Volkswagen Tiguan

1.4 TSI SE

Navigation 2WD

Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, front
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, side
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, rear
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, display screen
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2017, interior, manual
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2016, instruments
Volkswagen Tiguan, boot

WHETHER you call them crossovers, small SUVs or compact off-roaders, they all face a similar challenge.

Never mind being touted as the best, for many players in this congested area of the car market it's a battle just to survive.

Gaining an edge over the opposition is vital - regardless of image - and while there may be more eye-catching offerings out there, the new generation Volkswagen Tiguan displays compelling features.

For instance, safety is a paramount consideration for families and in this sphere the Tiguan excels thanks to being built on the same flexible platform that underpins the Volkswagen Golf.

So features like Front Assist with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring, an active bonnet, automatic post-collision braking and Lane Assist are fitted as standard.

The active bonnet is an interesting development, and the first on any VW model, in the way it cuts the risk of injury to pedestrians and cyclists by lifting upward in the event of an impact - rising 50 mm within 22 milliseconds.

There are also seven airbags including a knee airbag on the driver's side, the upshot of it all meaning the Tiguan not only secured a five-star rating in the European New Car Assessment Programme's crash test series but was also named Best in Class by Euro NCAP.

Aside from the safety elements, everything else is classic VW and that means a functional, predictable and familiar cabin with strong, durable seats and ample knee and legroom for three rear passengers - though the centre position is slightly perched.

The car also has a sliding rear bench seat with up to 180mm of adjustment, 20mm more than in the previous model, and with the rear bench slid forwards the boot space really opens up - to 615 litres.

And if you need to tow a caravan or even a horsebox, depending on the model and drivetrain there's a capacity of up to 2,500kg, which is unique in this class of compact SUV.

The new Tiguan line-up stretches through 34 variants and costs from £23,140 for a 125ps 1.4-litre TSI petrol model with front-wheel drive in entry grade S trim rising to a hefty £39,270 for the flagship 240ps 2.0-litre turbodiesel R-Line 4x4 with twin clutch DSG transmission.

Something you can predict with some assurance is that the engineering of a Volkswagen vehicle will be exceptional - this Tiguan was no exception.

The 1.4-litre petrol engine, in this case the more powerful of the two versions with 150ps, was sweet, smooth and silent to drive comfortably in urban conditions and with vigour on faster roads.

Its six-speed manual gearbox is slick to use and I managed to nudge 40 miles per gallon, as compared to the official figure of 48.7mpg.

SE Navigation trim level brings features like a flat-bottomed steering wheel, powered tailgate and full length glass sunroof with electrically sliding cover and of course sat nav.

That's in addition to a standard spec that offers, as a minimum, stuff to keep you connected like an eight-inch colour touchscreen, DABradio, CD player, USB connection and Bluetooth.

And when a smartphone is paired with the Tiguan phone calls can be made via the car's microphone and speakers.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI SE Navigation 2WD

Price: £26,615

Mechanical: 150ps, 1.4-litre, 4-cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual transmission

Max Speed: 125mph

0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 48.7

Insurance Group: 17

C02 emissions: 132g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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