Volkswagen Tiguan (2008-2016)

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a small SUV with the same discreet styling, user-friendly cabin, civilised road manners and efficient engines as the Golf. Offered with front- or four-wheel drive, the latter is ideal for those who want to tow, while there’s an Escape version for anyone who wants to do some light off-roading. The Tiguan impresses with its refinement, high-quality cabin and practicality, but if value is one of your priorities you might be less keen as the Tiguan is a premium car. However, its build quality, refinement and spacious cabin make the high prices justifiable, while equipment levels are good too.

Key dates

2/08: The Tiguan arrives with 1.4 TSI petrol or 138bhp 2.0 TDI diesel engines. There are S, SE and Sport trims, with Escape offering greater off-road capabilities thanks to underbody protection, hill descent control and a redesigned nose for a steeper approach angle.

4/08: A 168bhp 2.0 TDI engine joins the range.

10/08: A 2.0 TSI engine is now available in 168bhp or 198bhp guises.

11/08: The Tiguan initially came with 4WD only; from this point on there are 1.4 TSI and 2.0 TDI 140 front-wheel drive options.

9/11: A facelift brings a 2.0 TDi 110 engine, more efficient powerplants and extra equipment.

10/12: R-Line trim brings sportier design features.

8/13: The Tiguan Match replaces the SE


  • The 2.0 TDi engine can stall easily when starting off, if you don’t use the revs, so watch for worn clutches.
  • Rattles aren’t unknown; some owners have found that it’s down to broken front suspension springs.
  • Air-con failures have been known, but it’s usually down to the switchgear failing, rather than the compressor.
  • Faulty electrics can be down to damaged fuseboxes, which can melt because of the high currents going through them.
  • The power assisted steering can fail, especially in sub-zero temperatures. It’s usually a control unit failure, but it can be the steering rack itself.
  • The electronic parking brake can refuse to release, because the driver’s seatbelt isn’t latched, or the clutch isn’t fully depressed.
  • The alarm can sound for no apparent reason, especially in cold weather. Adjusting the sensitivity can make the difference – but not always.

We like

  • Build quality
  • Efficient engines
  • Spacious cabin
  • Clear dash
  • Refinement
  • Tidy handling

We don’t like

  • Some reliability issues
  • Anonymous design