2015 Tiguan New Car Test Drive
Designed for an active sporty lifestyle, the Volkswagen Tiguan delivers excellent performance on the road or over rugged terrain. The rear seat folds 40/20/40, creating cargo possibilities galore, and the standard tow hitch prep takes an available attachment that holds four bicycles. With a 2200-pound towing capacity, the Tiguan can pull a small boat.
Tiguan styling was revised for 2012, sleeker than before, while maintaining the Volkswagen family resemblance. In fact, if you look at a picture of all Volkswagens made, the noses all look the same: a smooth horizontal line of grille and headlamps, which stretches into a small smile. Each Tiguan added an electronic parking brake and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel for 2013.
For 2014, trim levels and options have been altered a bit. A new R-Line exterior and interior package is available, comparable to R-Line editions of the Beetle, CC and Touareg. The Fender premium audio system is now available for lower trim levels. Also new for 2014 is a six-month, no-charge trial of VW Car-Net connected services, included on the SE trim level and above. Car-Net security/convenience features o include automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, and stolen vehicle location assistance, as well as remote vehicle access and boundary/speed alerts. A vehicle health report also is part of the service.
All 2014 Tiguan models use a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direct injection and variable valve timing. This engine has been around a long time and it's brilliant, now making 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque at a low 1700 rpm. Either a manual or automatic transmission may be installed, with front-wheel drive or 4Motion all-wheel drive.
We found acceleration snappy and silky. The engine is smooth and silent at high speeds, where the chassis remains stable. In the Tiguan, 80 miles per hour feels like 60 mph. In fact, it's the smoothest four-cylinder we can think of. The Tiguan SE delivers a nice balance between smooth ride quality and stability at high speeds. Volkswagen says Tiguan is the GTI of compact SUVs.
Tiguan comes standard with front-wheel drive, but we highly recommend opting for the excellent 4Motion all-wheel drive.
Fuel mileage is decent, earning an EPA-estimated 21/26 mpg City/Highway with front-drive, 20/26 with AWD. Manual shift drops the estimate to 18/26 mpg City/Highway. Economy is helped by a tall sixth-gear ratio in the 6-speed automatic transmission, and relatively low-rpm shift points. We got 22.7 mpg running the Tiguan hard on the freeway, and easy around town.
The instrumentation is beautiful, and the clarity and simplicity of the touch screen and controls is outstanding. The interior materials are of a high quality, especially the V-Tex leatherette, which we couldn't tell from real leather. We recommend the optional Navigation system for its clarity and ease of use.
Volkswagen Tiguan's main rivals are the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4.
In addition to about 400 miles on the road, we drove the Tiguan at an event in the Northwest called Mudfest, where it competed in the compact SUV class against a Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mini Countryman, Nissan Juke, and Subaru Impreza. The CX-5 won overall, but the Tiguan proved superior on the autocross course with its wonderful handling, and out on the highway with its smoothness at high speed. In the mud, with the Tiguan's 4Motion all-wheel drive, only the sporty Mazda CX-5 could keep up.
The 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan comes in four models. All use the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. All use a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual mode except the base Tiguan S, which offers a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic without manual mode. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available on all models.
Tiguan S comes with a 6-speed manual transmission ($22,995) or 6-speed automatic without manual mode that includes alloy wheels ($25,020). Tiguan S 4Motion ($26,975) includes all-wheel drive the 6-speed automatic and alloy wheels. Tiguan S comes standard with cloth upholstery, reclining front seats with driver's lumbar adjustment, 40/20/40 folding rear seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, intermittent wipers, eight-speaker sound system with in-dash CD player, electronic parking brake, heated mirrors, cruise control, 16-inch wheels, and tow hitch preparation.
Tiguan SE ($26,995) and SE 4Motion ($28,950) include with the 6-speed automatic with manual mode, leatherette seating, an 8-way power driver's seat with recline, heated front seats, privacy glass, heated windshield washer nozzles, Car-Net services, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The SE Appearance edition ($29,620) adds 18-inch wheels, SiriusXM satellite radio, touchscreen Premium radio, power-reclining front seats, fog and cornering lights, a rearview camera, keyless entry with pushbutton start, and silver-color roof rails; SE Appearance edition is available with 4Motion all-wheel drive ($31,575).
Tiguan SEL ($32,670) and SEL 4Motion ($34,625) come with the panoramic sunroof and navigation, automatic climate control, and Fender premium audio.
Tiguan R-Line ($36,535) and R-Line 4Motion ($38,490) feature a sports suspension with 19-inch alloy wheels, leather seating surfaces, chrome interior accents, power front seats with power lumbar and memory for the driver, intermittent wipers with rain sensor, auto-dimming mirror, power folding heated outside mirrors, bi-xenon headlights with AFS, LED daytime running lights, low-beam assist, coming-home function.
Safety equipment includes frontal and side-thorax airbags, curtain airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitor. Volkswagen's Intelligent Crash Response System automatically shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard warning lights if the vehicle is involved in certain types of collisions. Optional all-wheel drive can enhance handling stability in slippery conditions.