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First Drive

First Drive: Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV

The story: Volkswagen has added a fifth PHEV to its line-up, with the Tiguan SUV joining the Golf, Passat, Arteon and high-performance Touareg R models in getting plug-in power.
Key rival:Hyundai Tucson
On sale:Now

Volkswagen’s Tiguan has become the latest SUV to gain fleet and BiK-friendly plug-in hybrid power, joining the likes of the Citroen C5 Aircross, Cupra Formentor, Ford Puma, Hyundai Tucson, Peugeot 3008, Toyota RAV4 and Vauxhall Grandland in offering a version that will run on electric power, with the back-up of a petrol motor for longer runs.

First Drive - January 2022 - Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV - Image 2In the case of the Tiguan, the electric motor has an official rating of between 28-30 miles, depending on trim level, which leaves it at a Benefit-in-Kind disadvantage on all bar the entry Life model, which scrapes into the 11% tax band. Were the Elegance model driven here to hit 30 miles, rather than its official 28.6-mile figure, 40% taxpayers would be better off to the tune of £25 per month. The sportier-styled R-Line model is also in the 13% tax bracket, whereas the majority of the Tiguan’s rivals are nestled safely in the 11% banding.

The Tiguan does make up ground, and partially explains the slightly below-par efficiency, with its practicality, because it’s a larger SUV shape and size than many of its crossover-styled rivals. That’s reflected in both the dimensions and the practicality, with plenty of interior space and, impressively, no reduction in the 615 litres of boot space enjoyed by the petrol and diesel Tiguans. Almost all its rivals are hampered from a luggage space perspective by the battery packaging.

First Drive - January 2022 - Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV - Image 1On the road, the Tiguan remains a car able to all the simple things well, with comfortable seats, pleasing ride quality and great refinement. It’s not the most sporting SUV, but that’s not its role, and the powertrain switches seamlessly between the petrol and electric modes. The Tiguan doesn’t feel quite as fast as the 245hp figures would suggest, although take-off is brisk thanks to the instant torque of the electric motor. As with most PHEVs, the car starts up in electric mode, although he battery can be saved for later in a journey if that will prove more efficient. This works well if you have motorway miles to do early in a journey, then urban miles thereafter.

The PHEV is two-wheel drive, which means the powertrain stacks up well price-wise against the more powerful 4×4 internal-combustion-engined Tiguans, making the tax situation an absolute no-brainer for company drivers.

Paul Barker

Volkswagen adds new petrol options to Passat and Tiguan



The verdict

Clearly the most fleet-friendly Tiguan, and a car that’s classy, practical and does all the sensible things very well. It’s just a shame the more attractive specs aren’t a little more efficient to get them into the 11% BiK band.