The new Tiguan: How VW is trying to perfect its bestseller

BERLIN: It's no longer the Golf but the Tiguan that is Volkswagen's bestseller. It's no wonder that VW has been putting so much effort into the latest update to the SUV.

The new Tiguan now comes with a fresh design, ChatGPT in the cockpit, more efficient engines and, above all, better plug-in hybrids.

The third generation of the compact SUV will compete against models like the Ford Kuga and the Toyota RAV4. The upgrade is reflected in the price, which is a good 10% higher with the Tiguan now starting at €36,600 (RM189,000) in its home market of Germany.

You can hardly tell from the outside that the vehicle has been renewed after a good seven years as the designers were rather cautious. New matrix headlights, a glazed grill and altered ventilation slots are the main external changes.

The wheelbase remains unchanged at 2.68 metres, but the car’s length increases by 3cm to 4.54 metres. The passengers in the back seats in particular will benefit from this as they have a little more knee room.

The trunk also increases by 37 litres. Even without folding down the rear seat, 652 litres fit inside. With the back seat folded down that rises to 1,650 litres.

Big changes inside

The principal changes in the new Tiguan are mainly found in the cockpit, which is more reminiscent than ever of the purely electric ID models from VW.

There are now digital instruments behind the steering wheel, a large free-standing touchscreen, and the gear selector lever has moved to the steering column.

In addition, VW has revised the Tiguan's operating system to be more like that of its electric range. The menus have been simplified and there are classic buttons on the steering wheel again instead of the annoying sensor fields of previously.


The car also features new voice control based on ChatGPT. The dialogues are almost natural and are no longer limited to just vehicle functions. The AI chatbot can even look up recipes and tell children’s stories on demand.

The fact that the Tiguan feels more like an ID model than ever is also due to what's under the bonnet. Volkswagen's pride and joy are the plug-in hybrids, which are now equipped with a battery of 19.7 instead of 10.6 kWh.

That almost doubles the electric range and means that at least for the first 100 kilometres the Tiguan becomes an electric car. And when the battery is empty, you can now refuel at a fast charging station.

The Tiguan is offered as a plug-in hybrid with either 150 kW/204 hp or 200 kW/272 hp, which enables 0 to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 215kph. VW has not yet released consumption figures.

Alternatively, the car is available with two 1.5-litre petrol engines with a mild hybrid of 96 kW/130 hp or 110 kW/150 hp and as a 2.0-litre petrol TSI with 150 kW/204 hp or 195 kW/265 hp.

The Tiguan is also available again as a diesel. The 2.0-litre TDI engines produce 110 kW/150 hp or 142 kW/193 hp, have a standard consumption of at best 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres, and produce CO2 emissions of 139 g/km.

A conservative upgrade

All-wheel drive versions are still available for the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, but manual transmissions have been removed from the range.

Since everyone in the world has wanted to ride the SUV wave, the Tiguan has become the Golf of the new era — just as successful, but also just as conservative.

Because VW doesn't want to take any big risks with a successful range, this latest generation is not a revolution, but rather an evolution.

Even so, the new plug-in hybrids and improved operating system should keep the Tiguan on the road to success into the future.

Autos Volkswagen