Volkswagen has given its popular Tiguan SUV a mid-life facelift to update the looks and add some new engines and options. So do they improve the compact 4×4?
After a slow start following it’s 2007 launch, the compact 4×4 is now Volkswagen’s fourth-best-selling model, after the Golf, Polo and Passat. Demand for new and used Tiguans has been consistently high, especially on the back of two snow-stricken winters that have convinced more car buyers to opt for the security of 4WD.
All of which makes the arrival of this facelifted version a bigger deal than you might expect.
VW Tiguan – updates
For the 2011 facelift, VW has tweaked the Tiguan’s looks (mainly bringing the front end and rear lights into the latest VW house style ), reduced its CO2 emissions and added a host of new comfort and safety features (most of which are optional, such as lane-keep assist).
Only two engines remain unchanged from the outgoing model – the 2.0 TDI 140bhp and the 170bhp version of the same unit. However, both now offer better economy and lower emissions, making them cheaper to fuel and tax.
For the first time you can now buy a 110bhp 2.0 TDI, although only in entry-level S spec. The low power output and sparse standard equipment on this model means it’s hard to see many buyers picking it over the superior 140 or 170, which offer greater pulling power without sacrificing much in the way of fuel economy.
To drive, the diesels seem a touch quieter than in the outgoing Tiguan, probably due to improved sound-proofing. The 140 and 170bhp engines are powerful enough for most uses (including towing), if not necessarily full of sparkle.
Although diesels make up 90% of Tiguan sales the petrol engines have just become a better proposition. The 1.4 TSI petrol has been upgraded from 150 to 160bhp, and feels lively enough, while there’s also a new 1.8 TSI alongside the most potent 210bhp 2.0 TSI. All petrols – even with the DSG auto box – now come in below 199g/km of CO2, which means they will cost between £165 and £245 in annual car tax.
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