Classy new Tiguan

moves upmarket

Volkswagen Tiguan, side, action
Volkswagen Tiguan, front
Volkswagen Tiguan, front, action
Volkswagen Tiguan, rear
Volkswagen Tiguan, interior
Volkswagen Tiguan, side
Volkswagen Tiguan, side, night
Volkswagen Tiguan, side, Berlin
Volkswagen Tiguan, parked, Berlin
Volkswagen Tiguan, static
Volkswagen Tiguan, cabin
Volkswagen Tiguan, side

THE Volkswagen Tiguan is already the German car maker's third best-selling model in the UK only beaten by the Golf and Polo and its popularity is surely set to continue with the latest model.

It's all-new and sits on VW's flexible MQB platform which also underpins the Golf and is the first medium SUV to use the new set-up.

First introduced in 2007, the Tiguan has been a real success, with more than 2.8 million finding homes in 170 countries across the world and in the UK alone last year sales were around 22,000.

As expected, Volkswagen hasn't gone in for a radical change in styling, it knows what its loyal customers go for.

Nevertheless, the new Tiguan is a lot more stylish with clean lines and a powerful dynamic stance and presence on the road.

The front especially is more dramatic with a wider radiator grille, optional slim LED lights and air vents and new side wheel arches add to its appeal.

The new five-seat Tiguan is also set lower to the ground and is slightly wider and longer which gives it a more aggressive look than the outgoing model.

The bigger proportion means there's more space inside with increased head room and knee room and when the new slidable rear bench is folded the cargo space, at 1,655 litres, is 145 litres larger than before and a lower load sill makes loading easier.

There is no doubt that the interior of the new SUV is a step up. I found the seating in the Tiguan very comfortable and you are surrounded by classier and better quality materials than before.

In front of the driver is a 12.3-inch Active Info Display screen, including sat nav, which can also be used for a multitude of assistance such as an off-road display with steering wheel angle indicator and compass.

As order books open in the UK the high-volume diesel will be available as a 2.0 TDI 150bhp with 4MOTION all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox or six-speed manual transmission, or with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox.

In addition the petrol 2.0 TSI with 180bhp, 4MOTION and DSG is also on offer now. Other engine, drive and gearbox options will be available in two further order waves over the next two months.

The first batch of engines in the UK offer 0-62mph times of between 7.7 seconds (2.0 TSI 180bhp) to 9.3 seconds (2.0 TDI 150bhp), with top speeds ranging from 129mph to 124 mph.

Emissions are calculated at between 125g/km (2.0 TDI 150bhp front-wheel drive with six-speed manual gearbox), to 170g/km (2.0 TSI 180bhp 4MOTION with seven-speed DSG).

Claimed fuel economy on a combined run ranges from 58.9mpg (2.0 TDI 150bhp front wheel drive six-speed manual) to 38.2mpg (2.0 TSI 180bhp 4MOTION with seven-speed DSG).

VW UK says that diesel engines are expected to make up around 95 per cent of new Tiguan sales with manual gearboxes making up around 60 per cent of the choice of transmissions.

The new up-market SUV comes with the latest developments in safety kit including the first "active bonnet" on a Volkswagen which reduces the risk of injury to pedestrians and cyclists by lifting upward in the event of an impact - rising 50mm within 22 milliseconds of an impact.

Also on the safety list are seven airbags - including a knee airbag on the driver's side. It also comes with the automatic post-collision braking system which helps to avoid dangerous secondary collisions.

The UK range will be badged S, SE, SE Navigation, SEL and R-Line and the best-selling model is likely to be the 2.0 TDI 150bhp 4MOTION manual in SE spec.

Prices range from £25,530 to £35,095.

I drove the new model which will be the UK's favourite Tiguan in Berlin, mainly in city traffic and on the autobahn and was very impressed with its smoothness and performance off the mark.

There was very little road, wind or engine noise and on the short stretches of ordinary country roads it handled well on bends and over rougher patches of Tarmac.

We also tried it off-road on a reasonably tough track and it performed well, so taking it off the hard stuff can be an option if needed.

All in all, the new Tiguan is a step up, and will compete strongly with the growing list of medium SUVs that are springing up from almost every car maker.

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