T3 Drives: Volkswagen Tiguan is the most intuitive car we’ve ever driven

This premium compact SUV has buttons in all the right places

The Volkswagen Tiguan recently received a facelift along with improved efficiency, more space, and of course, a technology upgrade.

I’m a big fan of SUVs, and while this isn’t exactly designed for off-road use, just like the schoolgirl in the advert we couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel and see if VW has created the ultimate compact SUV package. 

VW claims the new Tiguan is cool, calm, and connected. Does this soft-roader live up to Volkswagen’s claims? Let’s take a look...

Features

Is it cool? We think it is! The updated Tiguan looks great (especially in Habanero Orange). It’s more modern, with sharper edges and a more boxy design. It looks more premium, and is a definite improvement over previous flabbier generations.

Is it calm? We drove a model with optional 4Motion all-wheel drive system which improves traction in challenging conditions, mated with 2.0-litre, 180PS petrol engine. The Tiguan is perfectly happy to calmly cruise down a motorway, but it’s also surprisingly fun to drive on twisty country roads as well. It’s a composed ride, and the automatic DSG gearbox is super smooth.

Is it connected? The Tiguan is surprisingly well equipped for a small SUV. There is driver assistance tech such as adaptive cruise control, park assist, electronic stability control, and lane assist, as well as an 8-inch touchscreen with Car-Net App-Connect and smartphone mirroring. 

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Our model also had an optional HUD, Dynamic Chassis Control and blind spot monitoring. So yes, it’s very connected, but what struck us was how intuitive the Tiguan is - this was the first VW I’d driven since a MKII Golf, but within five minutes of getting in I knew how all the controls worked - it’s a great UI.

Our Tiguan also had the optional 12.3-inch Active Info Display which replaces the traditional analogue speedometer. It’s a really clear, vivid screen, which plenty of options to customise the information on display.

The interior also reflects the car’s cool and calm nature. It’s not the most stylish interior we’ve seen, but it’s a functional, premium, and understated space to sit in.

Specs

Top Speed: 129 mph
0-62: 7.7 seconds
Engine: 2.0-litre TSI 180PS Bluemotion
Gearbox: 7-speed Auto DSG
Power: 180PS
Torque: 320 Nm
Fuel Consumption: 39.8 mpg
Carbon Emissions: 165 g/km
Weight: 2,150 kg

Performance

The Volkswagen Tiguan is comfortable, practical, and great to drive. Although it’s not the most engaging drive, the petrol engine and gearbox are smooth, and the optional Dynamic Chassis Control did a decent job of changing the car’s characteristics. It’s refined in most situations, and remains quite composed through corners.

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Our review model featured 4Motion all-wheel drive, which also comes with underbody protection, as well as larger approach and departure angles. That’s handy to know, although we suspect most of these vehicles will never venture off-road.

If you want something with a bit more umph, VW also offers a Tiguan with a 237bhp 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine. This pumps out 500Nm of torque, and gets the SUV from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. That’s seriously speedy for an small-ish SUV.

Verdict

We were seriously impressed with the Volkswagen Tiguan, this compact SUV had plenty of tech inside to keep us entertained, and the ease of using said tech is unrivalled. The exterior and interior looks and feels premium, and we found the driving experience composed and capable.

It’s not perfect, however, there are more affordable rivals out there, and it’s not the cheapest to run. The price of the Tiguan also puts it up against rivals such as BMW and JLR, so brand snobs may want to look elsewhere.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Spencer is the youngest member of the T3 team, but what he lacks in experience, he makes up for with enthusiasm. As the Mobile Tech Editor, Spencer covers everything that moves, from smartphones and wearables, to cars and drones.