Quick test: Volk­swa­gen Tiguan

Model tested 2.0 TSI 180PS 4Motion SEL DSG Price £33,015 Kerb­weight 1645-1862kg

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

This is a sta­ble tow car, but the 2.0-litre petrol en­gine tested here proved thirsty

What’s new?

We’re fa­mil­iar with the Tiguan, hav­ing pre­vi­ously run a diesel model on our long-term fleet. Like many car­a­van­ners, we’re cu­ri­ous about mak­ing the switch to petrol power, hence this test of the 2.0 TSI 180.

What are we look­ing for?

In gen­eral, petrol en­gines have much less pulling power than the equiv­a­lent diesel, but the 2.0-litre en­gine in our Tiguan has 236lb ft. Is that enough to han­dle a sen­si­bly matched tourer and will econ­omy suf­fer? Tow­ing abil­ity Petrol cars can be much lighter than a com­pa­ra­ble diesel, but the Tiguan TSI only gives away 30kg or so to the diesel ver­sion. VW quotes a range of kerb­weights from 1645kg to 1862kg. Even work­ing from the lower fig­ure, that gives a rea­son­able 85% match fig­ure of 1398kg. That’s well within the le­gal tow­ing limit of 2500kg.

For our test, we matched the Tiguan to a 2010 Eld­dis Odyssey 540 with a MIRO of 1377kg.

Any doubts about whether the petrol en­gine would be up to the job were quickly dis­pelled. The 2.0 TSI pulled the Eld­dis up to speed con­fi­dently and with­out fuss. On steep hills, the DSG gear­box some­times se­lected a lower gear than a torquier diesel might have needed, but with smooth gear changes and a re­fined en­gine, this was no great hard­ship.

The en­gine un­der­lined its strength with a brisk 30-60mph time of 11.1 sec­onds. That com­pares well with the 10.9 sec­onds our 190PS diesel Tiguan achieved, al­beit tow­ing a dif­fer­ent car­a­van.

Sta­bil­ity-wise, the Tiguan petrol proved a con­fi­dent and se­cure tow car. Whereas our pre­vi­ous diesel model had sport sus­pen­sion, the petrol has adap­tive dampers and we found it more for­giv­ing of rough roads while tow­ing.

The Tiguan han­dled the lanechange test well, too. It changed di­rec­tion quickly and kept body roll well in check by SUV stan­dards. Even with the tourer be­gin­ning to slip and slide be­hind it, the Tiguan stuck to its task.

It also pulled away on a 1-in-10 slope with ease. A few more revs were re­quired than with a diesel, but four-wheel drive and the DSG made life easy.

Only when hitch­ing up did we have any com­plaint about the DSG, which doesn’t ‘creep’ as smoothly at low speeds as a con­ven­tional auto.

Solo driv­ing Hav­ing put many miles on Tiguans with sports sus­pen­sion

and now with adap­tive dampers, it’s not hard to say which we pre­fer. The adap­tive set-up gives driv­ers the choice of sport, nor­mal and com­fort modes. The lat­ter two are much more sup­ple over bumpy roads than the sports set-up, which comes as stan­dard on range-top­ping R-line mod­els. We found the nor­mal set­ting a sen­si­ble com­pro­mise for most driv­ing con­di­tions, some­times switch­ing to com­fort at lower speeds around town.

Head out into the coun­try­side and body con­trol in com­fort is a lit­tle too loose, but ei­ther of the other modes de­liv­ers a taut and re­spon­sive drive. Sport also adds heft to the steer­ing and sharp­ens the throt­tle re­sponse.

With­out a car­a­van in tow, you can re­ally en­joy the 2.0 TSI’S free-revving nature and more cul­tured ex­haust note. There’s al­most as much mid-range pull as an equiv­a­lent diesel, but a lot more top-end grunt.

As with the R-line diesel we’ve tested pre­vi­ously, there’s some road noise to con­tend with, par­tic­u­larly over coarse sur­faces. Oth­er­wise the Tiguan cruises along rea­son­ably qui­etly.


We found the driv­ing po­si­tion com­fort­able, and there’s enough ad­just­ment for the seat and wheel for short and tall driv­ers to be ac­com­mo­dated equally well. The dash­board is at­trac­tive to look at and clearly laid out, al­though some of the plas­tics on the doors and the lower part of the dash are quite hard.

There’s de­cent rear-seat space for adults to travel com­fort­ably. The seat backs can be re­clined and the whole seats slide for­ward on run­ners to make room for a lit­tle more lug­gage if needed.

With the rear seats in place there’s 615 litres for bags. That’s more than most es­tate cars, al­though it’s some way off the 720 litres in a five-seat Škoda Ko­diaq. Lev­ers ei­ther side of the boot make it easy to fold the rear seats and lib­er­ate 1655 litres.

Buy­ing and own­ing

We could only achieve 20.8mpg while tow­ing with the Tiguan petrol. Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial com­bined fig­ures, the Tiguan is ca­pa­ble of 38.2mpg in solo driv­ing. How­ever, we’ve seen re­turns in the low 30s even when driv­ing gently.

With a price of £33,015, the Tiguan costs more than many of its ri­vals. How­ever, What Car?’s re­search sug­gests that hag­gling will get that down to £30,387.

If you sell the car af­ter three years and 36,000 miles, What Car? pre­dicts you’ll get back around 45% of its orig­i­nal price af­ter three years.


The Tiguan is a sta­ble tow car and an en­joy­able ev­ery­day drive, but it’s rel­a­tively ex­pen­sive and – with this en­gine – rather thirsty.

‘We could only achieve 20.8mpg while tow­ing with the Tiguan and low 30s when driv­ing solo’


Lane-change test

As you’d ex­pect with an SUV, there was some body roll, but the Tiguan was un­fazed by the tourer 2010 Eld­dis Odyssey 540 cour­tesy of


(inc mir­rors) 210cm 108cm 449cm 73cm 93cm 86cm

Be­hind the wheel

SEL trim gives you com­fort seats with 12-way ad­just­ment, sat-nav with an 8.0-inch screen, plus LED head­lights and 19-inch al­loys

Rear seats

Pas­sen­gers will be happy with the space on of­fer. The rear seats slide to favour legroom or to boost lug­gage ca­pac­ity


The boot isn’t as large as the Ko­diaq’s but it’s still a good size and shape for the class

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