What a BabyDrive!! Other than there being more storage compartments than a well designed nappy bag, find out why we highly recommended the Tiguan as a BabyDrive!
As a family car, the Tiguan is hard to find fault with! The storage in the cab is fantastic and you will never struggle to find a spot for your glasses with the four space glasses cases in the ceiling!
There are ample good sized cup holders and door pockets in the front and back and the tray tables/iPad wedges for the rear passengers are a really good BabyDrive feature. We even had in-car picnic in the back on one outing!!
The great storage continued to the boot where I found it had really good space for a mid size SUV. Holding 12 shopping bags when empty at its smallest size. The rear seats slide to adjust so you can redistribute extra room from the cab to the boot when needed or vice versa but legroom is fantastic also in the Tiguan for both tall and short passengers.
There are ISO Fix in both the outer rear seats, within plastic guides making seat installation easier. The top tether points are on the back of all three rear seats and easily reachable through the boot.
The rear seats are simple and flat, allowing for three child seats to be installed, but the seat base was only just wide enough to accommodate the models we used so if you intend to fit three child seats you'll definitely need to check your chosen models will fit across the Tiguan during your test drive.
I fitted the three child seats using the seatbelts and top tethers but you would very comfortably install two child seats in the outer seats using the ISO Fix and top tethers and I was able to sit in-between them. (I'm 162cm).
The media system is fantastic as well in the Tiguan, it's a large very clear touch screen, easy to navigate and use and there is Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Equally good is the inbuilt sat nav, with mutable announcements. And the reversing camera is very clear, with the front and rear sensors also being mutable from the touchscreen.
While I'm spooning out praise, top marks to Volkswagen for the cruise control. The Tiguan is actually a pleasure to use and drive confidently knowing the cruise control will truly stick to the set speed.
It is hard to find fault with the Tiguan as it really is a box-ticking car but the one main negative that you are made aware of on every journey is…. the incredibly uncomfortable front seats!! I have no idea who got the seat adjustments signed off. It's as if they just kept adding adjusters until they thought it was as good as they could get the seats, settling at 7 manual adjusting switches, levers and knobs???!
Apart from the seats and a slightly bumpy ride on some road surfaces the Tiguan gets full marks. It is a great car to drive as well as just being so practical and full of BabyDrive friendly features. The fantastic cruise control and media system are highlights of this car too!
Storage is abundant in the Tiguan! There are two cup holders in the front of the central console and they are adjustable so can hold a large refillable water bottle or disposable or reusable coffee cup really well. The two holders also retract so that the area can become a storage box instead.
The door pockets are all lined with a thick carpeting so nothing you put in them will rattle. However, if you spill anything in them it will be much harder to remove or clean. In the front they are a really nice big functional size, I could get my large refillable water bottle in them with an iPad and my wallet.
There are no wells in any of the door handles, so that little storage is not there but VW does make up for it with plenty of other storage compartments!
The central console storage box is just a small, basic box with a lid that doubles as an extendable armrest. There are no sockets in the console box, instead they are situated in front of the gear lever just above a rubber lined well containing the USB, HDMI and a 12V sockets. I found this the best place for my phone because I could plug it in to the USB to charge and use the Apple CarPlay!
The glove box in the Tiguan is not enormous, it held the manual and my wallet. I could not fit the iPad in there. The glove box does have a cooling dial so you could use it like an Esky for snacks and picnics etc.
Underneath the front passenger seat is a storage drawer that I found a good size for my phone and wallet when we were going to the beach and I wanted to have my hands free. It was a fantastic place for keeping things out of sight.
On the dashboard, there is also another small storage box with black felt lining, but anything you put in there will be roasted by the Australian sun!
In the ceiling of the Tiguan are two of the biggest glasses cases I have ever seen! It might at first seem silly but I think it is actually a good idea! I like to always leave a pair in the car and usually have my other pair on me, plus I have another cheap pair that are for wearing in the ocean that often get left in the car. My husband has his sunglasses and normal glasses that he swaps between and our daughter has her little sunnies so actually to be able to store them all away instead of them floating around the car is great! The rear of the cases is also reachable by back seat passengers so older kids can put their own glasses away!
As if this wasn't enough, the abundant storage continues in the back!
There are 1/3 size map pockets on the back of each front seat, they are solid so you can not see what is stored in them which is good, I found them deep enough to hold my iPad but not to fully conceal it.
Above the map pockets are fold-out tray tables! Fantastic BabyDrive features! They are simple and plastic, with a pull-out bottle or cup holder in the sides of them that I found perfect for a 600ml bottle or Pigeon baby bottle. You can also have them at an angle which is good for resting a screen on for forward facing passengers to watch.
