What is it?
The new version of the big-selling Volkswagen Tiguan, with some extra off-road assistance added. The ‘Outdoor’ pack is aimed at those who carry out a little more off-roading than the regular Tiguan owner.
For £350, reworked bumpers mean the Tiguan’s approach and departure angles improve to 25.6 and 24.7 degrees respectively, from around 18 degrees previously. It also gets additional front underbody protection, as well as chrome door sill protectors. The pack is available with any engine on SE, SE Nav and SEL trims, even in two-wheel-drive guise.
Aside from that, it’s the usual Tiguan underneath. Our test car is a four-wheel-drive model (so gets a higher, 20cm, ground clearance as standard) and is powered by VW’s venerable 148bhp 2.0-litre engine paired to its seven-speed dual clutch DSG gearbox.
What’s it like?
Well suited to occasional off-road adventures. Even without the Outdoor pack, this Tiguan’s on-demand four-wheel drive, useful extra ground clearance, off-road driving modes and a stout, accessible torque band from below 2000rpm make hacking across tough terrain easy work.
Add this off-road package to the mix and the Tiguan becomes yet more capable away from the Tarmac. The lifted approach and departure angles mean you’re less likely to get caught out with a scrape or bump on mildly lumpy terrain for your family car purchase, rather than a necessity.
Sure, if the majority of your driving is done on-road you’re probably best off with the lighter-footed, two-wheel-drive model. But for some, the fact that four-wheel drive also gets you a 2500kg towing limit – compared with the 2000kg offered by the two-wheel-drive version – will count. A swiveling towbar with an electric release (£715) is likely to be a popular pairing, too.
On the road, the Tiguan is a well-mannered SUV that doesn’t set your pulse racing but goes about its business in a safe, predictable manner. The only slight grievance is that this AWD model’s ride comfort isn’t perfect. Most of the time it’s supple enough, but a particularly uneven road will unsettle it.
The DSG gearbox is slick and responsive, although we prefer it in its standard driving mode rather than flicking it into Sport; Sport holds on to gears, forcing the engine into its uncomfortably gruff top-end. Otherwise, when kept in its sweet spot, the diesel motor remains pretty refined.
Sport has a similarly negative impact on the steering, making it feel unnaturally weighty. Even in standard drive mode it’s not particularly engaging, but it’s weighted more consistently to deliver more confidence.
The Outdoor pack is mostly cosmetic, so inside this model it’s business as usual. There’s very good space for four adults and the Tiguan’s dashboard materials are high quality. VW’s excellent larger 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system – which is one of the best systems out there for ease of use and equipment – comes as standard on SEL trim, too.
Should I buy one?
The Tiguan is an excellent family SUV. It’s not exciting, but it’s plush, spacious, well-specced, decently refined and more satisfying to drive than rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai.
Whether this Outdoor pack is worth it depends on personal circumstance. If you live out in the sticks and traverse off-road dirt tracks to and from your house year-round, £350 seems pretty good value in return for added capability and protection. Yet for the vast majority buying a Tiguan for its out-and-out family-friendly practicality, they’ll be fine without.
Of course, if you’re genuinely in need of a durable off-road family SUV, this Tiguan falls into a price bracket that also includes the Land Rover Discovery Sport – a markedly more talented SUV in terms of its mud-plugging ability.
Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion DSG SEL
Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £33,160 (incl. £350 Outdoor pack); Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, diesel; Power 148bhp at 3500-4500rpm; Torque 251lb ft at 1750-3000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1856kg; 0-62mph 9.3sec; Top speed 124mph; Economy 49.6mpg (combined); CO2 rating/BIK tax band 149g/km, 29%
What is it?