step up from the 1st generation, not just in terms of the overall design language but also in terms of the technology, quality and choice of model trims and optional extras that can rival a menu from a fast-food Chicken-Tikka restaurant. And the side dish in the case of the VW Tiguan is delicious.
However the SEL Off Road 4Motion costs £32k, the model tested had optional extras that boosted the overall price to £36k all in. That’s going into Land Rover Discovery Sport and Ranger Rover Evoque territory both of which are equipped with a proper 4×4 system to boot.
We never say what car you should be buying, but we can say if you are in the market for a new compact SUV then the VW Tiguan has a vast model range that should suit a number of budgets.