Volkswagen Tiguan R review

Volkswagen Tiguan R review

When you’re driving an ever-increasing amount of hybrid and electric vehicles, it’s refreshing to review a car with no eco pretensions – just a good, old-school car aimed at petrolheads.

To be exact, the Tiguan R is the performance version of Volkswagen’s mid-sized SUV that’s attractive, practical, well-equipped, fully connected and apparently a hit on the school run.

Presumably, VW wants to repeat the success of the Golf R, which is still a benchmark for hot hatches. If so, it very nearly succeeds because the Tiguan has never been so engaging to drive.

Under the bonnet is a potent version of Volkswagen’s venerable 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine, here making 316bhp and 310lb ft, combined with four-wheel drive.

It’s suitably swift with a 0-62mph time of just 4.9 seconds, while top speed is an electronically limited 155mph.

As you’d expect, the Tiguan’s eco credentials aren’t quite so hot. Fuel consumption is 28.5 mpg, while CO2 emissions are up to 225g/km.

Volkswagen Tiguan R Review

If you behave yourself behind the wheel, then 30mpg is possible, but it’s hard to resist having fun in the R, while ‘Sport’ as the default drive mode doesn’t help!

So, what do you get for your £46,220? For starters, it’s available in trademark Lapiz Blue paint (unique to R models).

Plus, it comes as standard with 21-inch alloy wheels, sportier front and rear bumpers, matte chrome door mirror covers, four epic exhaust tips, LED headlights and keyless entry.

Volkswagen Tiguan R Review

Inside, there are supportive heated sports seats, a new steering wheel with gear-shift paddles, multi-coloured mood lighting, R badging and an ‘R’ mode button which lets you quickly engage the sportiest driving mode without having to access the infotainment screen (which sadly incorporates the new touch sensitive climate control panel first seen on the latest Golf).

Other than that, it’s much the same as a regular Tiguan, which means it’s generously equipped, spacious front and back, plus a healthy 615 litres of storage capacity (1,655 with the rear seats folded).

Volkswagen Tiguan R Review

Set off and the first thing you notice is the engine note, which is augmented via the audio system. It certainly sounds the part in the faster drive modes, but if you’re not a fan of fake noise, then there is a setting to switch it to ‘Pure’.

Slightly lower and stiffer than a regular Tiguan, it feels planted on the road, hides its size well and body lean is kept to a minimum in faster corners.

Volkswagen Tiguan R Review

The engine is equally impressive. Responsive and smooth with plenty of torque, it’s possible to squeeze out some entertaining pops and crackles when down-changing in the faster drive modes (as well as the road-going Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual modes, there are also Off-Road and Off-Road Individual modes).

The DSG box is as efficient as ever, pumping through the gears, while the new torque vectoring differential (nicked from the Golf R) helps the four-wheel drive system send power to the wheels that have the most grip, enabling you to make tighter turns at speed.

Volkswagen Tiguan R Review

In fact, grip and traction on more challenging roads is superb, while the steering is light and accurate.

Ultimately, it’s not as nimble and engaging as a Golf R, but Volkswagen has made a great attempt to add some dynamism to the Tiguan SUV – its biggest global seller.

Verdict: The Volkswagen Tiguan R is a mid-sized family crossover with serious attitude, boasting badge appeal, performance and practicality. If you can live with the ticket price and relatively high running costs, it should definitely be on your hot SUV shortlist.

Volkswagen UK

Volkswagen Tiguan R Review

RS 6 Avant Leaves Golf R in the Dust and the Wind

Audi RS 6 Avant vs Volkswagen Golf R

One’s a hot hatch. The other’s a hot wagon. However, the inter-family rivalry is one-sided in heavy favor of the monster RS 6 Avant.

Need to haul the whole family around, but don’t want a crossover? The Audi RS 6 Avant is the best answer. Not only do you and yours get tons of room for the kids and groceries, there’s also the big V8 with 591 horses to get you to all the after-school happenings in a flash. Why settle for anything else?

However, there’s another option out there for those who prefer compact hatches: the Volkswagen Golf R. The 2.0-liter turbo-four slams down 315 horses on its way to IKEA. Yet, Archie Hamilton learns that while the VAG wins the whole comparison, the little Golf is no match for the behemoth RS 6 Avant.

Audi RS 6 Avant vs Volkswagen Golf R

“It is Golf R versus RS 6 time,” said Hamilton. “How is this Golf R gonna do? I’ve got no idea. But what I do know is that this car matched an A 45 S. So I decided, ‘Let’s put it up against the daddy of all daddies of dailies, the Audi RS 6. Let’s see how it gets on for me. This is all about how much can it keep up with the RS 6.”

As it would turn out for Hamilton, not at all. Though he knew it would lose to the RS 6 Avant, the monster wagon left the Golf R far behind. On both pulls, the Audi stole the show and then some, proving that four more cylinders paired with a turbo will always beast all over a turbo-four. Perhaps a rolling start may even things up. Right?

Audi RS 6 Avant vs Volkswagen Golf R

“I messed it up,” said James Exton. “That wasn’t great, I must be honest. But now, I’m pulling straight ahead […] There’s no doubt about it: the RS 6 still in gear speed is quicker, but that’s no surprise. Bigger engine, isn’t it? More power.”

On both 30-mph rolls, the RS 6 Avant swept its baby cousin. Not even with Exton’s twin, Tom Exton, cheating by jumping the line on the second roll could stop the Audi’s dominance.

Audi RS 6 Avant vs Volkswagen Golf R

“The moral of the story on this one is that the Golf R couldn’t really keep up,” said Hamilton.

Perhaps an RS 3 might be more the Golf R’s speed?

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Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aside from her contributions to Audi World, Aubernon can be found all through the IB Auto Group family, including 6 Speed Online, LS1Tech, and Team Speed. She also has her own independent automotive blog, Aubernon Highway.

Aubernon can be reached through her public Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. She is wary of those she doesn’t already know, though; thus, she may not respond to messages sent.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.