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Used 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan SE SUV Review

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan SE SUV.

5 star(71%)
4 star(29%)
3 star(0%)
2 star(0%)
1 star(0%)
4.7 out of 5 stars
7 reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Quality Over Quantity
SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Smaller dimensions and my driving experience put the Tiguan in a class of its own. I enjoyed test driving the CX-5 and CR-V and while the Tiguan was not necessarily more athletic, the driving experience and interior felt a class above. This generation of the Tiguan is Volkswagen before the cost-cutting - not a volume seller, but it fills a niche for those wanting a premium feel without … the Audi markup, much like the Jetta used to be stepping stone to the A4 or 3-series. Cargo space is comparable to a hatch, smaller than other compact CUV's, but just as versatile as both. As a side-note, I would pick the Jetta over both if VW would just improve the interior quality. The Golf is a great car and is the smart choice for fuel efficiency, but the looks never grew on me so the Tiguan was a good alternative. Contrary to most reviews, the interior was actually larger and more airy than I expected. With both the front and back seats adjusted all the way back, there was plenty of legroom but it comes at the expense of less cargo space in the rear. Fuel economy is not a strong point, especially since I do mostly city driving, but the performance in my eyes is worth the trade off. Once the turbo kicks in it's hard not to smile and it feels very stable at high speeds or during bad weather. The steering is a little light at lower speeds but has great feel at higher speeds. The stereo on the SE (something often overlooked in reviews but important to me) is as good, or better, than top of the line systems in other brands. In my opinion, the upgraded Fender system is unnecessary. The good aside, I have to agree the driving position takes getting used to. The view is commanding, but the steering wheel and dash feel too high, and the armrests too low (I am 6'0). I personally like the firm seats. I would not, and did not pay MSRP for the Tiguan SE, especially since an all-new version will be available later this year. Reliability is unknown for me at this point, but in over 100k miles with my last Jetta 2.5 I had to do nothing but replace a battery. Hoping for the same experience here.
5 out of 5 stars
Best car ever
Susan Dillon,01/09/2018
SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Great car, this car does require premium gas and is slightly more in repairs but well worth the money.
5 out of 5 stars
Love bug!
Ruth Ann,08/08/2018
SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I have loved this car!! Electronics are intuitive, great on mountain roads( I live in the Sierra mtns) very comfortable, good visibility over all really fun car to drive. My only complaint is lousy gas mileage.
5 out of 5 stars
Agree with Reviewer Jason: Tiguan is Tops (for Me)
SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This is a sweet car. It is so stable on the road and, did I mention the acceleration. Man, you definitely feel that 200 HP. You will not have any problems merging or passing. GTI on stilts is an apt. description. The interior quality is great. The materials, the layout, the luxurious feel for a vehicle that costs under $18k lightly used. VW's have the best exterior quality of any … vehicle in any class IMHO, and that is true for the Tiguan as well. Love the knarly tires (17 inch). They probably have something to do with the low fuel economy. For me, though, the tradeoff is worth it. The driving experience--VWs for are people who LIKE to drive--is tops. Someone mentioned vehicle roll and there is some vehicle roll on turns. It's to be expected with any high-riding vehicle. Braking too is smooth like butter. They kick in at just the right rate. As another mentioned, the audio quality is superb with the standard equipment. The drawbacks have already been mentioned, fuel economy, limited cargo space. I don't have kids and am willing to invest a little more in fuel to enjoy the driving experience. So in my book, they are acceptable trade offs. Also, I would say that the steering, while precise and comfortable, does not quite give one much road feel. That is due to the "fly by wire" system. On maintenance and repair frequency and costs I cannot comment bc I have driven the vehicle less than 2,000 miles. There are some horror stories on here but I am hoping those are the small minority.

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan SE SUV

Pros & Cons

  • Taut yet compliant suspension tuning (except R-Line) gives the Tiguan a refined character
  • enthusiastic acceleration from the turbocharged engine
  • upscale interior materials and design
  • low levels of wind and road noise.
  • Not as much cargo space and rear legroom as rivals
  • mediocre fuel economy
  • subpar crash test results
  • no high-tech accident avoidance features available.

Full Edmunds Review: 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV

What’s new

For 2016, the Volkswagen Tiguan gains a few extra standard features, including heated front seats, V-Tex premium vinyl upholstery and keyless ignition and entry, at a lower MSRP. Every Tiguan also gets VW's latest touchscreen tech interface. But the R-Line trim has lost a few features and is now priced to slide in between the S and SE trim levels.

Edmunds says

If you want your compact crossover to be a rewarding driving machine, the Volkswagen Tiguan should hit the spot. It's not the newest or most spacious vehicle in its class, but it counters with confident, eager turbocharged power and an unusually composed driving feel. Let's find out if the Tiguan is your kind of SUV.

