First Drive: Volkswagen Tiguan

We get up and personal with the second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan.

We look to see if it has the same practical qualities of its predecessor and if it holds the same badge appeal.

What is it?

The new Tiguan is part of Volkswagen's SUV offensive, in which it aims to have a model in each market segment by 2020.

It's the first time a VW SUV has sat on the company's 'MQB' modular platform, which is shared across the range with the likes of the Golf and Passat. The German manufacturer says this has allowed it to offer a longer, wider design with increased cabin space.

What's under the bonnet?

Volkswagen has made sure all its engines are Euro 6 compliant, meaning they're more efficient and less polluting than the engines they replace - diesel variants are expected to make up 90 per cent of sales.

Our test car had the 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel, which makes 237bhp, offers economy of 44.1mpg and emits 167g/km of CO2. In typical driving we found the miles per gallon figure sat comfortably in the high 30s. The engine itself is strong and pulls well when required, but it feels more at home with a more sedate driving style.

What's the spec like?

Unfortunately the Tiguan is let down by one key factor the – it just doesn't feel premium inside.

And although that may be a deliberate tactic, as VW itself is pitched as the more sedate, practical brand within the VW group, the Tiguan is up against the likes of Volvo's XC60 which looks smarter and feels much more special inside

Standard equipment includes a 12.3-inch high-definition display, panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control and LED headlights. Additional equipment fitted o our SEL-spec car included keyless entry, head-up display and park assist.

First Drive: Volkswagen Tiguan

First Drive: Volkswagen Tiguan

Any rivals?

The Tiguan actually has two 'siblings' as its rivals. Sitting on the same platform but costing less are both the Seat Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq. The Seat is arguably better looking and costs less but does lack the same solid quality inside as the Tiguan.

The Kodiaq is a larger vehicle altogether and can actually seat seven people, although a Tiguan XL is on its way. The Skoda also has a slightly more interesting dash than the Tiguan but feels less well made.

What's it like to drive?

An appealing aspect of the Tiguan is its driving position as you feel slightly lower in the cabin.

For many SUV drivers the high driving position is a key selling point, but the VW combines the two effortlessly. You get a great view of the road but at the same time it feels more like a car to sit inside.

The Tiguan feels more at home on the motorway than it does around town. It's a brilliant cruiser – quiet and refined – but on city streets the gearbox is woefully sluggish, leading to more than a few frustrating moments where it seems to hesitate between gear changes.

AOL Cars Verdict

The mid-sized SUV market is incredibly lucrative, and with Tiguan VW has a popular product – it has sold about 2.8 million worldwide since 2007.

However, the market is becoming crowded and the competition is getting tougher. The Tiguan's unfussy design and solid build quality will continue to be appealing to families, but rivals such as the newly refreshed Volvo XC60 offer a more compelling package.