Volkswagen is known for expertise in making hatchbacks with one particular model that begins with G and ends with F being a benchmark for all that a hatchback can and should be. But hatchbacks are not always the family car of choice anymore, so there is a lot riding on the shoulders of the new Volkswagen Tiguan, generation 2 of the brand’s compact SUV.

Based on the Golf’s MQB platform but with taller ‘legs’, the Volkswagen Tiguan should bring a lot of the Golf’s good qualities to the SUV segment.

With pricing starting in Ireland at €29,085 for petrol models, and now €30,895 for diesels (thanks to the introduction of a lower powered 2.0-litre model), the Volkswagen Tiguan is at the more premium end of the compact SUV market that includes rivals such as the SEAT Ateca, Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai.

Styling is classic Volkswagen – it’s simple with sharp lines, while tasteful chrome adds a premium finish. Inside, the dashboard layout is almost the same as the Volkswagen Golf, so it’s easy to use and interact with, while the quality is also excellent. Infotainment is provided via a touchscreen (5” or 8” depending on model) and an impressive digital instrument panel is standard on Highline models (from €36,870).

volkswagen tiguan review ireland
The interior of the Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline

Standard equipment includes air con, 17” alloys, lane departure warning and lane assist, while Comfortline models (from €32,960) like the one tested add high beam assist, silver roof rails, front fog lights, rear privacy glass, parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. Highline models add the digital instrument panel, 18” alloys, automatic parking, rear parking camera, LED lights, heated seats and updated styling.

As a family car, the Tiguan performs well with a comfortable cabin for five. Headroom is excellent all round and the footwells in the rear are large. The middle seat is comfortable enough for a child but legroom is restricted by the transmission tunnel. The boot is square and easy to access, with a spacious 615 litres available.

Volkswagen has now expanded the Tiguan range in Ireland to include a 2.0-litre diesel with 115hp power output. This model joins the 125hp 1.4-litre TSI petrol and the 150hp, 190hp and 240hp variants of the 2.0-litre TDI diesel.

The Tiguan is very good to drive for a tall SUV with predictable handling and nicely-judged steering . There is lean in the corners but it’s all well-contained and it’s easy to cover ground in the Tiguan quickly and safely. The Tiguan has inherited good comfort and refinement genes and overall it’s a relaxed and easy drive.

volkswagen tiguan review ireland
The Volkswagen Tiguan is comfortable and refined

For buyers looking for a diesel Tiguan the new 115hp 2.0-litre TDI knocks nearly €2000 off the price of the higher powered 150hp version. On paper, there is not much between these engines: same torque (340Nm) and less than 2 seconds between them in a sprint to 100kmh. They both fall into the same emissions class and claimed fuel economy is the same too.

However on the road the difference is apparent and you notice the power that is missing. It’s adequate but overtaking manoeuvres need to be planned a little more as you just do not get the same burst of speed. There is also less flexibility so you will be grappling with the gearbox to get any urgent sense of acceleration.

Yet it does just about enough to make the Tiguan worth a stretch in budget.

The compact SUV segment has been dominated in recent years by Japanese and Korean rivals who beat the Tiguan on price and standard equipment, yet the Volkswagen bounces back with a high quality feel, sophisticated design, smart cabin, and a faultless drive.

volkswagen tiguan review ireland
The Volkswagen Tiguan is more expensive than key Japanese and Korean rivals but is more polished with a premium feel

Model tested: Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0-litre 115hp Comfortline
€32,960 (Range starts at €29,085)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Torque: 340Nm
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 185km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax:
€270 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a compact SUV, you might also like this review of the Kia Sportage.