The previous generation Volkswagen Tiguan never seemed as desirable as other premium SUVs. That has been well and truly remedied in this all-new model. Now the styling is bold, chunky and, crucially, cool. Looks aside, Volkswagen has made the new Tiguan drive with real quality while delivering the kind of refinement few can rival in the segment.
In the Metal:
We've had to wait a decade for this second generation Tiguan to arrive, but it's clear that Volkswagen took its time in getting it right. Other than physical size there are no similarities carried forward from the previous Tiguan to this all-new model, which is no bad thing. Where its predecessor was rounded looking and ran the line between cute and awkward, this new Tiguan is a huge step forward for Volkswagen design and will herald the start of a long overdue SUV-based new model offensive.
Irrespective of whether you look at the Trendline, popular Comfortline or the range-topping Highline specification reviewed here, the chunky design of the Tiguan offers heaps more kerbside appeal. The broad, snub-nosed front end carries over the type of styling seen in the current Passat, but translated into an SUV shape. As we've come to expect from new Volkswagen models of late there are sharp creases along the flanks. The roofline and C-pillar help give the car a chunkier image, as do the pronounced wheel arches.
The designers have incorporated some nice functional touches too, such as doors that wrap around the bottom of the sill floor. This means that, no matter how dirty the exterior gets, you won't accidentally brush your legs off a mucky door sill when getting in or out. An all-new platform allows for more interior space too, most noticeably for passengers in the rear. Here legroom has grown by 29mm, yet boot space remains a useful 520 litres. That's up by more than 50 litres over the previous model. The rear seats can also slide forward to increase boot volume to 615 litres and if you fold them flat this grows to 1,655 litres.
If you're willing to spend that bit more on your Tiguan you can avail of a fully digitised 12.3-inch dashboard display, just like that seen on the likes of the Audi Q7. The hardware is the same, but Volkswagen's graphics on the Tiguan look even more impressive than its more expensive relative's. Regular models will have the classic two dial instrument display that still looks well. The centre console is focused more towards the driver and is easy and intuitive to use. Those keen to connect their smartphone can do so via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink too.
Many would-be Tiguan buyers may be swayed towards the front-wheel drive manual models for obvious cost and taxation purposes, but this all-wheel drive transmission with its slick seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox makes for a really good package. In the past, Volkswagen's 150hp 2.0-litre TDI sometimes felt sluggish when paired up with an all-wheel drive system, but this is no longer the case.
Around town the Tiguan feels smooth and supple over surface imperfections, while always retaining good body control. You won't feel yourself being jostled around in your seat as you tackle potholes and speed humps. That said, it isn't a harsh ride, even on the larger wheels. A higher seating position helps too, affording the driver a good field of vision all-round, while rearward visibility is largely unobstructed thanks to a large, wide window. Volkswagen does offer a full accompaniment of optional parking aids too, including a camera system offering an overhead view and a function to show just how close you are to the kerb when parking - assuming you chose to park yourself rather than letting the Park Assist system do it for you.
Not that many Tiguans are likely to tackle anything more off-road than the footpath at the local park, but the 4Motion all-wheel drive system does make this a very capable vehicle in the more challenging stuff. There is also an 'Off-road Pack' that sees different bumpers and additional protective cladding added to give it improved approach and departure angles if you're feeling adventurous.
Back on the black stuff the new Tiguan is a very refined car to drive. Road noise is minimal in the cabin while the engine noise is well insulated so you won't be constantly reminded that you're driving a diesel. Its electric power steering makes it easy to manoeuvre at slower speeds while on the open road it feels agile and responsive, but most importantly very surefooted.
What you get for your Money:
The full price range for the Tiguan line-up is still being confirmed, but pricing will start at €30,540 on-the-road for the 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine in Trendline specification. Most popular among Irish buyers is likely to be the 2.0-litre TDI engine, which will start at €34,540 for Comfortline specification. Expect Volkswagen Ireland to have competitive PCP finance packages in place, which will start from €359 per month.
Entry-level Trendline specification will include 17-inch Montana alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, Halogen headlights and LED rear tail lights, body coloured bumpers, a fabric interior and black roof rails. Bluetooth and the five-inch Composition Colour infotainment system will also feature as standard.
The mid-level Comfortline cars will add 17-inch Tulsa alloy wheels, a multifunction leather steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, Park Pilot, rear privacy glass, 6.5-inch Composition Media infotainment system, front fog lights with cornering function and silver anodised roof rails.
At the top level, Highline, standard equipment will include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with Dynamic Range Adjustment, heated front seats and Hill Descent Control, as well as a Park Assist with rear view camera.
Thanks to a clean sheet design and heaps more refinement Volkswagen has made the Tiguan a very well-rounded vehicle that surpasses much of its competition. The 2.0-litre TDI engine, expected to account for most of the sales in Ireland, offers up plenty of performance for everyday life too.