Volkswagen Tiguan review

Volkswagen Tiguan review

We road test the latest version of VW’s biggest selling car – the Tiguan family crossover…

The Tiguan is a hugely important model for Volkswagen. Since the family crossover was first launched back in 2007, nearly eight million have been sold and it’s the German giant’s best-selling car globally.

However, there’s no time to rest on your laurels in the automotive world, so it’s welcome to the third-generation Tiguan.

Volkswagen Tiguan review

It’s got its work cut out too, because its many rivals in the mid-size family SUV sector include the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga, MINI Countryman and Hyundai Tucson.

On the engine front, Volkswagen has covered most bases with a choice of petrol (TSI), diesel (TDI) and mild-hybrid petrol engines (eTSI) from launch.

Later in 2024 there will be two plug-in hybrid (eHybrid) models offering offer up to 62 miles of electric range thanks to a large 19.7kWh battery.

Volkswagen Tiguan review

All Tiguan models now feature automatic transmission, while 4Motion (four-wheel drive) is only available in the more powerful 2.0-litre petrol turbo (TSI) powered cars.

At 4539mm long, 1639mm tall (minus roof rails) and 1842mm wide, the new Tiguan is 30mm longer, 4mm taller and the same width as its popular predecessor.

Looks-wise, it’s fair to say that it’s more of an evolution of the outgoing model, rather than cutting-edge design.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Overall, the styling is smoother and more curvaceous (the drag coefficient has improved from 0.33 to 0.28) and its front end is not unlike its all-electric ID cousins.

At the back, there’s a full-width horizontal LED strip with classy ‘Tiguan’ lettering on the tailgate.

The biggest changes are inside, where the third-gen Tiguan has been treated to a new cabin sporting a cleaner look, improved technology, higher quality materials and more space than its predecessor.

Volkswagen Tiguan review

All versions come with a 10.3-inch driver’s digital instrument panel, plus a central 12.9-inch infotainment touchscreen. A huge 15.0-inch version is also available as part of an upgrade – as is a head-up display.

The touch sliders at the bottom of the infotainment screen work better than some of the original ID models and they are now illuminated so easier to use at night. Thankfully, there are physical buttons on the steering wheel, rather than touch-sensitive controls.

There’s plenty of space for all the family, with ample head and legroom for rear passengers, plus a large 648-litre boot.

Volkswagen Tiguan review

Overall, the cabin is comfortable and pleasant (if slightly business-like) place to be with good visibility and clear, intuitive instrumentation and solid build quality.

My test car was a 1.5-litre eTSI mild (48V) hybrid, pushing out 148bhp. As you’d expect, the driving position is suitably high, while the gear selector has been moved up to the right-hand side of the steering column, meaning the left stalk now controls the windscreen wipers and indicators.

Mercedes-Benz already does this, and once you get over the initial wiper/indicator activation mistakes, it kind of works, but my preference would always be for separate stalks. Additionally, there are gear-change paddles behind the steering wheel.

Volkswagen Tiguan

It’s also worth noting that Volkswagen has decided to fit a useful rotary controller down in the centre console which adjusts the radio volume and switches between drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport or Individual).

For the record, the Tiguan I drove is capable of 130mph with a respectable 0-62mph time of 9.1 seconds. CO2 emissions and economy are a claimed 141g/km and 45.6mpg respectively, with the latter seemingly very achievable even after a few hours of mixed driving.

On the road, the four-cylinder engine is smooth with plenty of mid-range pulling power. It will become more vocal under heavy acceleration, but for the most part it’s impressively refined.

Gareth Herincx driving the 2024 Volkswagen Tiguan

The slick seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox works well, though it occasionally holds onto gears for a fraction too long.

It would be an exaggeration to say that the Tiguan’s ride and handling are class-leading, but they are well up to the job. The suspension is at the firmer end of the scale, but not uncomfortably so. The steering is easy and light, and the car is generally composed with good body control in faster corners, combined with ample grip.

Choose Sport mode and the throttle and gearbox are a tad more responsive, but then performance and dynamism aren’t the main priorities for the family favourite that is the Tiguan.

