Volkswagen Tiguan hybrid review
|Car type||Electric range||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions|
|Plug-in hybrid||31 miles||165mpg (est)||40g/km (est)|
Volkswagen has revamped its customer-favourite SUV, the Tiguan, for 2020 – and there's now a plug-in hybrid model in the range for the first time. The Tiguan eHybrid uses the same powertrain found in the GTE versions of the Golf and Passat – a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13kWh battery, for a total system output of 242bhp. The Tiguan eHybrid is capable of driving up to 31 miles on electric power alone, Volkswagen claims.
The German manufacturer has yet to announce exact efficiency figures for the Tiguan eHybrid, but it's expected that CO2 emissions will be low – perhaps around 40g/km. So, like most plug-in hybrids, this car should make most sense for company-car users. Fuel economy is likely to sit officially around the 165mpg mark, but this sort of figure will require a fully charged battery and plenty of leaning on the car's all-electric mode; mixed driving in our test car saw 44mpg displayed on the car's trip computer.
The Tiguan looks broadly similar to before – its bodyshell is unchanged from the previous car's – but the latest model gets a new front-end treatment, new bumpers and new head and tail-lights that help maintain some family resemblance with the latest Golf.
It's still not exactly clear how the eHybrid will slot into the range when the Tiguan arrives in the UK – we know that the rest of the range will have four trim levels, however – Tiguan, Life, Elegance and R-Line. Updates to the car's interior include a new steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons, along with a new 10-inch 'Digital Cockpit Pro' digital-dial setup.
A new central infotainment screen also features, as seen on the latest crop of Volkswagen products, with higher-spec models getting the biggest 9.2-inch version. Elsewhere, a number of physical controls, including those for the heater, have been replaced by touch-sensitive equivalents.
So the Tiguan has been made to feel more modern to help it keep pace with ever-slicker rivals like the forthcoming new Hyundai Tucson, and with the addition of a plug-in hybrid drivetrain it's aimed squarely at the company-car market, too.
Buyers and user-choosers alike won't be disappointed by the Tiguan's fundamental abilities as a family SUV. There's space in the back for three adults and the boot is well shaped, even if the battery does rob 139 litres from the standard car's figure.
The Tiguan eHybrid is a very relaxing car to spend time in. The ride is smooth and body control is good, while the refined hybrid drivetrain keeps noise to a minimum, especially at low speeds in pure-electric mode.
Performance is strong: 0-62mph takes 7.5 seconds and thanks to the 400Nm of torque on offer (with a charged battery) there's plenty of overtaking punch. And despite the extra weight of the car's battery and electric motor, the Tiguan eHybrid doesn't feel particularly overburdened.
As ever, there are a number of electric driving modes and settings to pick from to make the most of the car's electric power, with settings to hold onto battery charge for use later in a journey, or to maximise efficiency by letting the car shuffle between power sources as it sees fit with the help of sat-nav data to assess the road ahead.
A definitive verdict on the Tiguan eHybrid will have to wait until we have full UK pricing and specification info, along with official fuel-economy and CO2 emissions figures, but initial indications are that it'll be a strong entry into the increasingly crowded plug-in hybrid family SUV class.