The Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact SUV designed to offer carlike ride and handling. Tiguan's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is shared with the sporty Volkswagen GTI, and it's more powerful than the engines offered in most compact SUVs. The Tiguan has ready power for everyday needs and worry-free passing. Fuel economy is average for the class, which is better than most SUVs, but not as good as your average car.
Tiguan is available with 4Motion all-wheel drive, a big advantage for driving in northern climates.
It comes with six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shiftgate that adds a sporty character. Drivers who want to shift their own gears can choose the six-speed manual transmission, an unusual offering for the class.
Behind the wheel, the Tiguan offers a carlike and somewhat sporty driving experience. Handling is sharp for a crossover SUV, with manageable lean in turns, communicative but not overly quick steering, and good brake pedal feel. Ride quality is quite good. Small bumps are barely noticed, but the Tiguan can react harshly to sharp bumps, especially with the available 18-inch wheels.
Like other Volkswagens, the Tiguan exists somewhere between standard line and luxury. Inside, it has a lot of soft-touch materials and the general feel is of quality. A navigation system with a hard-drive radio and rearview camera is offered, and the top-line SEL has an attractive leather interior. The controls are clear and easy to use, and there are lots of little nooks for small items storage. Getting in and out is easy, and road and engine noise are kept to a minimum.
Front seat room is plentiful, and the driver's seat offers comfort and a good view to all corners. The rear seats move forward and aft up to six inches, allowing drivers to optimize the Tiguan for either rear cargo room or rear passenger comfort. Fully back, the rear seats have lots of room, but cargo room suffers. With the rear seats folded down, the Tiguan has a nice rear cargo area, but it is small for the class.
Tiguan was all-new for 2009, and there are few changes for 2010. A new Wolfsburg Edition replaces the previous SE.
Buyers looking for a comfortable small SUV should give the Tiguan a look. It is sporty for the class, with a fine engine and a smooth ride. The interior is a pleasant place to be, and, like all SUVs, it can haul cargo. Just be careful about which model and options you choose, because pricing for the top-line model gets into the luxury realm.