Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 2.0L I4
Power:
200 HP / 207 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,591 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
23.8 / 56.1 CU-FT
MPG:
20 City / 26 HWY
Base Price:
$37,400
As Tested Price:
$39,625
The Tiguan pledged Volkswagen's R-Line fraternity way back in 2008, survived the hazing and humiliation to become a certified member of the ancient German trim-package society (by "ancient," we mean 10 years old). The 2014 Tiguan R-Line is the scion of that first-generation compact crossover and joins the Touareg, Beetle and CC in the brotherhood.

What it provides is better looks for the same heart: every Tiguan carries a 2.0-liter four-cylinder TSI engine up front, turbocharged and intercooled, sending the same 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet either to the front wheels or to all four via a Haldex-clutch-equipped 4Motion system. Volkswagen touts the option of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, but such buyer discretion only applies to the front-wheel-drive model. If you want 4Motion, you have to get the automatic, and the R-Line cannot be had with a manual. Both FWD and AWD models are rated at 26 highway miles per gallon, but in the city, the manual FWD returns 18 mpg, the automatic FWD gets 21 mpg and the AWD gets 20 mpg – none of which is terribly pleasing for a compact crossover, particularly when premium fuel is recommended.

Driving Notes
  • On the outside, beyond the badging, R-Line spotters will take note of body-color side skirts, black wheel arch extensions, a roof spoiler, HID headlamps and power folding side mirrors.
  • R-Line interior extras include leather seating surfaces and power front seats along with a flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, stainless steel pedals and aluminum sill plates. The interior is a premium VW affair with leather that exudes all the right vibes and everything else feeling soft to the touch. The choice materials and two-tone instrument panel overcome the minimalism of the center console and the huge sunroof keeping the cabin bright. A very nice Fender audio system is standard, and so is a trial of Volkswagen's new Car-Net connected services suite (the People's Car version of OnStar).
  • VW charges the Tiguan with "putting the 'Sport' in SUV," crediting it with having the soul of the GTI (but not the same heart), and we didn't scoff at the bombast after a couple of hours behind the wheel. As we mentioned in our recent First Drive of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee – even though we drove the Tiguan before it – there are crossovers that are finally and truly delivering on the promise of a car-like ride, the Tiguan R-Line being a prime example. We threw it at the same scrunched-up Sonoma Valley curves we had just tackled in a base-trim 2014 Jetta with the new 1.8-liter base engine. The 115-hp Jetta got a gold star for being capable and fun, but the compact crossover that looks like a big shoe is a perfect hoot to drive.
  • It's almost always mentioned that the R-line doesn't add more horsepower, but few mention that in applications like the Tiguan, the R-Line can do more with its power - it has larger 19-inch wheels wearing 255/40 R19 Pirelli Scorpions (versus 17- or 18- inch wheels on less aggressive rubber) and a firmer, sport suspension tune means it isn't only about appearance. Plus, the Tiguan R-Line is the only trim to get shift paddles on its steering wheel.
  • Yet we almost never touched the paddles. That 207 lb-ft of warthog grunt comes on from 1,700 rpm, same as the 200 hp, and the six-speed transmission didn't need help knowing where to be in the rev range when called to attention. With 4Motion all-wheel drive there for the assist – the Haldex center diff can move almost 100-percent of the torque to the rear wheels, during acceleration, for instance – they easily get the 3,591-pound crossover connecting one uphill ess to the next, that firmer suspension and those Scorpions taking over to get one through those corners as wished. On milder runs at highway speeds, the cabin is quiet and composed, and the staccato flow of urban drive is like being in a VW sedan with a booster seat.
  • For 2014, there are five Tiguan trims, with a healthy price climb from bottom to top. The base S starts at $22,995 and the range-topping R-Line begins at $36,535, or $37,400 after you add $865 for destination. Check the 4Motion box and you're at $39,355. The Tiguan we drove had been optioned up to $39,625 with the addition of four Monster Mats, a trunk liner and a first aid kit. That's more money than a base Audi Q5 with the same engine.
  • A quick run through a few configurators put the Tiguan at about $1,400 more than a similarly equipped Chevrolet Equinox, about $3,700 more than a Ford Escape and roughly $7,000 more than a Mazda CX-5 – the first two of those being among the eight vehicles VW lists in the Tiguan's competitive set. All of them have more headroom, legroom and cargo space than the Volkswagen. They are also all down on power compared to the Tiguan, in some cases quite a bit down, and only the Mazda can come close to the driving experience. But the competitors (in four-cylinder guise) do get better gas mileage on less-costly regular fuel. If you don't need the R-Line features, the SEL trim omits the look-faster and turn harder kit and provides an instant $4,000 discount with an MSRP of $32,670. It will take more than that to explain the huge disparity in sales between the Tiguan and its competitors, of course.
