2011 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV

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Volkswagen Tiguan Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

  • The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan offers a different flavor in a vanilla class by trading some practicality for a top-notch cabin and European driving manners.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Lively turbocharged engine; composed ride and handling; premium cabin appointments; top safety scores; solid build quality.

  • Cons

    Shy on cargo space; pricey compared to the competition.

  • What's New for 2011

    Besides a minor face-lift, the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan sees few changes, which include a few feature shuffles among models along with the discontinuation of the Wolfsburg Edition trim.

Full 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan Review

What's New for 2011

Besides a minor face-lift, the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan sees few changes, which include a few feature shuffles among models along with the discontinuation of the Wolfsburg Edition trim.


There's a gray area between mainstream crossover SUVs and luxury models and that's where the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan resides -- a niche where economy and utility collide with upscale appointments and badge recognition. The big question is, can a vehicle be both mainstream and luxury? The short answer is a waffling, "maybe."

The VW Tiguan's interior is a welcome departure from the plastic-trimmed cabin of the typical compact crossover. The quality of materials in this VW approaches that of premium brands like Audi, while the solid construction of this VW's interior eclipses that of its competition in the segment. Even the Tiguan's road manners achieve a certain level of sophistication. Compared to its rivals, the Tiguan is, in a single word, European.

The Tiguan's styling cues place it somewhere between the larger VW Touareg SUV and smaller VW Golf hatchback. The Tiguan's look has been updated ever so slightly for 2011, notably with a new grille. Other than this, the only substantive change for 2011 is the elimination of the Wolfsburg Edition trim level. All this suits us just fine, as the mix of European charm and engaging driving dynamics is what sets the Tiguan apart from the rest of the compact crossovers, not simply its styling.

At the same time, the 2011 VW Tiguan comes up slightly short in terms of space and utility. The Tiguan's passenger space is decidedly smaller, and luggage capacity behind the rear seat is substantially less than that of the 2011 Honda CR-V and 2011 Toyota RAV4. Even when the rear seat is folded down, the VW's maximum cargo space still comes up about 25 percent shy of its bigger Japanese competitors. Buyers who place a premium on pure utility would probably be better served by something else.

Buyers whose priorities are weighted toward quality and refinement, however, will find the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan a compelling proposition. Of course, even the Tiguan's mix of style and refinement now has been embraced by some of its competition, notably the 2011 Hyundai Tucson and 2011 Kia Sportage. The VW still has an edge when it comes to interior quality, but we think it best to check out all of the alternatives before saying "maybe" to the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact crossover SUV available in S, SE and SEL trim levels.

The base S model comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, eight-way manually adjustable front seats, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The SE adds 17-inch wheels, additional chrome exterior trim, foglights, a roof rack, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, heated washer nozzles, a power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, leatherette vinyl upholstery, a trip computer, a roof storage console and an upgraded touchscreen stereo with satellite radio and an iPod interface. Opting for the SE's Sunroof and Navigation package will get you 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.

The SEL includes all of the above plus adaptive bi-xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient interior lighting, a 12-way power driver seat with memory, keyless ignition and leather upholstery. Adding Premium Navigation to the SEL also includes a rearview camera. The SEL 4Motion with Premium Navigation and Dynaudio option rounds off the Tiguan with all-wheel drive and an eight-speaker premium Dynaudio sound system. Options for all Tiguan models include a trailer hitch, side steps, a ground-effects kit of body pieces and 19-inch wheels.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. All trim levels come standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional on the SE and SEL. A six-speed manual is standard on the Tiguan S, while a six-speed automatic is optional on the S and standard on the SE and SEL.

In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive SEL accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, which is about average for other crossovers in this class. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is again average at 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for both the front- and all-wheel-drive models with the automatic, while the S trim's standard manual is essentially the same at 19/26/22.


Standard equipment on the Tiguan includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags.

In Edmunds brake testing, the all-wheel-drive Tiguan 4Motion came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet -- an average performance. In government crash testing, the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan was awarded a perfect five stars in all front and side crash categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Tiguan one of its "Top Safety Picks" earning its best rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

As with most vehicles in the Volkswagen lineup, the 2011 Tiguan boasts a premium-style cabin that approaches Audi in its overall sense of quality. High-end materials, solid craftsmanship and even actual metal trim enhance the premium feel. Most controls are large and well placed, and the available navigation system sports a large screen and a simple interface.

