By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan. It competes with the Ford Escape and Pontiac Torrent.
(upbeat music) Hi, I am Joe Weisenfelder with Cars.com. I have always been a critic of Volkswagen's earlier SUV, the Touareg.
So when I heard they were coming out with a smaller model, I figured, would it be any better, with the exception of the name, Tiguan, or is it Tiguan? Neither of them is really very good. It is much better, than the Touareg. Now the problem with the Touareg mainly, was that it was too heavy. So now it has a pathetic 15 miles per gallon city, and 20 highway. And that is for the most efficient one, even though it is really slow. Now, this is an all-wheel drive Tiguan, which is the least efficient, and even it, gets 18 miles per gallon on the city, 24 on the highway, and you can get even better mileage, if you get front wheel drive, or a manual transmission. It is also plenty peppy. Now, the Tiguan is about a foot shorter from bumper to bumper than the Touareg, and about 5 inches narrower, but there is not much penalty in the inside. Actually four cubic feet less, of passenger volume is not that bad. There is about, an inch less, leg room in the front seat, but there is actually a little bit more headroom, some other nice things in this one more modern, include the optional navigation system. Now, instead of buttons alongside the screen, this is a touchscreen, much better maps, better labeling. And it also has this interesting, rocket feature, when you are using the zoom levels, you can just hit this one button, and it zooms back. It gives you a wide view, might seem gimmicky, but what it is doing is, it is showing you all the traffic patterns, because there is real-time traffic information for major metropolitan areas on this. And you could see it is all green here, which is really weird, traffic is not usually this good. Then it goes back down to where it was, also for the backup camera, which comes with the option. When you put it in reverse, aside from just seeing what is behind you, you get lines to show you where your fenders will be, and then when you turn the wheel, it swings, either way to show you where you will go. There is also a different, mode you can push. It gives you a pattern that helps with parallel parking. Kind of neat. We have not seen anything like that, except for in cars that parked themselves, like the Lexus LS 460. So the backseat is also roomy. There is actually, a little bit more leg room, and almost an inch more headroom than in the Touareg, also, unlike the Touareg, you can adjust, the seat forward and backward, which is good. Helps you share space between the passenger compartment and the cargo compartment. The backrest is also adjustable for angle. You got a center arm rest. Now, there is more to it than that. You pull one strap, and the whole thing goes down, and that is pretty much it. This rigid cargo cover, might seem a little clunky, but it is actually much lighter and easier to remove than the retractable kind. Now we found in cars where the second row rolls back and forth that you get a gap, in the cargo floor. And, the solution Volkswagen has here, is this flap, cannot even really tell it is here, keeps it smooth, nothing falls in, and if you are sliding some cargo in from the rear, it just slides right over. You also get, some extra storage space, alongside the spare tire here. So you can keep any valuables out of sight to well-worth having. Now, the Touareg does have more cargo space as you might imagine. One thing it does not have, is a front seat, that also folds flat. So even though you have, a shorter vehicle overall, you got a lot of room to work with here. Well, overall, the Tiguan, I think is a much better vehicle than the Touareg, especially for today's times, high gas prices, et cetera. All it really gives up is a little interior space, and some towing capacity. If you do not need that, this is a much better way. <v Narrator>For additional information on this car, or any other, go to cars.com, and our blog Kicking Tires.