Volkswagen Tiguan Review

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan 4dr SUV Exterior

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The Volkswagen Tiguan is a late arrival to the compact crossover SUV market. While many competitors already have established small SUV models in their lineups, VW is hoping the Tiguan will lure customers away from a range of other options that have traditionally been somewhat bland. The Tiguan comes in both front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive versions and is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

The Tiguan's name will certainly attract attention. A figment of the VW marketing department's imagination, we're told it's a marriage of "tiger" and "iguana." This mammalian reptile is built on the same chassis as the Jetta and Golf. To keep the small SUV from looking like a hopped-up version of the latter, the Tiguan uses styling elements similar to VW's larger SUV, the Touareg, which gives the Tiguan a look that's both more aggressive and more upscale than its competitors. The downside, however, is that the Tiguan comes with slightly less space -- and a higher price tag.

Current Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan is a four-door, five-passenger compact crossover. It's powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that generates 200 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. The base front-wheel-drive version comes with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, but all others are automatic-only. All-wheel drive can be specified on all but the base Tiguan.

Four trim levels are available: base S, LE, SE and SEL. All come standard with a generous number of features, including full power accessories, an auxiliary audio jack, a CD player, cruise control and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. Moving up to the top trims adds features such as keyless ignition/entry, xenon headlamps, heated seats, leather seating and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags. Options include rear side airbags, a towing package, a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.

In reviews, we've noted that the Volkswagen Tiguan stands apart thanks to its sleek European design and high-quality interior. Controls are large and well-placed, and the cabin is adorned with genuine aluminum trim. These virtues are matched with equally solid driving dynamics. Unfortunately, the Tiguan lacks the cargo space of some of its competitors. With 16.6 cubic feet in the rear, the Tiguan offers about the same amount of space as a large family sedan. With the second row folded down, maximum capacity measures 56.1 cubic feet, which is well shy of class leaders such as the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. The Tiguan can also command a hefty price premium over other compact utes.

Used Volkswagen Tiguan Models
The Volkswagen Tiguan was introduced for 2009. It hasn't changed much since, though these 2009-'11 models lack the current model's updated front end styling, added LE trim level and slightly improved fuel economy. For 2010 only, VW offered a Wolfsburg Edition, which had unique 17-inch alloy wheels, special badges and leatherette vinyl upholstery.

Read the most recent 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Volkswagen Tiguan page.

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