Volkswagen Tiguan review 2019

Find out more about the Volkswagen Tiguan in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Superb build quality
  • Loads of engine and trim options
  • Spacious interior


  • High list price
  • Thirsty petrol engines
  • Firm ride on R-Line models
Model Review

Jumping ahead of the curve, Volkswagen unveiled its Tiguan crossover in 2007 as the firm’s second SUV after the larger Touareg. Sales of the model started in January 2008, with the Passat-based model — commonly incorrectly thought to be based on the Golf — setting new standards for refinement in its class. It also earned a reputation as a very practical model, and was offered with a lengthy list of engine options led by diesel units.

From 2009, it was offered with a high-spec and sporty-looking R-Line variant, which featured revised styling to emphasise its performance-inspired image and was only offered with more powerful engines to symbolise its high position in the range.

In 2011, the Tiguan was facelifted to feature sharper lines, as well as new L-shaped rear lights. Further safety kit was also introduced.


Latest model

With the first Tiguan being a huge success story for Volkswagen, it didn’t take too long for the firm to produce an all-new second-generation model, which made its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Tiguan was the first Volkswagen to be built on a new platform – known as MQB – which has gone on to underpin the vast majority of the Volkswagen Group’s cars since.  The platform not only allows the new Tiguan to be lighter; it also allows it to be easily adapted to feature electrified powertrains, although VW is yet to take advantage of this.

The second-generation Tiguan got a new look, featuring a more boxy and rugged-looking image than the first car, as well as a larger wheelbase. This allows it to offer 145 more litres of boot space compared to its predecessors.

Further highlights include new safety features — such as automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist and post-collision braking — as well as new connectivity features including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through the touchscreen’s App Connect system. Sales for the Tiguan kicked off in July in 2016, with the model available in a broad range of trims from launch.

In 2018, Volkswagen introduced a seven-seat Allspace variant to the line-up, which offered an alternative to the Skoda Kodiaq, and in 2019, the firm introduced a new Match trim level alongside a range-topping R-Line Tech grade, which includes an electric boot and an around-view monitor. A punchy 227bhp 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine was also added.

The Tiguan has been an enormous success for Volkswagen, being the third best-selling car in the UK after the hugely popular Golf and Polo hatchbacks. The 5,000,000th example rolled off the production line just 10 years after it debuted, which is a big credit to the crossover.

Value for money

Compare the Volkswagen Tiguan to less premium rivals, such as the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq, and it does look quite expensive. Entry-level S versions start from £24,545, although even these base models are well-equipped. Standard kit includes 17-inch alloy wheels, electrically-operated and heated mirrors and an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity and DAB radio. You have to opt for the £27,305 Match grade before you get satellite navigation, though. Top-spec cars are expensive, with range-topping R-Line versions costing nearly £40,000, which is a lot of money by anyone’s measure.

On the used market, the first-generation Tiguan is available from as little as £3,000 for a high-mileage example. Newer models with fewer miles on the clock start from around £4,500. We saw a 2009 example fitted with the 2.0-litre diesel engine, in SE trim and with 4Motion all-wheel-drive fitted for £6,000. With 75,000 miles on the clock, similar cars would make a great buy.

As for the latest model, at the time of writing you could pick up a second-gen 2016 example in S trim with 40,000 miles on the clock for £15,000, and around £16,500 for a higher-spec SE model.

As for nearly-new models, you can expect to save £4,000 off the price of a one-year-old car that’s covered around 10,000 miles.

Looks and image

The Tiguan has always been a popular and well-liked model for Volkswagen, and the second-generation car has only built on that with its chunkier looks, better range of alloy wheel designs and a sharply-styled line that runs through the door handles. However, it’s the high-spec R-Line that serves as the trim of choice if you care about looks. These versions come with large 20-inch alloy wheels, further chrome detailing and gloss black styling, all of which help to compliment the overall look. These are by far the most desirable versions, and hold their value well because of that.

The interior doesn’t offer much excitement, but it is modern, well-built and feels particularly premium. Volkswagen is known for its fuss-free interiors, and it’s very much the same story here. All models come with a large eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; Match versions and all trims above come with satellite navigation. The screen, regardless of trim, is great to use, intuitive and is placed high on the dash, which makes it easy to read on the move. The interior quality is largely excellent too, with only areas lower down feeling a bit on the cheaper side.

