It seems that almost every car manufacturer in the world got into the compact 4x4 market in the early 2000s but some were quicker off the mark than others. Volkswagen was one of those marques which seemed to prefer to hang around a bit and see what happened. With no real pedigree in this area, they might have felt that they simply didn't have the expertise to build a compact 4x4. But then someone pointed at the big Touareg and the evergreen Golf and whispered 'crossover' into the corporate VW ear. "Ah," said VW and the Volkswagen Tiguan was born. It arrived in late 2007 and was indeed one of the very last compact 4x4s to join the party. By then the market was pretty congested but VW trusted in its ability to deliver a typically classy and well built car to which the market usually responds. The Volkswagen Tiguan looks a lot like a VW Golf on stilts and it is indeed built on the Golf Mark V platform. Big bumpers and wheel arches make it bigger in all directions than that car though and Passat suspension and the raised road clearance add to that presence. All engines were turbos and some were both turbo and supercharged. They kick off with the entry level 1.4 litre 148bhp petrol and climb to 2.0 litre 198bhp diesels. Trim levels on the Volkswagen Tiguan are based on the familiar S, SE or Sport models, with the addition of an off-road special Escape model.
Bang for your buck
Outside, the car is pleasingly chunky, wider at the base and narrowing as it rises through the glass area of the cabin towards the roof. Inside, it's all typical VW, the cabin totally reminiscent of the Golf and no worse for that nod towards a quality car. In short, this is a typical VW, albeit in a rather untypical guise. Although the Volkswagen Tiguan is based on the Golf, VW has gone to a lot of trouble to disguise the fact and they have to a large extent been successful. The car has its own personality and has shades of the Porsche Cayenne
, just as much as it echoes its VW Golf little brother.
Other differences from that hatchback sibling include the substitution of the Golf's aluminium chassis for something a little more rugged. The Volkswagen Tiguan instead utilises a modular sub-frame that is constructed from aluminium at the front but tougher steel at the rear. This was done it seems to enable the Tiguan to cope with the enthusiastic off-road adventures of the less careful driver. The Volkswagen Tiguan was also the first car to use VW's electric steering system, which was developed to get rid of kickback and improve steering accuracy.
What you'll pay
As you might expect from a VW, the Volkswagen Tiguan for sale is holding its price pretty well and the entry level 1.4 TSi will set you back around £14,000 on a 57 plate in basic S trim. Diesel models are more sought after and a car with the 138bhp engine in SE trim will cost some £17,000. A Sport model meanwhile, with the 168bhp engine will be £18,400. A 168bhp 2.0 TDI Sport on a 58-plate will be something like £20,000.
What to check
The used Volkswagen Tiguan is a solid motor, built to VW's usual high standards. It is positioned as an off-roader though, even though some more are decidedly more 'soft roader'. Do make sure you check suspension and steering components for damage caused on the brown stuff. The Escape variant is a lot more able to cope with this sort of thing but it's still worth giving it the once over to check that previous owners have not been pushing the limits of its admittedly impressive abilities.
Looking at a 2007 Tiguan 1.4 TSI, a clutch assembly is roughly £200 and a new alternator will be around £160. Brake pads are £50 at the front and £40 at the rear. A replacement headlamp is £180.
How it drives
Off road, the used VW Tiguan handles better than you might expect, especially the Escape model. Most drivers however will be far more interested in what it is like on the tarmac and here it doesn't disappoint either. Body roll is well controlled for such a tall car and those turbo and supercharged engines feel pleasingly eager. Ride comfort and refinement are strong points and overall a used Volkswagen Tiguan makes a pretty good second hand bet.