2016 Volkswagen Tiguan SPosted on March 23rd, 2016
Sporty compact crossover
By Nina Russin
With new compact crossovers flooding the market, it’s easy for models to get lost in the crowd. A few, however, stand out: among them the Volkswagen Tiguan. Volkswagen’s talent for engineering fun-to-drive cars is the reason. With its peppy two-liter turbocharged engine, the Tiguan appeals to both the practical and emotional sides of vehicle ownership.
The test car is the front-wheel drive Tiguan S, priced from $24,890. Standard convenience features include 18-inch alloy rims, automatic headlamps with daytime running lamps, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth interface, folding and reclining rear seats, keyless entry with push-buttons start, rearview camera and eight-speaker audio system.
Final MSRP including the $855 destination charge is $25,755.
Test drive in Phoenix
Over the past week I drove the Tiguan throughout Phoenix, Arizona’s east valley as well as on a rural road through the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. I had the opportunity to test the Tiguan in rush-hour traffic, load up the cargo area and see how well the car handled moderate changes in altitude.
The Tiguan’s turbocharged engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s a nice pairing, with the transmission delivering seamless, linear shifts throughout the power band. The turbocharger gives the engine great power on the low end, with peak torque available from 1700 rpm. I heard what sounded like lifter tick which is odd since the engine has hydraulic lifters, but didn’t find the noise bothersome. Volkswagen recommends but does not require premium unleaded gasoline for optimum performance.
The electric power steering system is very well tuned, with on-center performance close to a hydraulic unit. There is none of the numb feeling competitive units seem to suffer from. A 39-foot turning circle makes it possible to perform U-turns on wider surface roads.
Construction on some stretches of rural road prevented me from pushing the Tiguan as hard as I would have liked. Having said that, I noticed no tendency for the front-wheel drive platform to push in the corners. Drivers living in four-season climates can opt for all-wheel drive to improve traction on wet roads.
A four-wheel independent suspension consists of struts and coils mounted to an aluminum subframe up front and a four-link system in the rear. The suspension does a good job of absorbing jousts from pitchy hills and off-camber turns without feeling overly harsh. Large vented disc brakes up front and solid rotors in back provide firm, linear stopping power.
The Tiguan’s versatile interior with fold-flat and reclining rear seats makes it a good choice for buyers with active lifestyles. Keyless entry and start is an unusual feature in vehicles in this price range. I found manual driver’s seat adjustments easy to use, with good lower lumbar support.
The center stack screen is on the small side but I was able to clearly see the rearview camera image. Infotainment controls are easy to reach from both front seating positions and intuitive to operate. It’s a bit of a disappointment that the Tiguan does not come with satellite radio even though owners can use their smart phones to extend listening options.
Leatherette upholstery is attractive, though I would prefer cloth living in an area where hot summers can make it uncomfortable. The heated front seats were another nice surprise for our cooler mornings at this time of year.
The Tiguan’s low lift-over height makes it easy for smaller drivers to load up the back with bicycles, camping equipment and other large cargo.
The Volkswagen Tiguan comes with six airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, tire pressure monitoring and daytime running lamps. Intelligent crash response automatically shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard lamps after a serious collision.
Volkswagen builds the Tiguan at its Wolfsburg, Germany assembly plant.
Like: An affordable, fun-to-drive compact crossover with available all-wheel drive for good four season performance.
Dislike: Satellite radio is not standard equipment. Cloth upholstery is not available on the base model.
Model: Tiguan S
Base price: $24,890
As tested: $25,755
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/highway2016, Best Value 2016, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, performance, pricing, standard safety, Volkswagen