Compact Tiguan popular choice for winter roads
Keith Ward TIGUAN was VW’s first venture into the compact SUV market and in the UK it has become their fourth best-seller after the Golf, Polo and Passat.
In looks the chunkily handsome, high-stance, five-door Tiguan bears a family resemblance to its bigger brother Touareg.
Its footprint lies between those of a Golf and Golf Estate. There’s width for three to cosy up on the rear seats, or for two to take the outer pair and fold down the skimpier middle section as a table. Leg and headroom is ample in a cabin feeling spacious in this class and tastefully furnished, with a comfortable driving position, good storage and clear instruments.
A box-shaped boot extends to nearly 1.5 metres when the rear seats, at the tug of a strap, are slid and dropped down, with flaps to level out the floor. Below it, handy storage trays surround the emergency spare wheel in its well. Cargo capacity expands to more than 1,500 litres.
A 23-strong range at between £20,000 and £31,000 offers a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines outputting 110 to 180 PS, gearboxes either six-speed manual or seven speed automatic and four levels of trim, including an R-Line sports version.
Diesels account for nine out of 10 Tiguan sales, while most versions are four-wheeldrive, attracting 80 per cent of customers. Five of the 23 are front-drive only, including a lowpriced, tax-beating trio puffing out only 139g/ km of CO2.
A majority of Tiguans feature VW’s efficient BlueMotion Technology to enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions.
Even with 4WD you would not call the Tiguan a serious off-roader, but our test car was dressed in Escape trim, with useful features if you do leave the tarmac.
An off-road button on the dash activates hill descent assist, modifies accelerator and brakes for rough ground and adapts the ABS for loose surfaces.
There’s extra body protection front and sides, while a shorter front overhang allows a steeper approach angle, 28 degrees instead of 18, to upward slopes. For all versions, departure angle is 25 degrees and ground clearance 195 mm, or 7.6 inches.
Escape trim also includes chromed roof rails, fold-down front passenger seat, folding tables, rear tinted glass, bigger 17-inch alloys and automatic wipers and lights but only manual air con (climate a £515 option) and no parking sensors (a £510 extra) which are useful on a high vehicle.
On the road, the Tiguan Escape is commendably civilised, giving a saloon-like, comfortable, quiet ride without swaying or pitching. The seven-speed DSG automatic most of the time produced seamless changes but had a freewheeling or coasting function as standard. This disengages the engine from gearbox when you come off the throttle to save fuel and there is a disconcerting lull in power.
CHUNKY LOOKS: Volkswagen’s popular compact SUV the Tiguan.