Volkswagen Tiguan

At launch, the Volkswagen Tiguan range consists of five trim levels (Tiguan, Life, Match, Elegance and R-Line) with prices starting at £34,075.

Verdict: Volkswagen has played it safe with the much-improved third-generation Tiguan, sticking with a winning formula of understated style, comfort and quality. The good news for families is that it now also boasts more space, it’s equipped with the latest technology and safety kit, and it’s more economical.

Volkswagen UK

Milestone: 1.5 millionth Kia sold in the UK

Gareth Herincx

15 hours ago
Auto News

Kia EV6

Kia sold its 1.5 millionth car in the UK this April, amid a record-breaking month for the South Korean brand.

The landmark sale was a Kia EV6 GT-Line S in Yacht Blue, sold at 9:35am on 16 April at Norton Way GWR Kia in Brentford, London.

The milestone comes 33 years after Kia made its UK debut with the little Pride. The EV6 couldn’t be more different, with its fully electric powertrain and cutting-edge rapid charging capabilities.

Kia reached its first 500,000th sale in June 2013, 22 years after launching in the UK, in 1991. The millionth Kia sold was announced in January 2019, just six years later.

A record April for Kia, sales amounted to 8,044 and a market share of 6%, making Kia the fifth best-selling brand in the month and fourth in the year.

Kia Sportage PHEV review

The Sportage was the sixth best-selling car in the April UK market overall, and is the UK’s third best-selling car year-to-date, with 2,192 sales in April and 15,824 this year respectively, while the Niro EV was the ninth best-selling electric car in the month and seventh year-to-date.

Kia’s popular Picanto city car was once again the best-selling vehicle in its class with 1,148 cars sold.

“This landmark achievement has been reached in record time and in yet another record-breaking month of sales, amplifying our continued success,” said Paul Philpott, President and CEO of Kia UK.

“This has in no small way been thanks to the continued efforts of our dealer partners and multi award-winning electrified product line-up.”

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Revealed: UK’s Top 10 best-selling cars

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Ford Puma

The official data for car sales has been released and it’s clear that 2023 was a year of recovery after the pandemic and the computer chip shortage.

In all, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures show that more than 1.9 million new cars were registered in the UK in 2023 – the best year since 2019, but still 17.7% down on the 2.3 million sold that year.

And despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, 2023 was still a record year for electric vehicle sales, with more than 300,000 new EVs registered – an increase of almost 50,000 compared with 2022.

So, what were the most popular new cars of 2023? Here’s the Top 10 best-sellers…

1. Ford Puma: 49,591

2. Nissan Qashqai: 43,321

3. Vauxhall Corsa: 40,816

4. Kia Sportage: 36,135

5. Tesla Model Y: 35,899

6. Hyundai Tucson – 34,469

7. Mini Hatch: 33,385

8. Nissan Juke – 31,745

9. Audi A3: 30,159

10. Vauxhall Mokka: 29,984

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Nissan Qashqai e-Power review

Nissan Qashqai e-Power

We get behind the wheel of the Nissan Qashqai e-Power – a full hybrid like no other…

The Nissan Qashqai has been a huge success. Originally launched in the UK back in 2007, it pioneered the crossover concept with its blend of hatchback compactness and SUV practicality, becoming the best-selling car in the UK by 2022.

Built in Britain at Nissan’s giant plant in Sunderland, it entered its third generation in 2021 and it’s better than ever.

Introduced initially with just a 1.3-litre mild hybrid engine, an intriguing e-Power version was added in 2022. And it’s this model that’s the subject of this week’s road test.

Nissan Qashqai e-Power

Unlike a conventional hybrid, the e-Power’s 1.5-litre petrol engine doesn’t directly drive the car. Instead, it acts as a generator, sending power to a small 1.97kWh lithium ion battery, then on to an electric motor (outputting 187bhp), which drives the front wheels.

As the marketing blurb says, it’s “powered by electric, refuelled with petrol”, so there’s no need to recharge the Nissan Qashqai e-Power. In fact, you can wave goodbye to the range anxiety so often associated with pure electric vehicles.

