The Tiguan is a small crossover that Volkswagen refers to as the GTI of SUVs due to the sportiness it packs into its utilitarian body style. Now entering its last year on the market, the Tiguan is built on a modified Passat platform with some bits from the last-gen Golf thrown in on the ends.
Seeking to create a uniform look throughout its lineup, Volkswagen recently applied its corporate two-bar grille to Tiguan while also redesigning the front fascia with new fog lights and a honeycomb grille below the bumper. At the rear, two-part taillights echo those of the larger Touareg and are sleeker and more compact than the units they replaced.
Power for the Tiguan comes exclusively from Volkswagen's proven 2.0-liter turbo inline-four, which develops 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission both come standard, and Volkswagen's 4MOTION all-wheel drive system available as an option.
The cabin of the Tiguan was designed before VW decided to attack the heart of the American automotive market by making their cars more accessible (read: cheaper), meaning the materials are high-quality for the price point. The overall design is elegant, and there's 23.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up 56.1 cubic feet with them folded down. Interior flexibility is maximized thanks to 60-40 split folding rear seats.
All Tiguan models can be ordered with Volkswagen's MIB II infotainment system, which integrates the car's entertainment, navigation and climate control systems while offering crash notification, roadside assistance and stolen vehicle location assistance. MIB II also features remote vehicle access, speed and boundary alerts and it can provide a vehicle health report.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Volkswagen Tiguan lineup has been pared down to just four trim levels called S, R-Line, SE, and SEL, respectively.
S models come generously standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, an electronic parking brake, heated door mirrors, black roof rails, automatic headlights, daytime running lights, keyless entry with a push-button ignition, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, cruise control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera, a five-inch screen for the infotainment system, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, speed-sensitive power steering, and an eight-speaker sound system.
Selecting the R-Line trim level adds side skirts, a roof-mounted spoiler, R-Line-specific bumpers on both ends, 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, silver roof rails, fog lights, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, shift paddles, stainless steel pedal caps, and a 6.3-inch touch screen.
The SE trim builds on the S with 18-inch alloys, silver roof rails, fog lights, bi-xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof, and chrome trim around the windows.
Finally, the range-topping SEL boasts specific 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, leather upholstery, a rear-view camera, a Fender sound system, and dual-zone A/C.
Regardless of trim level, the Tiguan is fitted with dual front, side thorax and side curtain airbags in addition to stability and traction control systems, ABS and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Given the sporty and slightly upscale nature of the Tiguan, its closest competitor is the turbocharged variant of the Kia Sportage. Buyers can also conceivably cross-shop vehicles like the GMC Terrain, the Honda CR-V, the Ford Escape, the Jeep Cherokee, and even the Acura RDX.