Buyers looking for a mid-size SUV are spoiled for choice, with at least half a dozen premium options from the country’s most popular brands.
Volkswagen’s Tiguan has always been at the forefront, but is it still the case?
The Tiguan range starts at around $47,200 and goes up to around $65,500. Buyers can choose between three petrol engines and one diesel unit.
If you want more space, there’s the seven-seat Tiguan Allspace, and if you want more power, there’s the all-new Tiguan R version, priced at around $80,000 on the road.
We are testing the cheapest variant 110TSI Life. It’s fitted with VW’s reliable 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is found in a wide range of machines, including the subcompact Golf.
This engine is matched to a six-speed dual-clutch auto and front-wheel drive. All other versions of the Tiguan have a seven-speed unit and all-wheel drive.
It’s a handsome SUV that comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, extensive chrome exterior highlights, front and rear LED lighting, and electronically folding side mirrors.
There’s an 8-inch touchscreen – higher tiers have a 9.2-inch unit – compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth and satnav. Tech enthusiasts will appreciate the eye-catching, all-digital 10.25-inch instrument display.
Volkswagen covers its cars with a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty, and maintenance will cost you more than $3300 over five years. If you buy a prepaid service plan, it only costs $2600 for the same period.
The cabin is fairly spartan, as you’d expect from the cheapest version of the range, with manually adjustable cloth seats that are firm and offer ample support.
Hard-wearing plastic finishes abound, but a few textured inserts, a leather-wrapped shifter and a flat-bottomed steering wheel reinforce the presentation.
There are three USB-C charging ports – two in the front and one in the back – but no wireless device charger.
Center dash climate control controls are easy to access and operate, and both rows are covered with air vents. Straightforward infotainment and safety controls are located on the steering wheel.
The cabin is extremely spacious and trumps competing machines from Mazda and Toyota. The rear seat offers excellent head, shoulder and legroom. A 615-liter trunk is one of the largest in its class.
The suspension is on the firmer side with a tendency to bounce over bigger bumps, but the cabin is relatively quiet.
The Tiguan covers all the necessary bases but omits a few key elements.
It automatically brakes when it detects a potential collision with a car or pedestrian. A bank of sensors keeps you centered in your lane and gently tugs on the steering wheel to bring you back into position if you wander too far.
Seven airbags are distributed over two rows.
Arguably missing from the list are two of the most useful safety features: blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Tiguan is impressive to drive.
Its small turbocharged petrol engine, which delivers 110 kW and 250 Nm, is a reliable performer but feels a little underwhelmed when pushing.
Overall, though, it’s a quality highway cruiser and family transporter that feels planted and stable at speed and agile around town.
The six-speed auto does a good job of keeping the engine running at its sweet spot, although it can hesitate a bit on launch when you hit the gas.
Light and direct steering paired with firm suspension make it one of the easier to steer mid-range SUVs. It sits flat in corners and offers ample grip when typing.
Volkswagen claims the Tiguan will drink 7.7 l/100 km, which is fine for a mid-size SUV, but it requires pricier premium unleaded petrol.
Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport AWD, Drive-Away from $46,220
Stylish SUV that brings more safety and all-wheel drive for the same money.
Toyota RAV4 GXL Hybrid 2WD, from about $46,900 Drive-Away
The country’s best-selling SUV with fuel-efficient hybrid technology. They’ll probably wait up to a year for one.
Nissan X-Trail ST-L 2WD, from about $47,000 Drive-Away
Well equipped and well presented inside, but let down by a boring engine and gearbox combo.
Three and a half stars
High-quality all-rounder that could do with a little more equipment and safety technology for the price.
VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN 110TSI
PRICE Approximately $47,200 drive-away
ENGINE 1.4 liter turbo petrol engine, 110 kW/250 Nm
WARRANTY/SERVICE Five years/unlimited mileage, $3323 over five years
SAFETY Seven airbags, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, driver fatigue detection, radar cruise control
TO SAVE space saving
LUGGAGE 615 liters
Originally published as Volkswagen Tiguan 110TSI Review: Specifications, Prices, Driving Impressions