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a grey Volkswagen Tiguan driving on a dirt road

Volkswagen Tiguan review 2023

Tigers and iguanas do not, it has to be said, have a great deal in common.

Yet their combined attributes inspired Volkswagen to name its small SUV the Tiguan.

Odd name aside, it’s an impressive, spacious, safe, solidly built, economical-to-run SUV that will serve young families well.


a blue volkswagen tiguan driving on a road rear

Volkswagen is known for making high-class cars that fit perfectly into the smart family life aesthetic, and the Tiguan is no different.

It’s a compact SUV with LED lights, a dynamic grille, chunky haunches, and – crucially – the 2018 facelift added an extra 10 inches to the length of the car.

The highest-spec models such as the R-line can rival the Volvo XC40, Mercedes GLA or Audi Q3.

If you want the sportiest look possible, the Black Edition or R trims have the most imposing motorsport design features, including 21-inch black diamond alloys, a rear spoiler, and side skirts.

All trims look grown-up, blending in at the office or the school gates – the Tiguan looks good in all places.

The Tiguan looks good in all places

What’s it like to drive?

a grey vw tiguan driving on a country road

The Tiguan is based on the VW Group’s well-regarded MQB platform. This means neat cornering, precise steering and good grip are just a few of the reliable Tiguan traits.

Most Tiguan owners will be wanting an SUV that delivers a comfortable experience behind the wheel, can handle long motorway stints, city life and the smallest parking challenges. The Tiguan can deliver all of this, but it isn’t the sportiest to drive.

If you do want the most sporty Tiguan possible, the R ups the stakes a bit. Handling is significantly improved, with little body roll and much better grip.

Engine-wise, the diesel options offer refined driving and performance that keeps you interested without draining fuel economy.

The TDI gives you 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 134mph. For petrol engines, the 1.5-litre TSI is the best choice if you don’t need four-wheel drive.

The smoothest drive goes – unsurprisingly – to the plug-in hybrid engine. Combining the petrol TSI with an electric motor, you can get up to 45km of electric-only range. The regenerative braking is highly adjustable too, which is great.

Neat cornering, precise steering and good grip are just a few of the reliable Tiguan traits


Spacious is the word that springs to mind. Most come with five seats as standard and each of those seats can comfortably accommodate an adult, with excellent levels of head and legroom.

The back seats slide, so it’s not just those sitting up front who are treated to the perfect seating position. This is truly a family car.   

There’s a classic elegance to the Tiguan’s interior. It’s not as jazzy or ultra-modern as some rivals – understated is a better word for the high-quality interiors.

Admittedly, some of the plastics used throughout the cabin don’t have that lovely, soft-touch premium feel. 

On the plus side, they feel robust and sturdy and should withstand your kids when they forget to remove their football boots before they pile into the car.  

Entry-level S models come with air-con to keep you cool, and lights and wipers that turn on automatically when monsoon conditions strike on the M62.

You also get the added luxury of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity with all models.

If you want satellite navigation to guide you on your expeditions, and an infotainment system that lets you connect your smartphone, it’s worth paying a little extra for the SE Nav trim. 

a 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan interior


The Tiguan is compact by SUV standards, but that doesn’t mean you lose out on cabin space.

You can comfortably fit three adults in the back, and it’s bigger than the rival Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga and Renault Kadjar in the rear. There’s generous legroom and headroom, especially in the bigger Mk2 version.

The boot is a healthy 520 litres, but a clever design feature is the sliding rear seats. By moving them forward, you gain 95 additional litres of space, and if you fold them down fully then you can lug around 1,650 litres worth of kit or household appliances.

Depending on the spec, the Tiguan can also tow up to 2,500kg, which makes it a very practical car for caravaners or families that want to hitch up a trailer for even more space.

a Volkswagen Tiguan's boot

Running costs and reliability

The plug-in hybrid version of the Tiguan is obviously the most economical thanks to its all-electric mode and fuel-saving technology.

You do pay more for the PHEV though, so for maximum fuel economy for your money then the 148hp 2-litre diesel is the best choice. For petrol, we’d recommend the 148hp 1.5-litre TSI that manages 43.5mpg.

Four-wheel-drive options eat into the fuel figures too, so this is worth bearing in mind.

The Tiguan holds its residual value well, and Volkswagen delivers well in the reliability arena too – it comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty and a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

What we love

The Tiguan is one of the smartest family SUVs, and it’s one of our top buys for anyone wanting a premium-style practical family car but doesn’t want to stretch to the higher price tags.

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What else to consider? Volkswagen Tiguan alternatives

There is no shortage of family-sized SUVs to consider and, yes, we do have more for you to consider, and even some more named after animals, both real and mythical.

Use our Help Me Choose tool if you still can't decide.

Perfect for

Town and country drivers



OK, so there might be SUVs out there that are more exciting to look at and a little more fun to drive, but if you want sure-fire certainty, the VW Tiguan delivers every time.

Solid, dependable and economical to run, it gets the family SUV basics spot on, with space, safety and comfort. 

This review was