Vehicle Overview

Volkswagen's answer to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 compact SUVs, the five-seat Tiguan is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and is available with front- or all-wheel drive. It's offered in S, SE and SEL trim levels.

Despite a lower starting price for 2012, high-end Tiguans can still get pricey. A loaded SEL with the optional navigation system is nearly $39,000, putting it in competition with compact luxury SUVs like the Acura RDX and Land Rover LR2.

New for 2012
The Tiguan gains new front and rear styling that help align its appearance with Volkswagen's recently redesigned models. Newly available bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights incorporate LED daytime running lamps. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are available as well.

EPA-estimated gas mileage has improved by 2 mpg in combined driving on automatic-transmission Tiguans. The six-speed automatic gains a second overdrive gear to lower engine speed when cruising. It also shifts sooner when not in Sport mode, and the engine idle speed is lower.

Exterior
The Tiguan looks like a smaller version of VW's Touareg midsize SUV until you step around back, where it more closely resembles the rear end of a Golf hatchback. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 16-inch steel wheels; 16-, 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels available
  • Standard rear spoiler
  • Available fog lights
  • Available panoramic sunroof

Interior
The Tiguan has a well-designed interior with high-quality materials, including brushed-metal-style trim around the gear selector and air vents. The rear seat can slide up to 6 inches to increase cargo room, and the seatback also reclines. S models feature new black-colored cloth seat fabric; the SE has simulated leather upholstery; and the SEL gets real leather. Interior features include:

  • Standard 60/40-split backseat with fore/aft and backrest angle adjustments
  • Standard Bluetooth connectivity
  • Standard flat-folding front-passenger seat
  • Available heated front seats
  • Available iPod connectivity
  • Available push-button start
  • Available navigation system
  • Available Dynaudio premium stereo

Under the Hood
A 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard. A six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic transmission are offered. Mechanical features include:

  • Premium gas recommended
  • Front- or 4Motion all-wheel drive
  • Four-wheel independent suspension
  • 2,200-pound towing capacity

Safety
Standard safety features include:

  • Six airbags, including side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows
  • Electronic stability system and traction control
  • All-disc antilock brakes