Basic S trim is cheaper and still has air-con, alloy wheels and an 8.0in touchscreen but SE and SE Nav, which morphed into Match in 2018, add larger alloys, more driver aids, privacy glass and mirror linking for your phone. SE L spoons on climate control, a panoramic sunroof and a 12.3in TFT display, while top-spec R-Line adds a bodykit. You’d need to want all this stuff, though, because they’re considerably more expensive than SE versions. For instance, a 2016-reg 2.0 TDI 150 SE L with 78,000 miles comes in at £15,500.
These higher trims introduce more powerful but less economical engines in the shape of the 187bhp 2.0 TDI and 237bhp twin-turbocharged 2.0 BiTDI, both with 4Motion four-wheel drive. The lesser-powered unit gets our vote.
The most powerful petrol-engined versions at this level are the 2.0 TSI 190 and 230 4Motion DSG. The 190 can do 0-62mph in 7.7sec but don’t expect much more than 35mpg. Neither is numerous on the used market and prices start at a stiff £19,500 for a 2016-reg TSI 190 R-Line DSG with 80,000 miles.
Lower down the power chain are the 123bhp and punchier 148bhp 1.4 TSI petrols. They’re reasonably plentiful, with the 148bhp model being a good choice if you live near a city threatening a diesel ban. Prices are from around £15,500 for a 2016-reg 1.4 TSI 150 SE Nav with 32,000 miles.
In 2019, these petrol models were replaced by slightly more economical 1.5 TSI Evo engines. Later the same year, the low-power and extremely rare 113bhp 2.0 TDI 115 was ditched in favour of a 113bhp 1.6 TDI.
Us? We’d go for a 2016-reg 2.0 TDI 150 or 1.4 TSI 150 in SE Nav trim and enjoy the Golf life with a better view and a bigger boot but about the same fuel economy.
Top spec pick
R-Line: New, this spec takes Tiguan prices to silly heights but that’s why you’re buying used, when you can enjoy its bodykit, 20in alloy wheels and Active Info Display for less money.
Need to know
The optional Dynamic Chassis Control system will have cost the first owner around £800 and is worth seeking out. It offers three ride settings: Sport, Comfort and Normal. Comfort mode takes the edge off the slightly firm suspension, especially at low speeds around town on poor roads.