There is also a fold-down armrest in the central seat back with three different sized cup holders in. Two of them are good for a large refillable water bottle and a disposable or reusable coffee cup.
The door bins in the back are also nice and large and carpet lined. They would hold a large refillable water bottle and a 600ml bottle at the same time, or a bottle and a wallet, but they weren't quite big enough for an iPad.
At either end of the rear seat base is plastic trough which is perfectly sized to hold an iPad or book. I actually found I used them for my keys and wallet.
Often when I take Tulsi to the car I have my wallet, with my phone inside, and my keys in my hand and we go straight to her door. When I'm putting her into her seat I'll pop whatever I have in my hands in various spots around her seat, but I found this was a perfect little resting place for wallet and keys while I strapped Tulsi in, then I could pick them up and head to the drivers door!
Storage in the boot was impressive too for this mid-sized SUV. The rear seats slide forward and back on a 60/40 split, so you can have less legroom in the cab and more storage space in the boot and vice versa. Here I have tested the boot capacity with the seats in their furthest back position so there is the least space in the boot.
When the boot is empty, and the rear seats in their furthest back position, I can get 12 shopping bags in there.
The Mountain Buggy Duet twin stroller just fits widthways in the boot, when the boot is at it's smallest capacity. You can also get two shopping bags in alongside it.
With the Britax tandem Flexx stroller in the boot, I can get four shopping bags in around it. The tandem has to go widthways in the boot because of the longer wheelbase as a tandem. If we moved the rear seats forward we could get it in lengthways.
The Britax single Flexx stroller will fit nicely in the boot lengthways or widthways with five shopping bags around it.
The Britax Holiday basic stroller is so small it would easily fit in a footwell in front of a rear facing child seat, giving you maximum boot space. However, it will not stand upright in the boot so it has to lay down, and I could get 9 shopping bags in around it.
We have taken a Tiguan on a family holiday before and slid one of the rear seats forward to give more space in the boot. This worked really well and gave us ample boot storage.
The boot space and its functionality are really important. I like to have a big boot space and little side wells or areas I can divide things into. So something I don’t want to move around while I’m driving such as Tulsi’s lunch bag or her wet swimming gear can be sectioned off in a little well where it’s not going to spill or get squashed by the rest of the things in the boot.
Hooks for securing shopping bags to are also favourites of mine, I like being able to secure the bag containing more fragile things like eggs so they don’t move around on the journey.
I measure the boot space in freezer shopping bags, prams and dogs. Not because I think all there is to a mum’s life is food shopping, prams and dogs. (Although it can feel like it sometimes!!) But because these are visually mesurable items we can all associate with. For me, the car company boot measurement of litres is not an amount I can easily visualise and 400L in one car may differ in usability to that in another due to the configuration or shape of the space.
There is a light on the right hand side of the boot that comes on automatically and levers on both sides of the boot for bringing each of the rear seatbacks forward individually (split 40:20:40). A fold down bag hook on either side of the boot was useful for securing things to that I didn't want to slide around the boot e.g. a bag containing eggs. There is also a 12V socket on the right too.
The boot is a good open useable shaped space with a flat carpeted floor, perfect for an emergency nappy change! There are good sized wells on either side in front of the wheel arches that I have found good for anything I want keeping seperate from the rest of the boot contents like shoes, suncream etc. These spaces are carpet lined though so they are not waterproof.
The Tiguan's front and rear sensors do have a very loud, baby waking, beeping noise to alert you to hazards but them that can thankfully be muted with the touch of a button on the screen!
You can also change the camera view to a birds-eye view which I found useful for parking. The settings are not remembered, so you need to press mute each time.
Becoming a parent I soon realised there are some noises and sounds I feel are unnecessary and I could happily live without if it meant my baby stayed asleep!!
That often the distraction of my screaming, distressed baby is more dangerous when driving than not having a lane departure warning for example.
If it is the lane departure warning beeping that creates distress with my baby then which is safest?
It’s where I think we need to be able to strike a balance and choose when we can mute the warnings or swap them to a vibration in the steering wheel or flashing light perhaps?
A lot of these noises come with the increase in technology and especially linked to safety features and alerts. For me these all have their place.
Another thing I have realised is I spend my time in a lot more places where small children roam, parks, beaches, play gyms, swimming lessons, daycare centre etc. I have become more aware that when I’m reversing or manouvering in the car parks I have to tripple check for small children running around behind me or being in my blind spot when reversing. For this I LOVE reversing cameras, I just don’t like their beeping sounds!!