Priced from £34,020, the Nissan Qashqai e-Power feels more like an EV to drive (instant torque, single-speed, seamless performance), but it never has to be plugged in – nor will it run out of charge.

Nissan Qashqai e-Power

The system is happiest in low-speed urban driving environments or when cruising where there’s no stress on the engine and it can almost tick over as it charges the battery. Sometimes, the engine will cut out altogether and it will just run in pure electric mode.

It’s only under heavy acceleration or prolonged high-speed driving, on motorways for instance, that the engine has to work harder and it makes itself known.

But even then (unlike some full hybrids) the revs don’t shoot up creating a din in the cabin, even if it’s not a completely whisper-quiet experience. Disconcertingly, the engine’s revs sometimes seem to bear little relation to the demands made by your right foot, but broadly speaking, it works well.

Nissan Qashqai e-Power

For the record, it’s capable of a 0-62mph dash in a spritely 7.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 105mph.

Nothing goes to waste either. Kinetic energy otherwise lost via braking and coasting is used to recharge the battery (brake regeneration) and you can engage e-Pedal mode to give you a one pedal driving like the 100% electric Nissan Leaf.

In practice, the Nissan Qashqai e-Power offers economy close to a diesel. Officially, it will return 53.3mpg, and in everyday driving that’s realistic and can be bettered – especially if you drive sensibly. During our week with the car, at best we managed close on 70mpg, at worst closer to 40mpg.

Nissan Qashqai e-Power

Of course, the downside is that it’s not 100% electric, so while it’s capable of good fuel economy, CO2 emissions are a low, but significant 120g/km – despite all that tech.

Three driving modes are available (Eco, Standard and Sport) with the car always defaulting to standard, which is just as well because it offers the best blend of performance and economy.

Elsewhere, the e-Power is much like a regular Qashqai, which is no bad thing. Distinctive and modern, it offers serious kerb appeal.

Nissan Qashqai e-Power

Inside, it looks fresh, it’s well put together, soft-touch surfaces give it a classy feel and it’s packed with technology.

The 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, is responsive and easy to use. There’s also a 12.3-inch digital driver’s instrument cluster, plus the latest version of Nissan’s ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving system.

All models are equipped with Nissan’s driver assistance and safety package, which includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring.

Nissan Qashqai e-Power

There’s plenty of space for all the family to be seated in comfort, and the rear doors open wide for easy access. Luggage capacity is a decent 504 litres, expanding to 1,447 with the rear seats folded down.

The driving position is ideal, and just as you’d expect from a high-rider, visibility is impressive.

The Nissan Qashqai e-Power handles well and is surprisingly agile. Push it and there’s a little body lean in corners, but otherwise it offers a comfortable ride with ample grip, while the light steering works a treat in town.

It would be an exaggeration to call it an engaging drive, but then the e-Power is more about practicality and economy.

The Qashqai e-Power has a long list of rivals, including the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Suzuki S-Cross, though none use Nissan’s novel hybrid system.

Verdict: Nissan has dared to be different with the Qashqai e-Power – a cross between a full hybrid and an EV. Economical, comfortable, smooth, safe and practical, it’s a perfect stepping stone for drivers who aren’t ready – or can’t yet – make the switch to a pure electric vehicle.

Nissan UK

Renault Austral E-Tech review

Renault Austral E-Tech

There’s no doubt that the Renault Austral E-Tech has serious kerb appeal, but what’s this classy full hybrid like to drive?

Over the years I’ve driven dozens of electric vehicles. And if you can charge from home and you’re open to a change of mindset, there’s every reason to switch.

However, running an EV is not without its issues, thanks to the patchy public charging infrastructure and high price of electricity at rapid chargers.

Which brings me to this week’s test car – the Renault Austral E-Tech. It’s a full hybrid, so there’s no need to plug it in to charge, and in theory it can travel up to 683 miles between fuel stops. No range anxiety there then!

Renault Austral E-Tech

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an EV evangelist, but for many motorists not ready to make the transition to 100% electric or without off-street parking, a full hybrid is the next best thing.

