VW Tiguan

By David Goodspeed

The compact crossover utility segment is crowded, almost to the point where so many competitors get overlooked to due to shopper fatigue. When Volkswagen of America launched its entry into the segment a few years ago they sought to bring a little fun – Fahrvergnügen if you will – in the form of the Tiguan.

Staying true to Volkswagen’s autobahn heritage, the Tiguan is truly the “GTI of compact sport utility vehicles,” as it sought to bring new standards of design aesthetics, driving dynamics, safety features, and a host of luxury and convenience attributes to an emerging category.

For a mid-cycle refresh, VW gave the Tiguan a new front and rear fascia for 2012 along with some impressive 19-inch running gear, rare for the compact segment.

Tiguan features the “fun to drive” handling and performance expected from a Volkswagen. A standard 2.0L TSI engine delivers turbocharged acceleration while still delivering respectable fuel efficiency. Its award-winning turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant delivers 200 horsepower and 207 lb. ft of torque to the tune of 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. The combination of four valves per cylinder, direct fuel injection, and turbocharging delivers an optimum balance of power and economy.

European-tuned suspension enables connected handling, while also providing a smooth and compliant ride. Both front- and 4Motion all-wheel-drive is available to suit any weather or road condition. Tiguan also is unique in the category by offering a choice of either six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission options.

The VW “cute ute” arrives with a host of safety equipment and received a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Front and side impact airbags are standard all around as are side curtain airbags covering front and rear passengers and standard safety technologies include electronic stability control, anti-slip regulation, ABS, and tire pressure monitor system along with the Volkswagen Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off fuel, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard warning lights in the event of certain type collisions.

Tiguan was designed with driver and passenger convenience in mind. Flexible seating, with reclining rear seats with six inches of fore and aft travel, allow for additional legroom or cargo space depending on individual needs. The front passenger seat also folds flat for carrying longer objects. The interior also includes various clips and storage bins ensuring safe space for all types of items that travel in the vehicle.

On the technology front, Tiguan features an available state of the art navigation system, combining a sophisticated radio with a precise touch screen navigation system and easy to use map views through its 6.5-inch high resolution wide-screen display. The system includes a 30GB hard drive to store map data and audio files that can be brought into the device via the optical drive or SD card slot and features voice control.

Tiguan is available in four trim levels, S, LE, SE, and SEL with pricing starting at $22,840.

Our recent tester was the Tiguan SEL 4Motion with premium nav and audio systems and came rolling in at $38,600. Fahrvergnügen never felt so good in the compact utility segment.