Volkswagen is back for 2021 with a sharper-looking Tiguan model, but does it appeal?

volkswagen tiguan

In this review we cover:

What is it?

SUVs have proven lucrative for most manufacturers, but not least Volkswagen, which now offers buyers four options in this segment for buyers of all budgets. But it’s the Tiguan that’s proven to be the biggest success, with Volkswagen producing six million of them since its debut back in 2007. Now in its second-generation – which arrived in 2016 – Volkswagen is back for 2021 with a sharper-looking and more tech-laden model, but does it appeal?

What’s new?

Volkswagen hasn’t ripped up the rule book here, and has instead largely adopted the good old phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. That said, look closer and you’ll notice a sharper front end, while the interior has been lavished in posher materials and gains new tech. Under the bonnet there are tweaked engine options, while buyers will soon be able to choose a hot ‘R’ model and a plug-in hybrid – both of which are new for the Tiguan. 

volkswagen tiguan

What’s under the bonnet?

For the time being before the PHEV arrives, buyers have a choice of petrol and diesel engines for the Tiguan, and here we’re testing a solid all-rounder – Volkswagen’s well-used turbocharged 1.5-litre unit. Producing 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, it’s able to reach 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 126mph. Here it uses a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission and sends power to the front wheels, though four-wheel-drive models are available further up the range. 

This petrol isn’t the most efficient choice, with Volkswagen claiming it will return 38.8mpg, with CO2 emissions of 165g/km. If you’re looking to keep running costs down, a diesel model could be a better buy. 

What’s it like to drive?

The Tiguan is a very easy car to drive, with light steering, good brakes and decent performance, even from our relatively middle-of-the-road petrol option. It’s also quiet and refined and would be a good motorway cruiser. 

However, if you’re looking for comfort, it could be worth going for a lower trim level, as the 20-inch alloy wheels on our R-Line test car lead to a rather brittle ride, and let down an otherwise pleasant driving experience. 

How does it look?

Volkswagen has kept things relatively simple with the design changes on the Tiguan. Parked next to a pre-facelift model, you’ll notice a more striking grille, intricate LED headlights and redesigned bumpers, but changes are relatively small in this respect. That said, it gains cues from Volkswagen’s flagship Touareg SUV, which certainly allows for a more upmarket look. 

volkswagen tiguan

What’s it like inside?

While the latest Volkswagens – such as the Golf – adopt a very digitised cabin, the Tiguan is more traditional, and arguably better for it. You still get a large touchscreen and electric climate settings, but they’re easier to operate thanks to traditional switches. 

It also remains a very spacious choice, with plenty of rear seat space for both adults and children, while you also get sliding rear seats that come in handy if you need to expand the boot space further. That said, even in its standard guise it remains impressively roomy with a 520-litre boot. 

What’s the spec like?

If you’re looking to keep costs down, the lower two specs – Tiguan and Life – are the ones to go for, with prices starting from £24,915 and £26,915 respectively. 

Standard kit includes 17-inch alloy wheels, eight-inch touchscreen, autonomous emergency braking and an electric parking brake. Upgrade to the Life to get more attractive 18-inch alloy wheels, along with three-zone climate control, satellite navigation and adaptive cruise control. 

Further up the range are the pricier Elegance and R-LIne options, which are priced from £32,430 and £32,730 respectively. Elegance brings 19-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED interior lights, heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof, while R-Line plays it sportier with its large 20-inch alloy wheels, sporty styling kit and part Alcantara seats. 


The latest Tiguan might look sharper inside and outside than before, but it’s lost none of its practicality and quality of before, and it remains an especially appealing family SUV. 

Though while the R-Line might look the part with its big wheels and bodykit, a lower spec with smaller alloys could offer a more comfortable ride, and also save you money in the process. 

New Volkswagen Tiguan

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