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The Volkswagen Tiguan - A Premium Compact SUV

To save you the trouble of looking it up yourself, the word "Tiguan" is a cross between Tiger and Leguan, the German words for Tiger and Iguana.

Nope, we have no idea why either, but thankfully the Volkswagen Tiguan itself is much better looking than any mental image of a feline/reptile hybrid!

Initially launched in 2008 as Volkswagen's contribution to the increasingly popular SUV market, it enjoyed considerable success across Europe before being relaunched in 2016 as the larger, more grown-up looking incarnation currently on sale. A further facelift in 2020 added some more modern touches to keep it looking fresh.

Let's have a more detailed look at the Tiguan range to see what your options are and why you should consider one if you're in the market for a compact SUV.

New Volkswagen Tiguan

Why should I buy one?

There is lots to love about the Tiguan. It looks very similar to its larger Touareg sibling, meaning that it seems bigger than it actually is. Its classy exterior and high-quality interior help it stand out from the crowd when compared with rivals in what is a very crowded compact SUV market.

The Tiguan range is also extensive and will cater for a large swathe of buyers, starting with entry-level models with lower-powered engines and sweeping all the way to a blisteringly quick R model, so there should be a Tiguan to suit your budget.

As with any other Volkswagen product, the Tiguan is very well built, and everything feels solid, from the reassuring weight of the doors as you shut them to the chunky switchgear in the cabin. You feel safe sitting high up in the roomy cabin, and this perception of safety is ever more believable when you consider the Tiguan's 5-star rating from its Euro NCAP crash test.

The Tiguan is an excellent customer on the road, with a reassuringly supply and predictable ride that ensures comfort on long-distance journeys.

The Tiguan oozes quality, and there is nothing bargain basement about it. Including the price. Volkswagen has pitched it at the premium end of the compact SUV market, so don't expect it to be cheap, either new or used when compared against its peers. However, the Tiguan is one of those examples of getting what you paid for. It is a high-quality product, and it does not depreciate heavily.


What trims and engines are available?

The Tiguan has the pick of the VW group's engine range and uses them to good effect. Depending on which engine or trim you choose, you can either have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, although most Tiguans probably won't be used off-road. You can also get a DSG gearbox in some versions.

Engines

The engine range starts with VW's tried and tested 1.5 TSI turbo unit, with either 130bhp or 150bhp. Considering the size and weight of the Tiguan, the 150bhp version is the better choice, achieving 0-62mph in just under 10 seconds. There is also a 2.0 TSI powerplant offering either 200bhp or 240bhp, depending on your appetite for power. VW claims its petrol versions will offer up to 46mpg.

If you need a Diesel version, VW offers a 2.0 TDI, which delivers either 116bhp, 150bhp or 200bhp. Again, it's probably wise to avoid the lesser of the three, which can feel a little underpowered on open roads. The Diesels offer up to 53mpg, which isn't a whole lot more than the petrol equivalents, so do your sums before you buy a Diesel model to make sure it's your best value option.

There is also a forthcoming plug-in hybrid model, featuring a 1.4-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor, which provides 242bhp in total and achieves 62mph in just 7.5 seconds. 

And for the true petrolheads among us, 2020 saw the launch of a fire breathing R version, which produces 320bhp and roars to 62mph in less than 6 seconds.

Trims

Looking now at trims, the current range starts with the Standard model, offering reasonable spec including air-con, alloy wheels, electric windows and sat nav. The Life adds parking sensors, roof rails, adaptive cruise control and rear privacy glass. The Elegance offers 19" alloys, heated steering wheel, a digital cockpit, a rearview camera, a panoramic roof, and park assist. The R-Line offers sporty touches, including 20" wheels, a body kit and LED headlights.

What should I look out for?

The Tiguan appeals as a family car, so look carefully for signs of bodywork damage from car parks or similar, and tired looking interiors from use by children.

Some buyers have reported issues with jerky DSG gearboxes, so if you're after a DSG version, give it a drive in various scenarios to make sure it changes gear smoothly.

Otherwise, it's a case of keeping it serviced on time and wearable items such as cambelts being changed on schedule, which should keep your Tiguan running smoothly for years to come.