The Tiguan is a car for those who predominantly want a refined and comfortable car. The ride is supple, accommodating and relaxed. That’s unless you opt for the R-Line with its large 20-inch alloy wheels and lower sports suspension. It certainly looks the part, but gives the ride an unnecessarily firm edge, which isn’t ideal for those driving long distances. It also doesn’t lean in the corners like you might expect a high-riding SUV to, offering a decent amount of steering feel overall. The more powerful petrol and diesel engines also add to a rather well-rounded package.

Space and practicality

The second-generation Tiguan is quite a lot more practical than its predecessor, while the introduction of the seven-seat Allspace model added another level of appeal to the SUV.

The rear seats are easily spacious enough for even taller adults, with plenty of kneeroom and headroom, while throughout the cabin there is plenty of interior storage, although the ‘S’ versions miss out on some of the cabin flexibility that other trim levels have. This flexibility includes having sliding rear seats that can move by 17cm to increase boot space or rear seat space, depending on your needs. The size of the boot compared to the last car has also increased by 145 litres to a total of 615 litres with the new car, while folding down the rear seats increases the space on offer to 1,655 litres, which should prove to be more than enough for most.

It’s worth noting that the additional two seats in the Allspace version are really only designed for children, and not adults, although with the seats folded it makes the boot even more practical.

The Tiguan is also a very safe car, with the model being awarded a five-star Euro NCAP rating in 2016, and recording excellent scores in the adult and child occupant protection categories. Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist, while Match versions also benefit from park assist.


Whether it’s petrol or diesel engines you are in the market for, the Tiguan is offered with plenty of choice.

On the diesel side, the range is entirely made up of 2.0-litre units offered in various states of tune. The entry-level option is the 113bhp variant paired to a six-speed manual transmission. It’s the most efficient, but feels a bit too underpowered in a car of this bulk. The 148bhp variant is the best-selling option, with the flexibility of having either a manual or seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. The same engine is also offered with an output of 187bhp, while the range-topper is the 237bhp bi-turbo 2.0-litre engine. It’s the same unit fitted to Skoda’s Kodiaq vRS, and can accelerate the Tiguan from 0-60mph in a rapid 6.3 seconds.

The petrol line-up consists of 1.5- and 2.0-litre units.

The turbocharged 1.5-litre motor is offered with 128bhp or 148bhp, with the former coming with a manual ‘box and the latter a DSG automatic. The 2.0-litre engine is offered with two powerful outputs – 187bhp or 227bhp – and both come with automatic transmissions as standard.

On the used market, it’s worth noting that the 1.5-litre engine replaced a 1.4-litre with the same performance figures.

Video review

Running costs

Drivers wanting to have lower running costs should look at the lower-output diesel options with the 113bhp and 148bhp variants being the best bet. Each returns a claimed 50mpg, with CO2 emissions of 122g/km.

The petrol engines can be quite thirsty, though — particularly the 2.0-litre units, which only return claimed fuel economy figures of 30mpg, with CO2 outputs of 175g/km.

Buyers should also be aware of choosing the most expensive engines in R-Line trim as these could push the list price over the £40,000 marker, which means they will incur an extra £310 in road tax for five years after first registration.

Insurance groups range between 11 and 27, depending on trim level, which puts the Tiguan on par with rivals in this department, even despite its more premium image.

Things to look out for

The latest Tiguan is still a relatively new model, but seemingly, it has not proved to be quite as reliable as you might expect. You should note that the seven-speed DSG automatic transmission can be notoriously troublesome on a small number of cars, while owners have also reported surprising issues with grinding noises from the engine, and a leak in the panoramic sunroof. We always recommend thoroughly inspecting any used model before buying, and also to take along someone who is mechanically minded to look out for any potential faults.


The Tiguan sits in a rather odd position in the mid-size crossover class – between mainstream rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, but just underneath more premium models such as the Audi Q3. However, alongside those two cars, we also recommend that you look at the Tiguan’s sister models – the Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca – as well as the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson.


The Tiguan is a hugely popular model, and quite desirable, too, which has ensured that values have remained up, and it hasn’t depreciated in the same way that other models in this class have. That said, you should still watch out for nearly-new models, which you can expect to save around £4,000 on.


  1. Well-built interior
  2. Practical
  3. Increased boot space on second-generation car
  4. Broad range of engines and trim levels
  5. Holds its value quite well
  6. Thirsty petrol engine
  7. Stylish R-Line has a rather firm ride…
  8. Although other trims are comfortable
  9. Seven-seat version available
  10. A likeable, well-equipped and comfortable family crossover

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