Vehicle overview

While Volkswagen plans to introduce a fully redesigned Tiguan next year, the 2016 Tiguan soldiers on in pretty much the same position that this generation has been in since its debut in 2009: as an outlier. The Tiguan stands in contrast to virtually every other compact crossover SUV by emphasizing refinement, performance and interior quality over utility, versatility and general family hauling activities.

With its peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan offers a little more excitement than most compact crossovers.

But while the 2016 VW Tiguan misses the mark for what most crossover shoppers are prioritizing, it nevertheless provides a lot of positive attributes. The seating position is high, seemingly higher, in fact, than many rivals, providing that tall, commanding view of the road ahead. Its smaller size, which is a detriment when trying to stuff in the contents of an overly exuberant Costco run, is a benefit when trying to maneuver in the parking lot during said Costco run. There's also a responsiveness and indisputable Germanic refinement to the Tiguan that makes it more pleasurable to drive than the typical small SUV. Hit the gas and the standard 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers energetic acceleration that's among the quickest in the segment.

For 2016, the Tiguan gets additional standard features, most notably the latest Volkswagen touchscreen interface that makes its way into a vehicle that to date has been far from the vanguard of infotainment features. At the same time, though, the Tiguan still doesn't offer the sort of high-tech accident avoidance features (such as forward collision and blind spot warning) that just about every other compact SUV has.

If you're considering a 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan, it will be a good idea to shop around. Among its compact crossover competitors, the Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5 come closest to the Tiguan's mix of refinement, driving fun and punchy power while also providing superior space, safety and fuel economy. Against these exceptional small crossovers, the VW Tiguan is hard to fully recommend.

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan models

The 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact crossover SUV that seats five people. It is available in S, R-Line, SE and SEL trim levels.

Standard equipment on the Tiguan S includes 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, heated mirrors, automatic headlights and wipers, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, heated front seats, a manual height-adjustable driver seat (with power recline), a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a sliding and reclining backseat, V-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, a rearview camera, a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack, a USB port and a media player interface.

The 2016 Tiguan gets a much-needed update to its touchscreen interface.

The R-Line adds foglights, additional power driver seat adjustments including power lumbar, a power reclining front passenger seat, a 6.3-inch touchscreen, VW Car-Net smartphone connectivity and emergency communications and satellite radio. It also includes special performance and styling elements that include 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, special "R-Line" styling flourishes and a sport steering wheel with transmission paddle shifters.

The SE does without the R-Line's performance and styling elements, but builds upon its other equipment with 18-inch wheels, LED running lights, a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.

The SEL adds its own 19-inch wheels, power-folding mirrors, an enhanced rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, driver seat memory functions, additional passenger seat adjustability including power lumbar, leather upholstery and an eight-speaker Fender audio system.

A trailer hitch is the only option available. 

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan is only available with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing, a front-wheel-drive Tiguan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, which is a quick time for a compact crossover.


The Tiguan comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. Unlike most competitors, there are no accident avoidance technology features available. VW Car-Net Safety and Security is standard on the R-Line and above, and includes automatic crash notification, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers).

In government crash testing, the Tiguan received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with three stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Tiguan its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength crash tests, but in the small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Tiguan received a "Marginal" rating (second worst of four).

In Edmunds brake testing, a Tiguan R-Line came to a stop from 60 mph in a disappointing 130 feet, which is several feet longer than the class average.


We're impressed by the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan's 200-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It's powerful in just about any situation, and its six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quickly. The trouble is, it's the only engine available. We're guessing many shoppers would happily trade some of its power for fuel economy figures closer to those of base four-cylinders offered by its rivals.

The standard Tiguan feels secure when you're driving around turns, but not particularly athletic. Still, there's plenty of poise, which is remarkable given how smoothly and quietly this VW rides. The R-Line upsets that equilibrium a bit, thanks to firmer suspension tuning and larger wheels that transmit additional impact harshness into the cabin. In general, though, the Tiguan provides an enjoyable driving experience.


Even with the addition of new touchscreen interfaces for 2016, the Volkswagen Tiguan doesn't exactly look like the latest and greatest when you drop yourself into the cabin. It definitely lacks the contemporary looks of competitors, but to be fair it's still attractive and restrained in that classic German way, with materials quality and construction that are first-rate. You also sit pleasingly high and upright in the firm, supportive front seats, which should satisfy those searching for that tall, commanding view of the road ahead.

While the Tiguan's interior is pretty sedate, it is certainly functional, and controls are logically placed.

There is an abundance of headroom all around, but rear occupants will find their legs a little more pinched (especially with taller folks up front) than they would in most rivals. The reclining rear seat is certainly welcome, though, as is its sliding functionality that allows you to bring kids a little closer to the front or free up more cargo space.

That last bit is key, though, since there isn't that much cargo space available for the segment. Even with the seats slid forward, there are only 23.8 cubic feet available -- an average-sized competitor like the Mazda CX-5 has 34. Putting the rear seats down yields only 56.1 cubic feet, making it one of the smallest compact crossovers. It's barely more capacious than subcompact SUVs like the Jeep Renegade.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan in Virginia is:

not available