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Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 4MOTION On Test
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Volkswagen launched its first generation Tiguan back in 2008 and I am sure had no idea how successful it would be. The SUV/crossover market was just beginning to take off, buoyed by cars such as the Nissan Qashqai and its ilk.

After the Polo and Golf models, Tiguan is Volkswagen UK's third best-selling model and to date more than 100,000 are plying the UK's highways and byways. Globally 2.8 million Tiguans have been sold.

2015 was a record year for Tiguan sales (21,889 to be precise), but the writing was clearly on the wall after some eight years.

Time then for a new model, ready to take on all-comers in the burgeoning crossover market.

Sitting on Volkswagen's flexible MQB platform, the attractively styled new Tiguan is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor. The wheelbase is nearly 80mm longer which translates into improved passenger space. VW claims the interior offers one of the most spacious interiors in its class and there is little doubting that four or five well-proportioned adults will be able to travel in comfort.

The rear seats slide to optimise luggage/passenger space according to need, with up to 615 litres available seats up. Fold them away and some 1,655 litres of space is there to be filled.

Also by Andy Harris...
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Anyone who has driven a Golf in recent years will feel readily at home in the driver's seat. Everything works with Teutonic efficiency and all major controls fall easily to hand. Available for the first time in a Volkswagen car is the option to specify a digital instrument display (a version of Audi's Virtual Cockpit). This allows the driver to change the information in the binnacle, perhaps prioritising the satellite navigation when on an unfamiliar journey. It works well and can be combined with a head-up display.

A familiar range of petrol and diesel engines are offered. Petrol power comes courtesy of a 1.4-litre unit with three power outputs (125,150 and 180PS). The most powerful is only available with 4Motion four-wheel drive and offers the option of a 7-speed automatic DSG gearbox.

Most Tiguan buyers are expected to choose a diesel engine and the 2.0-litre unit is available with four power outputs (115,150, 190 and 240PS). All bar the 115PS model can be specified with the DSG gearbox and 4Motion system.

On test here is the 190PS diesel, mated to the automatic transmission and topped off with 4Motion four-wheel drive. Price, a heady £37,005 before the addition of a few choice options brings the total up to £43,395.

Seventy five per cent of buyers of the first generation Tiguan felt they needed go-anywhere capability and it is expected that a similar percentage will opt for the 4Motion system once again. It's a very capable system and will be welcomed by rural motorists and those who venture off the beaten track.

Put to the test on some muddy lanes, the Tiguan coped admirably as expected.

The 190PS engine provides brisk acceleration. The 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds is class competitive, however I was rather surprised by the slightly gravelly engine note, most notable at low speeds. Higher speeds are a more subdued affair ably demonstrated on a 200-mile motorway trip, where wind and road noise were pleasantly muted.

The 7-speed DSG gearbox is a smooth operator, but low speed manoeuvring can occasionally catch it napping.

Up to 49.6mpg is promised; my average for the week a none too shabby 41mpg.

In keeping with the overall air of refinement, the ride quality mostly impresses with all but the very worst stretches of pockmarked tarmac passing unnoticed. R-Line suspension does introduce a level of harshness absent from lesser versions, without bringing with it any noticeable improvement in handling prowess. Those in search of a thrilling driving experience may be better served elsewhere.

As expected with the top spec model, equipment levels are high though it is disappointing at this price level to have to pay extra for leather upholstery (£1,500), keyless entry (£380) and electric tailgate (£355).

Safety features sell cars these days and Volkswagen must be applauded for including as standard an automatic post-collision braking system, as well as Front and Lane Assist monitoring.

Existing Tiguan owners will love the new model and despite the vast array of talented opposition, I'm sure many others will warm to the charms of Volkswagen's latest SUV. I certainly did.

I would suggest lowering the spend. I would be quite happy with an SE model, the 150PS diesel engine and manual gears. This can be yours for a more reasonable £27,940, with an additional £1,700 for 4Motion if required.

Fast Facts

Price £37,005 (£43,395 as tested)
190PS 2.0-litre diesel engine
Seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox
Four Wheel Drive - 4MOTION
0-62mph in 7.9 seconds
Fuel economy - 49.6mpg combined
Emissions - 149g/km CO2
BiK tax 29%
Insurance group 21E
3 years/60,000 mile warranty

Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 4MOTION On Test, 6th February 2017, 9:03 AM