Sure, they are not as kind to the planet as EVs, but the Renault Austral E-Tech can run in EV mode for reasonable distances, emits as little as 105g/km CO2 and can achieve up to 60.1mpg.

And as full hybrids go (its rivals include the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, Nissan Qashqai e-Power, Honda ZR-V and Toyota RAV4), it’s definitely one of the best.

About the same size as another of its competitors (the Kia Sportage), Renault’s stylish replacement for the lacklustre Kadjar is a looker.

Renault Austral E-Tech

Priced from £34,695, the range begins with the Techno, which features 19-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights, flush roof bars and parking sensors with rear-view camera, plus a hands-free key card with keyless entry.

The Techno Esprit Alpine adds 20-inch wheels, black carbon fabric and Alcantara upholstery with blue stitching, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, electric power tailgate, electric driver and front passenger seats with massage function for driver, traffic/speed sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control with lane centring.

Top-of-the-range Iconic Esprit Alpine gets 4Control Advanced four-wheel steering, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, 360-degree Around View camera, panoramic sunroof, and wireless phone charging.

Renault Austral E-Tech

So, as you can see, the Austral is well equipped. Additionally, all versions get a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, 9.3-inch head-up display, plus a range of Google services built-in, including Google Maps, Google Assistant (voice control that works), and access to Google Play.

The Austral’s 196bhp hybrid system uses a gutsy new 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, two electric motors and a small 2kWh battery.

Feeling swifter than the official 0-62mph acceleration time of 8.4 seconds, the Austral can travel in EV mode up to 70mph unless you plant your right foot, in which case the engine kicks in.

And joy of joys, there’s no CVT gearbox, which means the revs don’t go sky high when accelerating. Instead, the Austral E-Tech has a seven-speed automatic transmission (which uses Renault’s Formula 1-derived clutchless technology), driving the front wheels.

Renault Austral E-Tech

Our Techno Esprit Alpine test car also had four-wheel steering, giving the Austral E-Tech a 10.1m turning circle – that’s city car levels of manoeuvrability.

On the move, it allows the rear wheels to turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels at speeds of up to 30mph, helping to increase manoeuvrability. Plus, at speeds above 30mph, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels, for improved stability.

In fact, there’s a lot of clever stuff going on, including a suite of 30 advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The Renault Austral E-Tech always starts in EV mode, then zips along smoothly, delivering an impressive blend of electric and petrol power, enhanced by impressive cabin sound deadening. If you’re in hurry, there’s a hesitation while the system decides what it’s going to do, but broadly speaking, it’s a very slick.

Renault Austral E-Tech

The ride is firm, but such is the joy of that punchy electrically-boosted powertrain, all is forgiven.

It’s set up for sporty handling, and works well. The steering is on the light side and the four-wheel steering turns in rather too eagerly initially, but you get used to it and after a while your confidence grows.

There’s also decent grip from those big wheels, and when pushed on more challenging roads, body lean is kept in check and it’s more agile than you might expect for a crossover.

There are four levels of regenerative braking accessible via the steering paddles, and after a while, you learn to charge the battery on long downhill runs or when coasting and braking, ready to deploy when needed. And the good news is that 55mpg is relatively easy to achieve, and in town you can get closer to 60mpg or more.

Renault Austral E-Tech

The Renault Austral E-Tech is dark inside – everywhere from the seats to the headlining and door cards. That said, it has a premium feel and it seems solidly put together.

There’s plenty of space up front, even if the lowest driving position is a tad high for taller drivers. Sliding rear seats allow you to juggle space between rear passengers and boot capacity. At its most generous setting, boot space is a useful 555 litres, rising to 1,455 litres with the rear seats flipped down.

So, the Austral E-Tech isn’t perfect, but after a few days it really grows on you. And let’s face it, 600-odd miles out of a tank of petrol is very welcome.

Verdict: The Renault Austral E-Tech is one of the best full hybrid family SUVs on the market. Good-looking, classy, packed with tech, practical and economical, it should definitely be on any family car shortlist.

Renault UK