In general style and purpose, the Tiguan is a pint-sized version of VW’s SUV Touareg. But beyond their similar shape and difficult-to-pronounce names, the Tiguan is a far more economical and enjoyable ride choice for potential crossover buyers.
Although it uses Volkswagen’s 4MOTION four-wheel-drive system, it is hard to imagine using the Tiguan in anything but the most mild of off-road situations. Let’s say a gravel road. That is a purposeful decision by VW to appeal more to urban dwellers who may want a bit more size than a car but still want decent gas mileage. With that in mind, the Tiguan uses a 200 horsepower 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder with either a six-speed manual or Direct Shift Gearbox automatic that achieves a fuel economy rating of 26 mpg. At some point, VW is also planning to build a TDI Tiguan form their cleaner burning BLUETEC diesel line of engines. Though the diesel reportedly takes a while to reach 60 mph (nearly nine seconds), it does return an estimated 34 mpg in fuel economy, which would have to be an increasingly attractive option.
Volkswagen’s goal of providing a higher level of refinement in the lower-end models of its lineup is fully on display with the Tiguan. The available radio navigation system includes a 6.5-inch wide touch-screen color display and an internal 30GB hard disk to manage navigation, telephone, rear-view camera, radio, CD and MP3 players. For deep off-road adventures, the navigation system is able to record waypoints and tracks off the digitized map, allowing drivers to orient themselves and easily find their way back home. The Tiguan will also be the first SUV to offer automatic Park Assist, which automatically steers the SUV into a parking space. Other options include a “Sport & Style” package that comes with electromechanical steering and an electronic parking brake, two different wheel packages, a panoramic sunroof and an eight-speaker 300-watt audio system. The quality of materials and fit and finish of the interior is commonly compared to the much more expensive BMW X3. This is a direct result of Volkswagen’s attention to, as odd as it sounds, plastic quality. No, not all plastic is created equal. From the seats to the ergonomics of the dash and controls, the same attention to VW’s other vehicles has been given to the Tiguan. Prices for the Tiguan range between $24,300 to $32,940, nearly 7 grand less than base model Touaregs even for the most highly equipped versions. The Tiguan more than rewards those that can sacrifice a bit of space and offroading capability.