VW Tiguan Test Drive

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 I have been interested in trying out the Tiguan for a while. And I finally got one last week.
The new(ish) R version.

The 1st thing I noticed was how good it looks. It came out almost 7 years ago! (with a refresh for 2012)
Which is quite amazing.
I think it still looks better than many other small Crossovers (especially the sad/cheap looking Mazda CX-5…)

The big 19 inch wheels of the R version add some aggressiveness to the cute shape.

 Inside, the 7 year old design is also still holding up quite well. Things are simple and attractive. And almost every plastic surface is covered in soft touch, expensive looking material.
No “new Jetta cost cutting” here…

 The back seat is pretty roomy. Especially considering the car is almost a foot shorter than the Jetta.

 One of the best features, that some of the competition still doesn’t offer, is the panoramic roof. The front section does open all the way too.

 It wouldn’t be a VW without some weird stuff. Like this row of fake buttons. You know, the ones that remind you that you didn’t get all the options (even at over $37 000!)

 There is very little space for storage under the armrest. Like most VWs.

 The truck is surprisingly big.

If you read this site, you might know that I am really not aran of VW’s 2.0 Liter Turbo engine.
And the Tiguan didn’t make me change my mind.

Just like other VW models with the same engine,  you are welcomed by that rattly diesel sound. Except, this is NOT a diesel.

I’ve heard the excuse about it being a “Direct Injection” engine.
Which is pure BS since GM and Ford (among others) offer super smooth 2.0 Liter Turbo engines, also with DI.
But, also as usual, I did get used to it over time. After a while, you kind of give up.
And realize that it is very fast and fun to drive.

The steering is much too light. (although precise) With almost zero feeling. In a weird un-German way.
The suspension on the R model is too hard. (Which, is really not a good combo with the light steering.)

Once you get going, things are really quiet inside.
As I said, it handles well and the engine has plenty of power, all the time.

It is rated at 21/26 City/Hwy
I got around 22 in the city. But had no problem averaging 30MPG on the highway.

So basically, I would recommend the Tiguan.
It looks good and is fun to drive. Sure the steering could be better. But most small SUVs suck in that department anyway….

But stay away from the grossly overpriced R version.
You can basically get the same car, minus the big wheels, sport suspension  and other details for $5000 less.
Which makes it still expensive, but pretty much in line with loaded versions of the CRV or RAV4 crowd.

Conversation 7 comments

  1. I was looking at this for my mother in-law. It's still one of the nicest little SUVs on the market. I'm actually surprised, and relieved, about the comment of the rather cheap Mazda. I thought I was the only one who thought this.

    Once you spend time in one of these, there are some rather obscure signs that this an older platform and not quite up to the near $40k price. The most obvious is that the interior is spartan. Not cheap, but visually unexciting. The one thing I would have never noticed, but my in-law pointed out due to her lack of dexterity, is that there is no automatic open/close lift gate option like you can get on the Q5. Not at any price. So that fact alone put it out of the running for her. Which is a bummer, because she loved it.

  2. $37k and still all grey?

    You can get a Land Rover LR2 for that price, with an interior that looks and feels a million times better.
    I looked at the Tiguan last year, but I just couldn't get past how manic-depressive it is on the inside. "You want how much for this? My rental Corolla feels more expensive."
    Plus it's got that really cheap display in the middle of the dash: looks like something out of a 10 year old phone.

  3. This is like all vws. Waaaay too cheap inside. The Nissan Rogue makes this look like the crap it is. Just bought a2014 Rogue …..WOW

  4. Interesting comment/comparison with the Mazda CX5 to the VW. I replaced my 2 yr old Tiguan with a CX5 because the VW proved itself to be far too unreliable and always in need of repair…tranny, steering and lots of electronic issues. The CX5 is just over a year old and so far it is 100% reliable. My friends all like the looks of the VW better than the Mazda…but they didn't own the VW or have to live with the issues. I am thrilled with the Mazda.

  5. How can you say the Mazda CX-5 looks sad/cheap? That's just not true. The Tiguan looks ok, but the Mazda still Looks much better, although the Mazda 3 is still the bestlooking Mazda.

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