All-new VW Tiguan lands with fresh looks and more efficient engines
VW has gone to town for the third generation of its best-selling SUV with a comprehensive list of upgrades and revisions – including a long-range PHEV and nifty new chassis technology.
Conduct a quick straw poll on which of VW’s expansive range is the hottest seller and, nine times out of ten, you’ll probably get the same answer: the Golf. However, it’s actually a common misconception as the taller Tiguan owns the title and by some margin – 458,000 Tiguans delivered in 2022 plays 297,000 Golfs.
It hasn’t always been this way though. Arriving late to the C-segment SUV party in 2008 with the original Tiguan, Japanese rivals like Honda’s CRV and Toyota’s Rav4 had already been racking up sales for nearly a decade. But it didn’t take long for VW to make a name for itself thanks to impressive high-speed refinement and a classier cabin than some competitors.
Nowadays, the game has moved on considerably. The days of low-rent interior materials and agricultural driving dynamics are long behind us; most manufacturers now offer an SUV which is as polished as the hatchback equivalent. So, does the latest Tiguan have what it takes to keep its place on the podium?
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Getting the design spot on is imperative, given that many Tiguan buyers will be won or lost at this stage. Clearly the new look is far from ground-breaking, but we think VW has done a commendable job of modernising the old model whilst also retaining that air of quality and class which won it favour in the past.
The new form also has function in mind. At 652 litres, the boot is 37 litres larger than before. Outside, a redesigned glass and LED front end contributes to a reduced drag coefficient, and the technical-looking bumper helps to ensure optimal airflow.
On the subject of efficiency, one of the headline additions for MK3 is the new plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of around 60 miles of pure EV running. But if that doesn’t take your fancy, a dizzying array of other configurations are available: TDI (diesel), TSI (petrol), and mild hybrid (eTSI). And, given the UK’s unexpected pushback of the ban on new ICE cars to 2035, the former two specifications could well prove more popular than VW expected.
What’s more, if you had your heart set on a Golf R but the Tiguan’s improved practicality won your head, a high-performance Tiguan R is reportedly also set to feature as a best of both worlds alternative. Borrowing the Golf’s firecracker 315-bhp motor, the R certainly won’t be lacking in point-to-point shove.
A much-improved chassis will help to ensure it’s no one-trick pony either. As standard, you get a four-link rear suspension (MacPherson Strut-up-front) plus better dampers than before. Splash a little more cash and you'll get innovative twin-valve constantly variable dampers which form part of the car’s Vehicle Dynamics Manager. In essence, this means you can tailor the suspension to your exact needs, with the choice of 15 different modes on offer.
This advanced set-up should really help to make the most of Hankook’s Ventus S1 Evo rubber (as pictured) when tipping the Tiguan into turns with some gusto. Then, when you don’t feel like such spirited driving, the Hankook’s reduced road noise and comfortable ride should offer an effortless motorway cruise.
There’s plenty to keep you entertained in the cabin too. Although it has always been careful to screw its interiors together properly, you could accuse VW of being somewhat unimaginative with previous designs. Not so here. Funky ambient lighting adorns the dash and runs into the door cards for a bang up-to-date feel. Depending on your mood, you can also select from pre-programmed ‘Atmospheres’ which alter the interior ambiance and select appropriate playlists from music streaming platforms. That’ll certainly keep the kids entertained whilst you nip to ASDA.
To summarise, VW’s latest Tiguan should slot beautifully into the segment where its predecessor excelled. With handsome looks, tidy handling, and an engine for any application, we can see little reason not to buy one. Prices are expected to start at £30,000, so expect to see plenty of new Tiguans on the road when the latest shape arrives early next year.
Have the plethora of improvements been enough to turn your head? Let us know which C-segment SUV gets your vote.
Hero image credit: VW