2014 Volkswagen Tiguan SEPosted on March 10th, 2014
Sporty five-passenger crossover
By Nina Russin
Of the two crossover vehicles in Volkswagen’s lineup, the midsized Tiguan is my favorite. Powered by the same turbocharged two-liter engine as the GTI, it’s a hoot to drive. Turbocharging minimizes parasitic power loss at altitude, making the Tiguan a good choice for mountain denizens.
A six-speed automatic transmission with two overdrive gears extends fuel economy on the front-wheel drive version up to 26 mpg on the highway. Those who prefer a manual gearbox can find one on the base model.
Base price for the upscale SE model tested is $29,620, excluding the $865 destination charge. Standard comfort and convenience features on the test car include 18-inch alloy wheels, touchscreen with rearview backup camera, Bluetooth interface, keyless access with push button start, leatherette seating, electronic parking brake, cruise control, air conditioning, fog lamps and roof rails.
New for 2014 is a complimentary subscription to VW Car-Net: service includes crash notification, roadside assistance and stolen vehicle location. Final MSRP is $29,620.
Performance meets versatility
There are a lot of midsized crossovers that offer sporty performance and an equal number with versatile interiors. Much smaller is the group that combines the two, meeting the needs of buyers with active lifestyles as well as driving enthusiasts. The Tiguan is part of that elite group.
Acceleration off the line is robust. The four-cylinder engine reaches peak torque of 207 foot-pounds as low as 1700 rpm. That’s important for commuters trying to weave through lines on highway entrance ramps.
Because of the turbocharger, the manufacturer recommends but does not require premium fuel.
The six-speed automatic transmission shifts crisply, with no noticeable shift shock during normal driving conditions. Drivers who upgrade with the R-Line package add formula-style paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The four-wheel independent suspension is mounted to a lightweight aluminum subframe up front and high strength steel subframe in the rear. The idea is to minimize weight gain near the front transaxle, but make the available all-wheel drive version robust enough to handle uneven trail surfaces.
The electric power assist rack-and-pinion steering system is, in this writer’s opinion, one of the better units on the market. Enhancing torsional rigidity throughout the car body has translated to decent on-center response. A 39-foot turning circle isn’t bad for a car with a 102.5-inch wheelbase and large wheels. I was able to perform a U-turn on a four-lane surface street in downtown Phoenix.
Ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes stop the Tiguan in firm, linear fashion.
Engineers did a good job minimizing wind, engine and road noise intrusion to the passenger cabin. Passengers in both rows should have no problems conversing on the highway.
The Tiguan holds up to five passengers, although four adults will be more comfortable on longer road trips. Keyless entry and start on the test car saves the driver from fumbling for the key fob to open the door and fire the ignition.
I found the driver’s seat comfortable with enough lower lumbar support for drives up to about two hours. The center stack screen and digital display are easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions.
The rearview camera eliminates blind spots in the back corners and underneath the rear glass. The camera also makes it easier to monitor cross traffic in parking lots.
The rear seat folds flat in a 40/20/40 pattern, enabling the owner to load in some long cargo such as skis or a snowboard and still have room for two rear passengers.
Lift-over height for the cargo area is pretty low, making it easier for smaller people to load large items in the back. With the second-row seats folded flat, the Tiguan meets our bicycle-friendly standards. Roof rails on the test car enable the owner to add an additional cargo carrier up top.
The 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan received a four-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Standard safety features include front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, daytime running lamps and tire pressure monitoring.
The factory warranty includes three years of roadside assistance and complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first two years of ownership.
Volkswagen builds the Tiguan at its Wolfsburg, Germany assembly plant.
Like: A versatile midsized sport-utility vehicle that is versatile enough to meet the cargo carrying needs of buyers with active lifestyles, but is also fun to drive.
Model: Tiguan SE with Appearance Package
Base price: $29,620
As tested: $30,485
Horsepower: 200 Hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque: 207 lbs.-ft. @ 1700 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 21/26 mpg city/highway2014, Best Value 2014, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, performance, pricing, standard safety, Volkswagen
Leave a reply