New Tiguan bolsters VW SUV line up

Two eras of Tiguan have been part of the VW range for 16 years – time for Mk3 to see it through a few more

By Matt Bird / Tuesday, 19 September 2023 / Loading comments

It’s easy to be a bit dismissive about the VW Tiguan, because it’s just another SUV to pass you by in a whole world of them. But as that world moved from hatchbacks to slightly higher riding hatchbacks, the Tiguan did what was required of it – be a Golf SUV – pretty much perfectly. It was meant to grab your attention by being as unassuming and easygoing as possible. It’s worked, too: VW has shifted 7.5 million of them since 2007. Which is a lot of cars.

So while this third generation update is significant, VW hasn’t sought to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. The Tiguan isn’t now electric only, or vaguely coupe-shaped, or designed for full-on mud plugging every weekend. It’s a family SUV that’s been usefully updated where it needed to be, because VW now has a useful idea of what’s required from a family SUV. Plus every single other niche is well covered off already.

Hybridisation, unsurprisingly enough, is a big buzzword for the latest Tiguan, with a range of models using a new 19.7kWh battery for up to 62 miles of electric only range. Research in Germany points to 99 per cent of all car journeys being less than 62 miles, which you’d have to imagine would be similar in the UK, and so a majority of trips could be taken on EV power. The new PHEVs, both with a 1.5-litre petrol engine and total outputs of either 204hp or 272hp, can be DC charged at up to 50kW, too. Mild hybrid Tiguans will also be offered, alongside conventional petrols and diesels with up to 265hp. There’s nothing in the press release about another Tiguan R, so we’ll have to assume that’s been dropped. Funny how much fast SUVs are missed when you can’t have them, isn’t it?

The option of Dynamic Chassis Control Pro for the Tiguan is also vaguely interesting for those of a PH persuasion, promising as it does to make the VW ‘one of the most agile and comfortable SUVs in its class’. It brings two-valve dampers, and works in conjunction with the Vehicle Dynamics Manager (also new, as found in a Golf GTI) to deliver the best drive possible. There’s an electronic diff lock for the Tiguan’s front axle, plus increased camber stiffness, revised steering and new anti-roll bars for all models. Almost a shame that the R has been dropped with all those changes, really.

The bigger draws to customers, though, will surely be the fresh look and interior update. Interestingly, this Tiguan has a significantly lower drag co-efficient than before (now 0.28Cd against 0.33), so it isn’t all just for show. The redesign feels  inspired by the ID EVs, particularly from the front, with a rear light bar that brings the Tiguan closer to both Taigo and ID 5. VW says the design ‘has become more expressive and clearly more athletic when seen from the side’. Now 30mm longer than before at 4,539mm, boot space has grown to 652 litres (up 37) for the non-PHEV models. There’s a tad more headroom as well.

Up front, this new Tigian employs MIB4, which sounds like a film but is in fact the four generation of the modular infotainment matrix. It’s a familiar look from plenty of other recently launched VWs – the Tiguan is never going to be the model to reset expectations – with the larger, hi-res central display (up to 15-inch diameter) angled towards the driver and a 10.25-inch cockpit screen. VW says that the new IDA voice assistant can be used for a lot of tasks, which might be a best resort given a button-free dash. The voice assist buttons actually sits in the centre of a large knurled dial which can control drive modes, audio volume and ‘atmospheres’, themselves adjusting background lighting and even able put on playlist best suited to Lounge, Energetic, Joy, Minimal and Me modes. The gear selector is now on the steering column, like the ID cars.

VW says the latest Tiguan will be in dealerships for the first quarter of 2024, from which time this will surely add to that 7.5 million tally at a reasonable rate. For those not quite ready to make the jump to EV, a VW SUV with up to 620 miles of plug in range probably sounds very agreeable indeed. And for those lamenting the demise of the R, move now (and keep some change in the kitty for a set of smaller wheels) – cars like this silver one look like being some of the very last.

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