Car review – VW Tiguan eHybrid

Late and discreetly blooming plug-in SUV

The Tiguan arrives fashionably late to the PHEV party. VW waited for the facelift to give it the drivetrain of the Golf GTE. However, there is no sportiness or frivolity to be expected.

 

Conservative facelift

The restyling that the Tiguan recently underwent is quite unintrusive. The traditional mid-life nose job aligns VW’s steady-seller with the Golf 8. On the inside, you can see some new fabric for the seats, but it's still pretty sombre. In terms of seating and cargo space nothing has changed of course and the practical sliding rear seat was carried over.

The most striking change concerns the user interface for the air conditioning and infotainment. Here, too, digitalisation has wreaked havoc - well, figuratively speaking anyway. It all looks very nice, but virtual sliders and buttons are not that handy in practice. The infotainment does offer more possibilities and the icons on the touch screen react faster than before.

 

Trusted engines

The Golf GTE was kind enough to donate its organs to the Tiguan eHybrid. With a fully charged battery (13kWh gross) you can travel 50 kilometres according to the type approval cycle. E-power comes from an 85kW electric motor, which can perform the driving task independently up to 130kph. 

When the battery is empty or if you floor the accelerator pedal, the 110kW (150hp) strong fourteen hundred petrol kicks in. It powers the front wheels via the in-house developed DSG transmission, which has six gears here. The electric motor is incorporated in this transmission, making this Tiguan a pure front wheel drive vehicle rather than a 4x4.

 

Economical, even with empty battery

In accordance with its vocation as a family car, the Tiguan is at its most pleasant when you treat it gently. If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, you will notice the front wheels are quickly overwhelmed. 

With a mixed driving style, we ended up with a fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km plus 10.2 kWh of electrons. A drive from the Ardennes to the coast with an empty battery resulted in an average of 7.4 l/100 km, which is quite low for a petrol-powered SUV. 

It is a pity that the on-board charger is limited to 3.6kW. That means you have to wait over three and a half hours to fill an empty battery to the brim. More recent competitors can do this two to three times faster.

Smart and economical

Technologically speaking, the Tiguan is up to date. A nice feature is that in combination with the optional Travel Assist, it proactively adjusts the speed when you have active cruise control activated. When approaching a roundabout or a sharp bend, the throttle is released to save energy. 

Compared to its direct rivals - the Hyundai Tucson and the Opel Grandland X - the Tiguan is priced quite competitively. As a lease car, it also has a tax advantage: its 1.4 produces 110 kW, which reduces the registration tax to €867. The Tucson’s and Grandland’s 1.6 each produce 132kW, so they get a settlement of €2,478 from the treasury.

For once, the Tiguan eHybrid is not the most expensive, nor is it the hippest or the most advanced plug-in hybrid SUV. It does what it's supposed to do, without frills.

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      + Pleasant powertrain

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      + Efficient operation

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      + Comfort and practicality

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      -Uninspired interior -Ergonomics of the digital dashboard -Slow charger