Interior and styling upgrades boost the Tiguan’s kerb appeal, but diesel may no longer be the fuel of choice
Turbocharged Direct Injection technology (you may not know) is a Volkswagen Group invention, first used in 1989 for a TDI-badged diesel version of the Audi 100, before going on (for reasons you will know) to bring the company some quite undesirable publicity 26 years later. Injecting diesel fuel directly into the combustion chamber is nothing new, and neither is combining that fuel vapour with ice-cold turbocharged air for a bigger bang, but its starring role in this review will no doubt spark discussion for the very fact that it runs so overtly counter to the future-thinking rhetoric at the heart of Volkswagen’s current manifesto. Curiously, in fact, you could walk into a Volkswagen dealership at this very moment with a little over £30,000 in your pocket and emerge with either this 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel SUV or a much more futuristically styled electric hatchback (with a 261-mile range) in tow. Of course, as Wolfsburg gradually expands its electric ID line-up, we’ll start to see oil-burners such as this discontinued, but for now they continue to form an integral part of the brand’s European range, to the extent that some 20% of facelifted Tiguans sold in the UK are expected to be diesel-powered, even after the market introduction of the tax-friendly, plug-in eHybrid version next month. There’s no denying the superficial appeal of such a powertrain, even in light of the social stigma that’s now grown around cars that sup from the black pump. Even the most abstemious modern petrol motors can’t quite match a diesel for long-distance frugality, and for lugging large loads – in this case likely three children, a dog and maybe a bike or two – the low-end torque will be a significant boon. But the fact remains that these cars are no longer as cheap to run as they once were – for the majority at least – and as low-emission zones are adopted and expanded across the country, their daily usage will gradually become less and less viable.