  • The Tiguan – any Tiguan, but especially the R-line – strikes us as a lifestyle choice in a segment guarded by the twin sentinels of Practicality and Value, those watchmen ready to disembowel the sales of non-conforming competition. Remember when the Internet's circuit boards glowed red because of enthusiasts raging at the 'dumbing down' of the 2011 Jetta, livid that VW acceded to market dictates and unveiled a vehicle that was a far better competitor for a segment also guarded – even more intensely – by practicality and value? The Jetta has sold in five-digit quantities every month since that happened, something that could not be said of it before. In fact, its sales are still climbing two years after it hit the market. The Tiguan, meanwhile, remains representative of the VW that demands premium money for a premium product no matter the trim and no matter the segment, and it has sold more than 3,000 units in a single month only once since January 2010. As a lifestyle proposition, though, the Tiguan R-Line is a good one; it's slightly smaller and less frugal, but it's good looking, more powerful, nicer inside and a lot more fun to drive than most of its rivals.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is nearly twice the price it should be. Who would buy this at that price?
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe AB should do a comparison test - even if on paper - of this Tiguan R-Line and the Audi Q5. If they have the same engine and price points, what is your bang for the buck? Is the Q5 worth the extra cash? We keep hearing complaints about how Lincoln uses so many Ford parts, but Audi does the same with VW. The difference, I think, is Audi does a much better job of hiding that fact. Still though, a comparison would be interesting.
        Matt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Q5 doesn't have the same engine; Q5 has the 2.0 TFSI, Tiguan has the 2.0 TSI. The difference is about 50 ft-lb of torque and vastly better fuel economy on the TFSI. This fact alone makes the Tiguan look awful compared to the Q5 which is a much nicer car and starts less than the price of this R-line.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          [blocked]
        GoSpeedRacerGo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Tiguan and Q3 are on the same platform, not the Q5.
      Boredinmin
      • 1 Year Ago
      An R-Line with out a power bump?! Nearly $40k for 200 hp?!?! I don't understand. Why do manufacturers do this?
        Dayv
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Boredinmin
        Until the full Turbo Beetle selection was rebranded as R-Line, R-Line never offered a power bump. It's not "R", it's "R-Line".
      Dustin L Wright
      • 1 Year Ago
      I sold VW for a year and these things are the most over-priced over-hyped, underwhelming thing they sell. The auto transmission cannot make up it's mind on what gear to be in. It'll be in 6th gear in cruising but if you put any amount of pressure on the gas pedal it has to shift and search for a gear and has to shift to 3rd for any acceleration. The ride from the back seat is horrendous. It's similar to riding in the bed of a truck on a rough trail. I can't believe people are willing to spend that much for this thing. I wouldn't spend over $28,000 for the most loaded model. By far my least favorite VW
      Dfelix70
      • 1 Year Ago
      The 220hp Q5 starts at $37k. VW is asking how much for this small ugly thing on 4 wheels? Someone over at VW needs to lay off the crack pipe for a bit.
      Lucky Stars
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can buy a base Range Rover Evoque for 42,000 ( I will be buying one that beats this in every single thing out there) 40k for a loaded tiguan? This is suppose to be a budget small type of cuv not a luxury thing. So fail in almost every way. If you want a luxury small cuv you can get an X1 for this money!! Now I am so glad their is the Range Rover Evoque if you want or need a smaller luxury cuv this is the only one I can look at every day and be proud. The rest look like shoes X1, x3, glk etc or dinner rolls q5, q7, chevy etc
        krn0961
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lucky Stars
        I recently got a 2014 Tiguan SEL w/4motion. Sticker was 35K with Nav, Automatic climate, Fender audio, Sirius Radio, giant sunroof, heated seats. I test drove the Evoque as well and serious considered because I loved the look. But the $42K you quote is for the PURE model. In order to get Nav and sunroof you must get the PURE PLUS with Premium. Sirius and heated seats are still extra. Add in $500-900 for metallic paint and you are at $48K. On top of that, the sunroof is fixed glass and doesn't open. I drove them back to back and they drive VERY similarly. Although the Evoque was a tad more refined, it wasn't $12K more and the seats in the Tiguan were more comfortable for me. The Tiguan's sunroof goes all the way to the back of the rear seats (like the Evoque), but the opening is huge; like being in a convertible. Most owner forums I've read love their Tiguan w/no reliability issues.
          bruceyboy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @krn0961
          Pay absolutely no mind to folks who say they could buy a "base" this or "base" ... A lot of folks make that useless comment ...
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW CRV.
        Shiftright
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        But with much less of the reliability...and the resale value...$40k? Seriously?
      Karl
      • 11 Months Ago
      Just purchased the TIGUAN S- Line, and would like to get the body skirts with the chrome piece included, as on the R-LINE, but cannot locate it anywhere. Can someone help?
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW CRV.
      Obe Dan
      • 3 Months Ago

      I owned this R-Line Tiguan and its disappointing. Pricey for a small SUV car, the ride is literally bumpy thou on a smooth road, airbag issue (after only 2 months no-joy-ride airbag lights on, Why?), wheels are 18 and not 19 as told by VW car dealer in my country (liers). After owning it since April 2014, I rate this car 6/10. Beautiful about R-Line, it is amazingly a fast car. Will sell it soon. I should have think buying Rang Rover Evoque or Mini Cooper S Countryman.

      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOL, $39K plus for a Tiguan.
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      200HP, called R-Line and costs 40K.............................FAIL.
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