Our lower-order diesel test car juggled stout performance, strong refinement, creditable fuel economy and polished ease of use with the accomplished skill we’ve come to expect from Volkswagen.
The 148bhp EA189 2.0-litre engine has plenty to do to keep the 1.6-tonne Tiguan rolling, and predictably enough it doesn’t hit a stellar mark on outright acceleration.
While you could easily buy a similar-sized diesel SUV for the Tiguan’s price capable of 0-62mph in around nine and a half seconds, the VW takes 10.4sec, but compared with the BMW X1 sDrive18d we benchmarked alongside it, the VW’s flexibility of performance was more competitive.
Plenty of traction, well-chosen gear ratios, an amenable clutch pedal and a light, albeit slightly notchy manual gearbox make the Tiguan easy to spirit up to a brisk pace.
The engine sounds and feels a long way from special, but in that respect it’s no different from plenty of equivalents.
What matters is the band of accessible torque it provides, from just below 2000rpm to around 3500rpm. It makes short work of the car’s kerb weight and ultimately serves up enough poke to deal with any situation you’re likely to find – either on the road or not very far off it. That torque also feels sufficient to pull a fairly light trailer with ease.
Some injection whine is evident in the engine’s noise under load, along with a tiny bit of high-frequency resonance, but most of the time the Tiguan is more than a match for most diesel SUVs on mechanical refinement.
We noticed some wind rustle produced by the large door mirrors, but otherwise the Tiguan’s cabin is well sealed.
Our test car came fitted with Pirelli’s specialist SUV-intended Scorpion Verde tyres, and in slightly damp conditions – working through a brake pedal that felt discouragingly firm and somewhat over-assisted in initial take-up – it stopped from 70mph in 55 metres exactly.
That’s not the shortest stopping distance you might expect from a modern family car, but neither is it the worst result we’ve seen this year.