Volkswagen Tiguan

2016 - First Drive

Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, front, action
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, front
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, nose
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, side, parked
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, side, parked, Berlin
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, side, action
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, cabin
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, rear
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, interior
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, off road

THE emissions scandal still hangs heavy but Volkswagen is showing its mettle by launching an all-new version of its top-selling Tiguan SUV.

Sitting on the same modular platform that makes the Golf so good to drive, the new Tiguan is bigger, sharper and more posh than ever.

And without a whiff of ‘dieselgate' the mainstream engine is impressively economical, especially for a 4x4.

Volkswagen claims an official fuel return of 49.6mpg with emissions of 149g/km for the top range 2.0-litre 150ps diesel Tiguan with a seven speed semi-automatic DSG gearbox.

But in stop/start traffic the Tiguan out-performed that figure and we managed to record an average of 52.3 to the gallon on the trip computer negotiating the rush hour in Berlin.

Since it first hit the scene in 2007 the Tiguan has become a best seller for VW in the UK, cashing in on the SUV boom and with almost 22,000 sold in Britain last year it is very much a car in demand.

That is not going to change and with the new one priced from £22,480 (that's for a front-wheel drive 1.4-litre petrol model) the Tiguan is pitching in against the likes of the BMW X1, the Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4.

As the first SUV from the Volkswagen camp to be based on the so-called MQB platform, the Tiguan will spawn a range of new activity vehicles across the VW Group - and that will include models from Audi, Skoda and SEAT.

With a fresh face, some classy paint jobs and a reworked interior the new Tiguan is moving upmarket.

It is more than two inches longer than before, wider and lower which makes it look much more purposeful while boot space at 615 litres is up by almost 20 per cent.

The car we tried had a power operated tailgate complete with gesture control (waggle your foot below the back bumper if your hands are full) and the load height is lower with a wider opening.

It is very user-friendly and with the rear seats folded there's 1,655 litres of room which is enough to pack in a couple of mountain bikes or the like.

The new Tiguan is bigger inside too which makes for greater comfort front and back.

There is a quality feel all round - even the door pockets are lined - and the dash is centred on an 8.5-inch touchscreen with proximity control.

The instrument panel is a multi-function TFT display with high resolution graphics that can b set up to include everything from sat nav maps to trip data.

Another upmarket trait now becoming a feature on most VWs is a frameless rear view mirror while the vanity mirrors in the sun vizors have LED illumination.

On the centre console aft of the gear lever is now a rotary control for the various drive modes and with the Tiguan being a proper off-roader there are settings for all types of terrain.

More 4x4 information such as the steering angle of the front wheels can be shown on the instrument displays and VW's 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system includes the likes of hill descent control.

Over poor terrain it performs well and as with the first generation model it can be specified with off-road design with the front bumper set higher to improve ground clearance.

The 150ps diesel - one of 11 powertrains available in the new Tiguan range - is good enough for all circumstances and it is now much more refined in terms of overall responsiveness and noise suppression.

With paddle shifters the DSG box has plenty of flexibility on or off road and there is little penalty on the fuel front for going automatic.

The manual version is rated at 50.4mpg while in two-wheel-drive set up the official figure is 58.9 to the gallon.

The range topper we sampled costs from £35,095 although the overall diesel line up is likely to be priced from around £25,000 when the new model comes on stream in the summer.

Performance figures for the 150ps model are 0 to 60 in 9.3 seconds with a top speed of 124mph and it does the job adequately. It also has enough grunt to tow up to 2.5 tonnes.

Whether it's on the school run or setting out on an expedition, the Tiguan has always had a lot going for it. That's not changed but the new model is a whole lot better in every department.

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