Firm, well-shaped seats provide ample support whether you're logging lots of miles on a road trip or simply negotiating a freeway cloverleaf. The 60/40-split-folding rear seat has a cargo pass-through in the middle, so the Tiguan is adept at carrying cargo and passengers at the same time. The rear seat also slides fore and aft to improve either rear legroom or cargo space and the backrest also reclines.

With the rear seats positioned as far forward as they'll go, the Tiguan can accommodate 23.8 cubic feet of cargo. With the second-row seat folded down, maximum capacity jumps to 56.1 cubic feet, although this is about 17 cubic feet shy of the space afforded by the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 VW Tiguan might not have the most impressive acceleration in the segment, but the torquey power delivery of its turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes it feel lively around town or when passing slower vehicles. When cornering, the Tiguan feels confident and poised, absorbing ruts and bumps with ease. Over rough roads, its high-strength steel frame and heavy-duty dampers add an extra measure of durability.

For the most part, the 2011 Tiguan's electrically assisted steering feels very similar to a traditional hydraulic-assist setup. The steering effort starts light and builds to a moderate amount that won't tax even the skinniest of arms as speed increases. There's not much effort needed for the brake pedal either, as it delivers plenty of stopping power with a modest push.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 8 people found this review helpful

9 months old and outside

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Well this is irritating and one of the reasons I had reservations about buying a VW, weird little things breaking, knobs falling off, etc. I had a new Jetta in 1998 and my trips to the dealership for little things were endless, including the starter going ont within 6 months. I was assured all of these issues were taken care of, and obviously they're not. Once the door handle was in my hand (not on the car) I noticed that it is actually plastic. Plastic? Hmmmm. I should have kept my Jeep.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

First vw and my last

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan S 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I bought it new and liked it but it has been in for repairs 3 times in the 2 years I have had it. The first 2 times were under warranty, now I have to pay for this one ($741). When you buy a new car you just don't expect repair bills this early. I was very optimistic with my first VW, sadly I think they are junk as many people advised me.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

Best in class!!

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I normally read reviews, not write them but after noticing all the poor reviews the Tiguan has gotten lately I felt I owed the car some "REAL" opinions. We bought our Tiguan in May of 2011. I gotta admit, I thought it was just "OK" at first because after all it is my wifes car. We were replacing an 09 Honda Pilot EX-L because the Pilot was just too dang big. My wife wanted something smaller, and she seemed to always admire the VW. The Tuguan now has 6,200 miles on it and I couldn't be more impressed with the car! The engine is just absoultly amazing and a blast to drive. It seems like I found out soemthing new about the car everyday, truely amazing! just an absolute head-turner! Love it!!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Losing the love

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion SUV AWD w/Prem Nav, Dynaudio (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

When I first got my Tiguan, I really loved it. However, that is beginning to wear off. My biggest concern on buying a VW is slowly coming true. Electrical gremlins. All of these are intermittent issues so this is going to be fun with the dealer. The back lighting on the right side of the gauge cluster is out sometimes. The radio/nav has now frozen up about 10 different times. The keyless system is flaky. About one out of 10 start ups it says the key is out of range. About 50% of the time I cannot open the rear hatch with the key in my pocket.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Tiguan problems

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Purchased a Tiguan in Dec. and it has been in the Service dept. numerous times for a clunking sound. Have replaced front drive axle, then next trip complete transmission in which I waited 4 weeks for. Now car is back in shop again for clunking sound when putting in gear and no one can seem to find the issue. Sad to pay this much for a vehicle and this happens. Would not recommend this car until all the bugs have been taken care of.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive but will

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan S 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

We have leased our Tiguan for almost a year and it is a very fun car to drive - zippy, responsive, excellent in the snow. Our biggest complaint is the gas millage. Our 2003 Honda Pilot needs less refueling. Also, the cloth interior get messy very easily. It sounds like a petty complaint but the car always needs vacuuming. After four months we had an electrical issue that was covered under the warranty. It made me glad we leased, not purchased the car. The trunk is not big enough to hold a set of golf clubs. My husband finds the driver's seat uncomfortable. As far a styling goes, this is not a poor man's Audi A5 but a souped- up VW Golf.

Talk About The 2011 Tiguan

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan Discussions See all Started By

Carman: Is there an official release date yet for the updated 2011 Tiguan?...

Hi. I just brought home (finally!) my 2011 Tiguan SE 4Motion w/Sunroof and Nav a few days ago. First of all, I adore this vehicle!! I think it's gorgeous inside and out, especially in the Candy Whi...

Unfortunately it is quite common for drivers in this part of Canada to need a tow because they have slipped off the road into the ditch. My wife's brand new Tiguan Highline 4 Motion with 214 kms on it...

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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