The biggest difference to the way the R-Line Tiguan drives comes from the addition of 20in wheels and sports suspension. With no adaptive dampers, we had therefore expected the ride to be uncomfortably firm. To the R-Line’s credit, it rode sharp-edged bumps and dips far better than expected, but it's still stiffer than is ideal for a family car.
Wide tyres mean plenty of grip, but there’s no change to how the Tiguan behaves on the limit. It might be the sportiest model, but you still can’t fully disable the stability control and it naturally understeers. The Tiguan isn't bad for a small SUV, but the cheaper Seat Ateca is more fun to drive.
As with lesser-specced Tiguans, the R-Line is extremely spacious for both front and rear passengers, and a sliding rear bench means you can prioritise either leg room or boot space in the back. The sports seats are pretty comfortable, but in reality look more supportive than they actually are, and we did find some of the interior plastics slightly disappointing in terms of quality. The materials on the upper dash and top of the front door cards are pleasingly soft, but there's plenty of hard scratchy stuff around the centre console, lower dash and on the rear door cards. Our test car would have cost more than £37,000 with extras, and we would have expected better from Volkswagen.
Still, you'll find plenty of premium-grade technology in the Tiguan. All models receive autonomous emergency braking and lane assist, and plenty of other goodies are available. R-Line models get a configurable 12.3in digital display instead of conventional dials, adaptive cruise control and full LED headlights.
Should I buy one?
While we would wholeheartedly recommend looking at a Tiguan, the R-Line model is too expensive to recommend. It may be a good car, but at this price point it can’t compete with the interior quality of similarly priced premium rivals, or the value for money of the Seat Ateca; even a top-spec Ateca is thousands of pounds cheaper than this Volkswagen.
The Seat may not offer the sliding rear bench or some of the electronic gizmos of the Tiguan, but it’s just as spacious, handles better and offers all the equipment you’d ever realistically need.
Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 4motion 150 DSG
Location West Sussex; On sale Now; Price £35,125; Engine four-cylinder, 1968cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 148bhp at 3500-4000rpm Torque 251lb ft 1750-3000rpm Gearbox seven-speed dual-clutch automatic Kerb weight 1849kg; Top speed 125mph; 0-62mph 9.3sec; Economy 49.6mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 149g/km, 29% Rivals Seat Ateca; BMW X1