THERE'S no pretending that the trusty VW Tiguan is in its first flush of youth. Yet it remains a hugely popular choice among the growing band of compact SUV buyers.
Hardly surprising since it is based on the Golf, one of the most successful family cars of all time and a particular favourite among us Brits.
I've recently renewed acquaintances with five-door, four-wheel drive Tiguan in Match trim, just a few months before its replacement goes on sale.
Of the three 2.0-litre diesel options I plumped for the half-way house 148bhp version which offers a good blend of performance alongside realistic 50mpg economy.
Despite receiving a full-on facelift back in 2011, the Tiguan remains a slightly frumpy looking design - not bad from the front, but the hind-quarters and rear are distinctly staid.
None of this takes away from the fact that despite the compact dimensions the VW crossover can pack away a load of luggage and carry five people in comfort.
With rear seats in place there's 470 litres of cargo space and by flipping them down it's increased to 1,510 litres which is at least as good as most more modern rivals.
Like all VWs, the cabin is top notch with high grade plastics, superb fit and clear, easy to read dials. Only if you step up to the class above and go for an Evoque, Q3 or X3 are you rewarded with greater style and similar quality.
Climate control, daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors and touch sat nav screen are each standard features.
As far as driving goes, unsurprisingly the Tiguan feel for all the world like a more upright Golf.
There's a tad more body roll but the tyres cling on well offering the ability to corner briskly and tidily. Equipped with 4Motion intelligent four-wheel-drive, when the extra axle is not required it operates in front drive, conserving fuel and reducing tyre wear.
Those who feel they have little need of the extra adhesion offered by four-wheel-drive would be best saving cash by specifying a front-drive Tiguan.
My average fuel consumption worked out at 47mpg, with 50mpg easily attainable through a gentler right foot.
The official combined average is 49.6mpg with emissions of 150g/km. incidentally, the two wheel-drive model is about 10 per cent more frugal.
It might be upright-looking and somewhat staid, but the Tiguan has a fair turn of speed clocking a max of 117mph and accelerating to 62mph in under 10 seconds.
The test car was fitted with seven speed dual clutch automatic gearbox which has lightning responses and smooth changes.
Pioneered in models such as the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster, it really takes a deal of hassle out of heavy traffic driving without the feeling of relinquishing any worthwhile control. Noise levels are generally pleasantly low although the engine note is typically gruff at start up.