The Volkswagen Tiguan: VW’s middle child is ready to turn heads

The oft-overlooked car is suddenly jockeying for position in the VW family hierarchy with its R-Line Black Style edition

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When you start talking about sporty Volkswagens, everyone's thoughts probably turn to that souped-up hooligan the Golf GTI, a vehicle capable of causing your stomach to perform muesli-­turning somersaults on a drive into work of a morning and, if you're not paying attention, could also earn you a speeding ticket before you're even halfway there.

Not many people would put the more sedate Tiguan into this category, though. Bigger and higher off the ground than the Golf, the Tiguan occupies the hinterland between its low-slung sibling and that proper off-road beefcake the Touareg, with the newer Teramont, which seems too shy to make much of an appearance, sitting at the top in the size stakes.

And as much as you might like to own one of these vehicles, or even all four of them, there's only one you'd associate with tearing up the tarmac. So, back to the Tiguan, which thus far has appeared to be a middle child content to leave the littlest member of the Volkswagen family to be the track star.

That might have been the case once, but things change. Volkswagen has given the Tiguan its R-Line treatment and, while that description doesn't exactly bring to mind a team of wild horses thundering across the plains, this upgrade has given us a zippy young model with plenty of newfound capability on sports day.

The design package associated with for the R-Line is called Black Style. In terms of looks, this model is still evidently a Tiguan, but design tweaks have given it a far more assertive appearance.

A look inside the cabin of the R-Line Tiguan. Courtesy Volkswagen

It really goes big time on the whole black theme – it has black exterior mirror housings, black roof rail, black bumpers, air intakes with black fins and headlight frames in high-gloss black, as well as optional 20-inch Suzuka black alloy wheels. That's surely enough of the dark stuff for a whole troupe of goths. But the car doesn't have to come in black. 

What happens when you get the Tiguan moving? It's fast. You'll be surprised what you can do when you put it in the most dynamic mode, as will the motorists around you.

I have to declare a potential bias towards the Tiguan here. I owned a previous generation and liked it very much. My father left it to me in his will and so, for my part, it is a model tinged with a certain poignancy that might not have been evident with a vehicle I'd bought myself.  

That aside, though, this car really is as good as it sounds. It has superior performance to the Golf and a lot more room.

It's stylish, too. Volkswagen's middle child might have been overlooked by car buyers until now, but it's suddenly wearing a leather jacket and sporting a new physique after using a set of weights in its bedroom. It looks like it is finally going to start turning heads.