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 …
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