MEET the tough guy of the SUV world – the beefcake on wheels Volkswagen Tiguan.
VW has majored on its solid appeal in current TV ads, with an amusing and hard-hitting campaign.
And the latest generation Tiguan, which is built like a tank, demonstrates just why VW’s appeal endures in this way.
Tiguan is VW’s fourth best-selling model after the Golf, Polo and Passat and is unique in being available not only with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive but also with the option of two front ends.
One has a front end biased towards on-road driving while an ‘Escape’ model is more designed for off-roading.
Now all Tiguans feature a new ‘family’ look dominated by the smart linear horizontal lines on the front grille. Tiguan also looks like its ‘big brother’ Touareg, especially with the rear lights geometry.
With four trim levels and six different engines, Tiguan owners are spoiled for choice. And they are also well catered for, with high levels of standard equipment that include 16-inch alloys, climatic air conditioning, DAB radio and alarm, even on entry-level models.
I have been road testing the 2.0 TDI 4MOTION model, which combines muscular appeal with high levels of passenger comfort and plenty of versatility.
It also has the ‘attraction of traction’ with latest four-wheel drive technology. Here, the front axle is driven in most cases – the rear axle normall yonly contributes 10 per cent of propulsive power, which saves on fuel.
Wheelspin of the front wheels is completely prevented and in extreme cases, nearly 200 per cent of the drive torque can be automatically directed to the rear axle.
With its generous ride height and stylish roof rails, Tiguan looks the part of occasional off-road toughie, but its top quality, smart interior identifies it as a family-friendly SUV.
Everyone inside, front and back, is treated to panoramic views, thanks to generous glazing and high seating.
And the Tiguan’s versatility can be discovered by quickly dropping down the rear seats, even though it’s rather awkwardly accomplished by pulling fabric loops by the seat base. The resulting huge load platform will soak up a ton of luggage or other goods, although the final floor is still slightly raised at the end behind the front seats.
Volkswagen has ditched its iconic blue lighting for dials now in favour of more conventional illumination and they are a model of clarity.
The dash is tactile soft touch and smartly finished with new-style circular air vents (eight of them in total) while heating/ventilation and CD-tuner are sensibly prioritised and easy to find your way round.
As a driver’s car, the Tiguan lacks some steering feel and its ride can be fidgety, but progress is always decently fast and the vehicle feels well planted at speed.
With impressive diesel economy and big comfort levels, Tiguan is a tough act to follow.
l Volkswagen Tiguan SE BlueMotion 2.0 TDI 4MOTION 140 PS, £25,670.
l Powered by 1,968cc four-cylinder 16v diesel engine.
l Power output: 140 PS @ 4,200.
Max torque 236 lbs/ft @ 1,750-2,500rpm.
l Top speed: 116mph.
l 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds.
l Economy: Combined 48.7mpg.
l CO2 emissions: 150 g/km.
l Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles; 12 years body protection.