I have become so much more aware of safety and potential accidents or hazards since having a child and so I love the peace of mind that I get from the cameras and sensors combined with my own vision from windows and mirrors as I don’t trust cameras alone.
The indicator volume in the Tiguan I don't think is loud enough to disturb a sleeping child and I didn't have to avoid junctions when driving my daughter to sleep!
The sat nav voice volume is completely in your control! At the bottom of the media screen, when you bring your hand towards it, a row of menu buttons appear and the announcements button brings up a sliding volume scale or a simple touch will mute and un-mute the voice. This is a fantastic and easy to use feature, allowing you to mute the sound for as long as you don't need it, as I find most often it is only the last five minutes of a journey I actually need the sat nav.
The Tiguan has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link, which made connecting my phone to it really nice and simple.
I do find if I get into the car after my husband has made a journey then the media system will come on straight away with whatever he was listening to, which is frustrating if I was wanting quiet for my daughter to sleep and it comes on blaring.
The doors of the Tiguan shut with such a loud bang! It is a real surprise and to continue their baby waking there is a REALLY loud beeping alert if you try to pull of with the drivers door open. It is a little bit excessive I think and would definitely wake anyone sleeping!
The window mechanisms are not too noisy, they close with a little clunk but nothing like the doors!!
The doors and windows can be locked by buttons in the driver's door control panel.
The Tiguan has auto engine cut out, which I found a little disturbing on a few occasions in a queues of traffic that were still moving very slowly and the engine cut out, which caused the steering to seem to lock. It was such a weird sensation, as if the car had cut out all together. As the car was still rolling and amongst traffic I wanted to be in control of the steering wheel. This can be quite disturbing for little passengers as the vibrations of the driving are often what helps them get to sleep. You can turn the auto engine cut out off with a button next to the gear lever.
The road and engine noise in the Tiguan is fine, I did hear occasionally the Tiguan was struggling to select gears but definitely not disturbing for little passengers.
The seatbelt removal alarm in the Tiguan is nice and loud! It will definitely alert you to any passenger removing their belt!!
You can come to a stop in the Tiguan, put it in park, remove your seatbelt and open the door and no alarm will go off. If you forget to put in park then a very loud alarm will go off when you open the door and wake your sleeping baby!!
The Tiguan is a really comfortable five seater.
The rear seats independently slide with a 60:40 split so you can adjust the legroom and boot space to suit your family needs. Leg room in the Tiguan is very good with ample space for both tall and shorter drivers and passengers.
There are ISO Fix in the two outer rear seats, they are within plastic guides in-between the seat base and back. They are really easy to connect to. There are top tether anchor points for all three rear seats, they are situated in the seat backs and are easily reachable and accessible through the boot or by bringing the seat backs forward.
The back seats in the Tiguan have a really nice, flat base and are simply upholstered in woven fabric with suede central panels. When I first saw the seats' simplicity I thought these will be good for fitting child seats and I was right! I can get three child seats nice and easily across the back row, although the seat base could do with being an inch or two wider as the child seats had to move out right to the edges. I think they have made the seats narrower for accessing the storage wells at either end of the seat base but I would rather be able to fit three child seats comfortably on a wider seat base than have another storage compartment!
Fitting the child seats really was nice and simple, I fitted the Britax Maxi Guard Pro forward facing booster seat in the central seat and the Britax Unity infants capsule rear facing and Britax Graphene rear facing in each of the outer seats all using seatbelts.
Accessing the middle booster seat was really good in the Tiguan, as the front passenger seat folds right forward so that you can step through to the back easily. I even found I could reach through that way to fasten their seatbelt relatively easily!
The child seats really were at the limits of the car seat base and you would need to test your child seats to make sure your three would all fit in the width of the seat.
The seatbelt buckles in the rear seat base are stored away in the seat base but stick up on really firm stalks, I found they were well positioned for the child seat installation and they didn't stick into your bottom sitting in the central seat!
When posting bub into their rear facing child seat from outside, the Tiguan is REALLY good! The doorways are really nice and big with plenty of space. From inside the ceiling is high too allowing lots of space to post from inside the car too.
Australia being a country of weather extremes blazing sun and torrential rain means you may find it easier to put bub into their seat from inside the car. If it’s hot you can get the aircon going, cool the car down and not stand out in the heat with the door open while you fasten them in or shelter from the rain and not get soaked yourself whilst you’re doing it. So it is important to test whether bub can be easily installed from either direction.
