ON THE ROAD: IT'S eight years since the Tiguan was launched and so the car that sits only behind the Golf and the Polo as VW's biggest UK seller was probably due a makeover.

This second generation vehicle is at the forefront of what Volkswagen calls a "comprehensive SUV offensive" in the coming years.

The new Tiguan is the first VW SUV to sit on the MQB platform, which enables it to benefit from innovations on the likes of the aforementioned Golf, the Passat and the Touran.

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Externally, it has far more road presence than the model it replaces.

A decrease in height and increase in width give it a real sense of purpose.

It's also longer than the old car and features an extended wheelbase.

The Tiguan is available with a choice of three petrol engines, two 1.4 litre units and a 2.0 litre - which are more powerful and more efficient than previous examples - and four diesel engines with differing power outputs, ranging from 114bhp to 238bhp.

According to VW, 75 per cent of UK buyers opt for all-wheel drive when it comes to speccing their Tiguan and the new car features the 4MOTION system that is either standard or optional depending on the choice of engine.

The new car features a good balance of power, poise and grip and would appear ideally suited for what the coming months have in store for us.

ON THE INSIDE: THERE'S nothing flashy or gimmicky inside the Tiguan, it's grown up and sophisticated. It also has one of the best driving positions around, as far as I am concerned, so comfort is assured. I think I should have been German because I just love the way the dash and fascia are laid out - something that is true of most, if not all, of the Tiguan's brethren. Vision is good, but the rear parking sensors on our car overcame any potential blindspots.

WHAT DO YOU GET: EQUIPMENT levels are good, but this is not a cheap car and you will have earned your treats if you opt for a Tiguan.

Our SEL 4MOTION test car came with Active bonnet, a sensor controlled pedestrian protection system, automatic coming home and leaving light function, 4MOTION Active Control with four driving modes, 3Zone electric air conditioning, Active info display, with 12.3ins high-resolution TFT dash display screen, electric windows, electrically heated, adjustable and foldable door mirrors, rain and dusk sensor, panoramic sunroof with LED ambient lighting, front and rear parking sensors, electronic parking brake with auto hold function, start/stop function, Bluetooth, Discover Navigation System with 8ins colour touchscreen, Car-Net information system and 19ins alloys. In addition, the SEL came with roof rails, chrome trim, underbody protection and rear diffuser, rear tinted glass and LED headlights and daytime running lights.

HOW PRACTICAL IS IT: THE interior of the Tiguan is longer than the previous model, meaning it is one of the most spacious cars in its class. There is more knee room in the rear and more headroom. Our car came with sliding rear bench enabling you to create 615 litres of boot space when it is pushed all the way forwards. Fold the rear seat and you get 1,655 litres of space. It also has a removable luggage compartment cover, folding tables on the back of the front seats, cup holders, storage pockets and numerous other compartments. The boot also has a variable floor, which is height adjustable and removable.

RUNNING COSTS: VW say it should be possible to get a return of 49.6mpg from our car on the combined cycle. We managed 42.1mpg. CO2 emissions are 149gm/km, which would appear a little on the high side.

VERDICT: IMPRESSES in almost all areas.