The second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan landed in 2016 & was a massive improvement over the original, which we found a little bland. 2021 sees the updated version land with more aggressive looks, better tech, improved safety & a far superior interior, taking it ever closer to the premium brands both on quality & on price.
The updated Tiguan is offered in four trim lines; Tiguan, Life, Elegance & R-Line. Engine choices come in the form of a 1.5-litre TSI petrol unit, available with either 128bhp or 148bhp. And a 2.0-litre diesel engine, offering 148bhp or 197bhp. Petrol cars are front-wheel-drive only, whilst the 148bhp diesel is offered with a choice of two or four-wheel-drive. The more powerful 197bhp diesel only comes with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a seven-speed DSG auto available on Elegance & R-Line models. An ‘R’ performance & a plug-in hybrid Tiguan arrive in 2021, with the latter having by far most appeal to fleet customers, thanks to it’s guaranteed low BIK.
The Tiguan is based on Volkswagens MQB platform,which is shared with a number of other VW’s, Audi’s & Skoda’s. The main exterior changes are in keeping with it’s larger SUV sibling the Touareg. You get a larger front grille, redesigned LED headlights , a new rear panel & rear tail lights.
Entry level Tiguan offers 17″ alloys, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto with an 8″ infotainment screen. Life add’s 18″ alloys, SatNav, front & rear parking sensors, Park Assist & three zone climate control. Elegance up’s the ante with the addition of 20″ alloys, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof & upgraded upholstery. Range topping R-Line takes this a touch further with the addition of sports seats, keyless entry & a sports body kit.
As a ‘Volkswagen family,’ we run a Polo & a T-Roc, so the inside of the Tiguan is pleasingly familiar. We were testing an R-Line specced model which includes VW’s splendid 10″ digital cockpit, also offered on Elegance models. The graphics are excellent & the clarity second to none. There’s an all-new steering wheel with touch sensitive buttons featuring haptic feedback & like the larger Touareg, the quality of finish on the dashboard, doors & instrumentation is better than before.
Equipment & features
New technology includes updated voice controls & new menus. The heating controls have also been upgraded with the inclusion of a more modern touch-sensitive design replacing manual dials. VW have also sensibly placed these separate from the other touchscreen functions, making it easier to adjust whilst on the move.
The R-Line 150 bhp we were driving, is mated to the 7- speed DSG gearbox, which comes with five driving functions; Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport & Individual. The Mode button sits below the Auto Hold & electronic hand brake next to the driver & it’s very easy to select which one you want to use.
R-Line comes generously equipped & includes Volkswagens We Connect Plus & a free three-year subscription. It also features greatly improve lighting, with dipped & main beam headlights featuring dynamic range control, high beam assist & LED daytime running lights, rear lights incorporating LED technology & LED rear number plate lights. Also included are heat insulating tinted glass, LED ‘Plus’ self-levelling headlights, with Dynamic Curve lighting & High Beam Assist.
Discover Media Navigation comes as well & safety features include Traffic Jam Assist, Stop & Go, Emergency Assist, Lane Assist with Road Edge Recognition, Park Assist & Side Assist with Rear traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control, our favourite is also included.
The Tiguan’s interior is generous, especially with headroom, as it’s 60mm longer & 30mm wider than before. This means that you can comfortably seat three adults in the back. As far as cabin storage goes, there’s a large glove box, four good sized door pockets, under armrest space & two cup holders. The rear seats recline & slide forward up to 170mm, making room for extra luggage or passenger legroom. With all five seats in place, the boot comes with 520 litres of storage. Slide the rear seat forward & this increases to 615 litres & for even more usefulness, fold the three rear seats down & you’ve a whopping 1655 litres available. The boot floor also features two storage areas, one on each side which sit lower than the boot floor & which are perfect for carrying bottles or similar back from the supermarket.
The Tiguan ticks all of the SUV boxes as a five-door family car & is designed to get you from A to B in comfort. The 1.5 TSI 150bhp that we were driving, takes the Tiguan onto a top speed of 126mph, with a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds, although this does feel quicker. All of this is achieved in a quiet & relaxing fashion.
In town, the Tiguan is surprisingly manoeuvrable. On winding roads, it holds onto tarmac well & there’s not too much SUV body-roll. The 20″ wheels mean that that the R-Line, suspension is a little on the hard side, but fear not, the comfy seats iron out any real discomfort. It’s best on the motorway, where apart from Adaptive Cruise Control, VW has now included an optional Travel Assist function, which combines steering assistance & adaptive cruise control to allow semi-autonomous capability. If you’re going on a long journey, then the Tiguan will get you there & back in some comfort.
Emissions, fuel economy & company car suitability
On the R-Line 150 we tested, CO2 emissions are 165 g/km with a combined economy of 38.8 mpg. In our week & 300 miles in the Tiguan, we drove mostly in Eco mode & a return of over 35mpg is definitely achievable.
Although we couldn’t fault the R-Line Tiguan, it is unfortunately lumbered with a BIK of 36%. As a 20% tax payer you’d be paying £183 a month in company car tax, or worse, a whopping £385 a month as a 40% tax payer, That means the arrival of the new plug-in Tiguan, with likely BIK of 16%, can’t come fast enough for customers shopping in the corporate sector & we would strongly suggest that this would be the one to choose.
We spent a highly enjoyable week driving the petrol Tiguan. No range anxiety, decent motorway progression & a quality cabin, made a refreshing change from the electric cars we’ve driven recently. Overall, the latest Tiguan is a comfy, competent, spacious contender in it’s class. For families, there’s loads of space & the addition of the latest safety & tech keep the Tiguan relevant. Whilst VW may have designs on the likes of the BMW X3, we feel it’s a slight step below in quality, but not by much & is a better all rounder than the Qashqai, 3008 or Kuga. If you are considering a Tiguan as a company car, you won’t be disappointed, but it may be sensible to wait for the arrival of the plug-in version, due later in 2021, which will not only save on your tax bill, but will also come with lower emissions, much improved fuel economy & will be more environmentally friendly.