Volkswagen Tiguan variants
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VW Tiguan Life review – is it a flawless family SUV?

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Total cash price £28,999. Borrowing £23,199 with a £5,800 deposit at a representative APR of 12.9%.

49 monthly payments
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6000 miles

This is Volkswagen’s mid-size SUV, and a rival to cars such as the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai. Whether you’re after a manual or automatic gearbox, diesel or petrol engine, four-wheel drive or something with a bit of pace, there’s a Tiguan to suit.

And for those who want some good pub trivia tidbits? The Tiguan name is a combination of tiger and iguana. Yes, really – and now you’re imagining that mix, aren’t you?

Volkswagen Tiguan buying guide

What Volkswagen Tiguan trim levels are there?

Throughout the Tiguan’s lifespan, its trim levels have been called different things. Often, there’s a base model, followed by a mid-spec car, a more luxurious option and a sporty R-Line offering.

Entry-level Tiguans might go by Life, S or by no name at all. All get a glossy touchscreen with DAB radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity, plus air conditioning and auto headlights. Compared to S, Life (a more recent addition) gets things like cruise control, rear parking sensors and two-zone air conditioning.

SE, SE Nav or Match cars typically come next. These mid-spec cars tend to add bigger wheels, chrome trim and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.

SEL or Elegance comes next. This is the more luxurious option, featuring creature comforts like heated seats (and suede upholstery), sat nav, upgraded headlights, ambient lighting and VW’s swish digital dial display.

R-Line is the sporty trim, meaning your car will have deeper bumpers, bigger wheels and part-leather sports seats. Often, you’ll get many of the same niceties that are fitted on SEL or Elegance trims. 

The Tiguan R sits at the top of the range. It’s a lot more powerful than any R-Line edition, and is marked out by huge 21-inch wheels, silver mirrors and blue brake calipers. It also gets one or two unique paint colours.

Volkswagen Tiguan interior and technology

Like the exterior, the interior design plays it safe. It’s a car that needs no acclimatisation – everything’s intuitive to operate and you can simply get in and drive. If you’d like a little more pizazz in your family workhorse, the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage might appeal.

The Tiguan does have the must-have tech, plus high-quality materials that have all been tightly put together. Every button and dial feels reassuringly solid, like they’ll stand up to years of family life. You also get comfy seats, lots of storage space and child-friendly features. The Tiguan’s tall body and wide doors makes it easy to get small children in and out.

Volkswagen Tiguan engine range explained

Volkswagen Tiguan 1.5 TSI petrol

Diesel used to be the default choice for a chunky SUV like the big one Tiguan, but the 1.5-litre petrol engine is well worth a look. Available in two power outputs, 130hp and 150hp, this petrol is perky yet economical – both versions of this engine get cylinder deactivation, which shuts down half the engine at cruising speed to save fuel. Regardless of which you choose, 40-45mpg is easily possible.

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TSI petrol

If fuel consumption is a little way down your priorities list, why not check out the more powerful 2.0-litre petrol engines. Available on higher trim levels, the 2.0 TSI comes with either 190hp or 245hp – the latter being the same engine as the VW Golf GTI hot hatch – and both are capable of 30-35mpg. On the Tiguan, the 2.0-litre petrol comes with VW’s 4Motion four-wheel-drive system for grippy all-weather progress. It’s worth checking the initial cost if you’re eyeing up a top-spec Tiguan, as cars that cost more than £40,000 when new will be subject to a much higher yearly tax bill.

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI diesel

For buyers who’ll do long journeys on a reasonably frequent basis, or for those that’ll hitch up a caravan, Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is going to be the best fit. Most versions come with 150hp, but there’s a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. Achieving 50mpg with this engine shouldn’t be too difficult, although versions with four-wheel drive are a smidge heavier on fuel. Four-wheel drive is standard if you pick the more powerful 2.0 TDI (190hp or 200hp depending on the age of the car).

Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI eHybrid

A different option to the conventional petrol and diesel engines is the Tiguan eHybrid. It’s a plug-in hybrid, featuring a petrol engine, battery and electric motor, and has the ability to drive 31 miles on electric power – meaning the average UK commute can be done without using a drop of petrol. If you want zero-emission driving in town or fancy dipping your toe into the electric-car waters, the Tiguan PHEV is ideal.

Volkswagen Tiguan R 2.0 TSI 320hp

The Tiguan R joined the range when the Tiguan was facelifted in 2020, and it’s the car for Golf R drivers who need a more sensible family car without fully sacrificing performance. It’s rapid for sure, but you’ll need to be prepared for high fuel bills and a marginally less involving driving experience than the Golf R.

Volkswagen Tiguan FAQs

The VW Tiguan is in its second generation, with the current iteration having been on sale since 2016. It’s always been a roomy SUV, sitting between the smaller VW T-Roc and the luxurious VW Touareg. All regular Tiguans have five seats and a big boot, or there’s the Tiguan Allspace that adds a pair of extra seats behind the second row. The Allspace is best thought of as a 5+2 seater, with the rearmost seats being useful for occasional journeys or small children.

When the Tiguan was facelifted in 2020, the lineup broadened with two new engine choices. A plug-in hybrid joined the range, along with a fast Tiguan R performance model.

Measuring roughly 4.5m in length, the Tiguan finds itself between a VW Golf and a Golf estate. At nearly 1.7m tall, it’s noticeably higher than a Golf, giving you more headroom and a higher driving position. It’s a family favourite because that extra height makes it easier to get young kids in and out. There’s more than enough room for five adults, and sliding, reclining rear seats ensure everyone can get comfortable.

The 520-litre boot is a good size. If you need to haul a lot of family clobber and don’t need all that rear seat space, sliding the seats forward unlocks another 95 litres of luggage space. In this configuration, few five-seat SUVs offer more boot space… but rear legroom is seriously compromised when you do so.

Most Tiguans come with either a petrol or diesel engine, the majority of which are economical. There are also a couple of powerful petrol choices if you regularly run late on the school run, and in recent years the range has been broadened to include a clever plug-in hybrid engine that has the potential to slash your fuel costs.

Both the Tiguan and Volkswagen as a brand have earned middling scores for reliability across a selection of surveys. Owners tend to praise overall build and material quality, but occasional mechanical and electrical gremlins can sour the experience.

The engines and many additional parts used in the Tiguan are also widely shared with other Volkswagen and VW-Group cars. That means you shouldn't struggle too much to find replacements if something goes wrong.

Add an extended warranty when you buy your Tiguan to protect yourself against unexpected repair bills.

Residual values for the Tiguan should be fairly good. It's a popular model from a brand with a reputable image. Plus, it's a family SUV, which remains one of the most in-demand vehicle segments.

Volkswagen includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as part of the Tiguan's App-Connect package. When this generation of Tiguan launched in 2016, App-Connect was initially an option but, later that same year, became standard on all trims except entry-level S models.

When the facelifted Tiguan arrived in late 2020, Volkswagen made App-Connect – and thus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – standard equipment on all Tiguan models.