The second generation of Volkswagen Tiguan is enjoying great popularity. In the UK, it is currently the best-selling VW after the Golf and Polo.
Volkswagen has tried to give it more substance and bring the Tiguan into the luxury class so it can better take on rivals like the Land Rover Discovery Sport. This also addresses a shortcoming of the first model - interior space wasn't quite where it should be for a family-oriented SUV. In addition to the regular, five-seat Tiguan, there's now a seven-seat Tiguan AllSpace. It's prepared for in-house rivals like the Skoda Kodiaq, but also for new SUV-like people carriers like the Peugeot 5008.
There's a mix of petrol and diesel engines, ranging from 113bhp to 237bhp.
It's VW's first SUV based on the MQB architecture that underpins so many of the group's cars. You're probably sick of those three letters in car reviews by now, so let's get straight to the point: MQB-based cars always handle sharply and are intuitive and easy to drive.
It is ergonomically well thought out, exceptionally well made, and functional. With the vast abundance of SUVs and crossovers currently on the market, the VW's ergonomic sensibilities and high-quality materials are exactly what it needs to stand out to certain types of buyers.
The AllSpace costs around £2,500 more, offers an extra 100 litres of boot space and two folding seats in the boot floor for when you unexpectedly need to pick up your kids' Plus-Ones at the school gate.
Much of the credit goes to the MQB architecture, which is shared by a plethora of cars across the VW Group. Golf, A3, Octavia, TT... they're all precise, pleasant to drive, and the Tiguan is no different.
Its handling is absolutely car-like and might even encourage you to have some fun. The 2.0 TDI diesel, which most will opt for, is only noticeable under hard acceleration and is pleasantly quiet at motorway speeds. It's also supremely effortless when mated to the DSG gearbox; with a modest weight of 1,673kg by SUV standards, the Tiguan doesn't have to struggle too much with physics. It also means that the claimed fuel economy of 80 km/h is unusually good.
The downside of its modest weight is its modest size, and it's certainly closer to a car than a full-blown SUV. But that also means it's an absolute breeze to park and weave through traffic. VW says most owners opt for four-wheel drive, and the Tiguan can tow up to 2,500kg with the help of an electronic trailer assist system.
Buying a Tiguan means paying a premium. Compared to the Ateca or Karoq, you have to fork out around £4,000 more. Yikes. Value stability should be a bit better though.
Unless you're doing a lot of towing or mudding, the Tiguan's price is best for its lower-end size. The Tiguan with the same 148-horsepower diesel engine in SE Nav trim, with front-wheel drive and a manual transmission, costs $28,000. The appeal of 4x4 and DSG is probably strong in a car like this. As is the sharper R-Line styling.
Mentioning a VW's CO2 and fuel economy figures seems like a bad joke these days, but the Tiguan came on the market after Dieselgate, and its fuel economy figures seem unusually good in the real world, to say the least. With the 148bhp diesel that most will opt for, you might get closer to the claimed 50.4mph than you'd expect.
The first-generation Tiguan looked a bit staid and never stood out much in the SUV segment. The new Tiguan looks sharper and more exciting, and that's reflected in its handling. Most people who buy one may never appreciate how Golf-like its dynamics are.
With the seven-seat AllSpace, the Tiguan is also up against a larger and more diverse group of cars than its predecessor ever was.
Either way, the Tiguan is a feel-good car and one of the most accomplished VW currently builds. And its stablemates aren't too shabby either.