In the context of the SUV-lead new car market today, the Volkswagen Tiguan was pretty ahead of its time, though it was pitched as an SUV rather than the crossovers that are all the rage right now. The name, incidentally, comes from a combination of the German words for tiger and iguana. The first generation Tiguan, launched in Ireland in 2008, is still a classy looking car, if less resolved a design than its successor introduced in 2016. The older car remains spacious and well-equipped for the most part and though not without reliability problems, it still makes for a sought after second hand motor.
The early examples are all usually either 2.0-litre TDI 140 diesels or 1.4-litre TSI 150 petrols, both paired with 4Motion four-wheel drive. Though there are examples in the Carzone classifieds for a good deal less, you need to be looking at spending at least €8,000 for a good version, while the last of the breed, from the start of 2016, are still not far off €30,000. In fairness, they're fully loaded with equipment at that price. Early trim lines were Trend & Fun, Sport & Style or Track & Field (often shortened to TFN, Sport and TFD respectively in the classifieds), though there are also Life & Leisure (LL) and sporty looking Edition-R models to look out for - anything else is a UK import. Note that there was a facelift for the Tiguan in 2011 that brought in revised styling and engines and there are more economical front-wheel-drive options too.
If budget allows, go for a post-facelift version of the Tiguan, say a 2012 model, with one of the more powerful 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines under the bonnet and 4Motion four-wheel drive. The Sport trim is the best one overall too.
Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 170 4Motion Sport
Engine: 1,968cc four-cylinder turbodiesel
Maximum speed: 201km/h
0-100km/h: 8.9 seconds
Fuel consumption: 6.0 litres/100km
• Good safety rating
• Good for towing
• Not very economical
• Some reliability issues
• Firm ride on larger wheels
So long as low running costs are below image and status on your list of priorities then the first generation Volkswagen Tiguan makes for a good option in the compact SUV segment. It's classy, spacious and comes with a range of engines to suit all types of motorists.