With just one child seat installed there is plenty of room in the back for feeding bub.
The seats in this model are a woven black fabric (a bit like school uniforms are made from!) with Suede central panels. These would be hard to keep clean, especially the suede, with children spilling food and drinks on them compared with plastic and leather that will wipe clean.
The front seats in the Tiguan are this car's weakest link! I just could not get comfortable in them and they have no shoulder support at all?!
The drivers seat has so many handles, dials, buttons and levers it is laughable! A lever to slide the seat forward and back, a handle to adjust the length of the seat base, a button to massage your back (yes really), a lever to pump the height of the seat base up or down, a dial to change to seat back angle and an electric switch for the lumbar support! It is CRAZY!!! The front passenger seat is just as bad! Even with all these things I just couldn't get it right and then someone else gets in to drive and you loose all your adjustments as they attempt to get all those things in exactly the right spot for them!! So silly!!
The headrests even have a button in the side of them so you bring them forward or back, which was really good as it allowed me to wear a ponytail!!
I had spent hours styling my hair this morning to get it just right too… said no new mum ever!!!
In the back the seats are much more comfortable, the central seat is not too bad at all even though it has the armrest in the seat back. There was room with a rear facing child seat installed in both outer seats for me to travel in the central seat quite comfortably. There is a hump in the footwell that my feet had to straddle.
There is a lot of legroom in the Tiguan and the rear seats can slide forward and back on a 60:40 split to redistribute some in the boot.
The steering wheel is fully adjustable in/out and up/down, with a manual lever underneath the steering wheel.
The cruise control in the Tiguan is FANTASTIC! It was exceptionally good on my test route on undulating roads at 60kmph. It only went over or under the set speed by 1km or 2kms which is very unusual in all the cars I test.
The controls are on the left hand side of the steering wheel and are nice and simple to use.
There are four air vents in the front of the car, two in the centre of the dashboard and one at either end. The front air-conditioning controls are positioned underneath the media screen and are very easy to reach and use whilst driving.
In the back there are two air vents in the back of the central console storage box and the controls are positioned there too, they are reachable whilst driving to adjust if need be for little passengers. There is a 12V socket underneath them too!
The windows are tinted in the Tiguan and I found I did not have to add any shades to the windows.
One thing I have noticed since being a mum is I hate it when I reach a destination or get home from being out and Tulsi has either done really well in the car or she is screaming her head off and I have done really well to keep it together for the entire journey (usually the latter!!) and it takes 10 minutes to park the car! It can be really stressful. Usually I dread when we get the big cars or utes as they take longer to park, in our tight apartment block carpark, the Tiguan was really easy and enjoyable to drive and to park!
Visibility is actually really good in the Tiguan for all on board! For the driver visibility out of the front, sides and rear windows I found really great!
The best bit was for rear passengers forward and rear facing those windows in the back come down low enough they can really see out. Our daughter had a great view and it was lovely she could see all the things outside that we always talk about the type of the car we're in really affects view she gets!!
Parking the Tiguan was great, the view out of the back is good and the reversing camera has a clear, high-resolution image that combined makes it easy and I didn't feel there were any blind spots when reversing.
The Tiguan is a smooth car to drive, the steering feels light and the turning circle is good, it is an enjoyable car to drive. The ride can sometimes feel a little bumpy on various road surfaces but apart from that it's a great drive around town and on the open road!
There are lit vanity mirrors on both sides in the front. The interior lights in the front are in the control panel in the ceiling, there is also a button there to turn the rear lights on and off too. The rear lights are in the centre of the ceiling but too far back for me to reach from the front so the button in the front is a fantastic BabyDrive feature!
I often will reach back to turn on the interior light if I am driving at night time, I find my little girl gets less distressed traveling at night that way. It helps if I can reach the interior light from the drivers seat so I can turn it on and off whilst driving. I often find my daughter will need it on as we start our journey in the dark but once she falls asleep I can turn it off.
It is also useful when there are lights situated above the doors where the handles are usually positioned. These are good for when putting baby into their child seats when visibility is poor, so you do not have to reach across them to a light situated in the ceiling centrally etc.
The VW Tiguan has a five-star ANCAP safety rating. In testing it scored 84% for child occupancy protection, 96% for adult occupancy protection and 68% for safety assist technology.
The Tiguan comes with seven airbags as standard. Both front passengers get front and side chest airbags, a drivers knee airbag and side curtain airbags extend to the rear passengers as well.
As standard the Tiguan's come with anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution(EBD), electronic stability control and autonomous emergency braking(AEB).