VW Tiguan test drive

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The “new” Tiguan is not an ugly car. But I struggle how to describe it. “boring”, “generic”, “lazy” come to mind.
I guess it is all that…
 It basically looks like these generic cars you see on architectural renderings. Where they make sure vehicles look like nothing specific.

The Tiguan designers did their best to remove any trace of personality. And they succeeded.

Same thing inside. Where, aside from the screen, you could be in a VW from around 10 or 15 years ago.

Again, nothing could be described as “ugly”. It’s just not as interesting or nice as the previous Tiguan. (Or any of the competition)
It just looks like it was designed by a teenager with a ruler, or a robot.
Not actual humans.

The interior gives out a very boring/old vibe. (I am sure my black vinyl interior test car color didn’t help and things could be a little better in a different color combo )

The vinyl seats are pretty flat. Although they feel OK.
Many of the hard plastic bits have cheap feel and look to them (Although there are plenty of nicer soft plastics around too)
The center armrest is also not adjustable…

This is really not in the same league as the Mazda CX-5 interior. (Although it is about the same price)
Or even the Honda CR-V and many others. In my opinion, pretty much any of the competition has a nicer interior.

That center console/shifter looks like the one in all VWs in the past 10 years or so. 
I was really able to test the A/C since we had super hot days here in L.A (up to 117 a few days ago!)
With such heat, the A/C was struggling to cool things down. 
Also, a couple of times, when getting back into the car, the A/C would set itself to 72 (As shown above)
Not 60 where it was before.  
It didn’t do it all the time. Just when it felt like it…

The CarPlay screen also gave up. Not the whole screen, only when using CarPlay. The songs were playing, but the screen went black one evening. I restarted the radio, even the car. Nothing worked…
Things were fine the next day. Just weird.

Otherwise I have to stay the standard stereo on the SE model I had sounded great (Except for an annoying small buzz from the front left speaker at times)

Inside the glove compartment. A wild old-timey CD player/flash card reader. (???)

The back seat is roomy enough.
But smaller than in the Jetta.
And the seat itself is pretty flat.

The 3rd row is not that easy to get into, and really uncomfortable for any over the age of 6.

Behind that 3rd row, there isn’t much trunk space left.
And there is this weird raised cover. Which makes you think there might be an additional hidden storage underneath .

But no…

Things get better with the 3rd row flat.
But the floor is still pretty high. Making it pretty hard to load heavy items.

Also, that hatch is the heaviest I have ever used. The power feature should really be standard…
(Especially for almost $30 000)

The very first thing I noticed was how crude the engine sounded.
The new version of VW’s 2.0 Liter Turbo is one of the worst. (VW seems to keep coming up with new versions of their 2.0 Liter turbo every couple of years or so) And is less powerful than the previous one.

Things really gets rough and noisy as soon as you reach 2000RPM. (like some older 90’s car)
Which the 8 speed auto transmission is trying to avoid at all cost.
By mostly refusing to downshift unless you really floor it. And, by then, it gets pretty confused and shifts pretty abruptly.

So as long as you drive slow, keep things under 2000RPM, you’ll be OK. Otherwise that drone from the noisy engine will be quite tiresome.
Again, this is much less refined than the competition.

I know people have criticized the new Tiguan for lack of power. I though it was just fine.
(Sure, I had only now or 2 people on board, and it might be a different story when loaded.)

The steering is very light. Too light to have any feel to it. Again, light years behind the Mazda CX-5.
And not what you would expect of a “German” car.
The suspension is not really comfortable. It’s not terrible, but not a smooth ride.
And a noisy one. (while most bumps on the road are felt, all of them are heard)

The Tiguan is rated at 22/27 MPG.

I got mostly 18/20 around town. (While being very careful) But had no problem getting 33 on the highway.

I am not really sure who the new Tiguan is for. The previous model was much more engaging in every way.
If you use all the seats, the trunk is just too small for almost anything.
I guess this is mostly for carpooling moms.

The pricing is also a bit strange to me. While the base model starts at $24 500, my SE version was $28 930. (Before optional wheels) That’s about $4000 for only a few more things. (And the base cloth looks nicer than the SE’s vinyl)

Even though most of the competition starts at around the same price.
They offer a lot more by the time you reach around $29 000.
The CX-5 Grand Touring is $29 645 and comes with a sunroof, leather seats, power hatch, Bose audio etc…
The CR-V EX-L also comes with pretty much the same stuff.

Next to these, that Tiguan SE is pretty bare bone.
It is also noisier, not as nice to drive, and not as comfortable.

If you must get a VW Tiguan, VW still offers the “old” one (but not for long) called the Tiguan Limited.
It only comes with a couple of options. But starts at about $2000 less. Is a nicer car to drive and still has the better and more powerful “old” version of the 2.0 Liter engine.

I have to say, the current Tiguan was a bit of a disappointment.
It seems like a step back from the previous version in almost every way.

If you have never driven any of its competition, and if your quick test drive at the dealership doesn’t allow you to push it past 2000RPM, you might like it.
Otherwise, like Hemingway used to say: “life is too short to drive blah…”

Conversation 10 comments

  1. Meh cubed. The last generation looked much better though it sucked fuel at an alarming rate.

  2. So well summed up what I feel in every new Volkswagen group product; there is nothing fundamentally wrong, but this feeling of super generic (I think the term designed by a robot is really fitting) , the lack of overall quality feel they had a few generations ago (early 2000s come to mind), the flat seats and also somehow not that great engines (probably some super high end versions aside) mixes to something that really makes me feel like not wanting to own one; The electric glitches are also too familiar;

    Professional (I don't want to say sponsored) reviewers rave on how few weaknesses they have, but I struggle to find the great strength or features that really stet it apart; I just feel the competition has moved on at another pace, and caught up or in many ways surpassed their VAG competition, and many still have some outstanding feature (handling, an engine, or design) that makes you want to buy it; This is fine if you have always owned a VAG product, and refuse to look outside their dealerships, and thus are not interested where the rest of the competition is…

  3. Give credit to VW for designing a vehicle that doesn’t have the derivative, overdone, and cartoonish styling of so many Asian CUVs. Now bring over the SWB version.

  4. I like the Tiguan exterior look/style but I am scare to own a VW because of it maintenance cost when the warranty runs out! Maybe okay to lease however!

  5. I love the design like I said in the earlier post- (but only high trims with large wheels + the LED lighting package). The design is all about proportion, tailoring and subtle restraint. Looking at one on the 405 from two lanes over in Habanero Orange Metallic – it reeks of class compared to much of the gauche crap that surrounds it – GMC terrain, Equinox, along those lines. It's like the anti-Prius. I know it's not for everyone but I'm glad it's what it is.

  6. Looks are one thing. (and basically a matter of taste) But the terrible engine, not so great ride, lifeless steering, confused transmission, cheap interior are still there. Even if you love the way it looks.

    Pretty much everything else in its class drives and feels better.

  7. Vince, great review and I agreed on everything, I test drove one so I know.
    Honestly, I cut the test drive buy at least half, no BS. So plain, so underpowered and the MPG so bad.
    I just drove about 5 minutes and told the car salesman that I was not interested at all.
    The wife drives a 2017 Mazda CX5 GT, and man, what a difference.
    I'm waiting for the RAV4 and I hope I won't be disappointed.

    And why not bring the European model to the US, why not offer two models, 5 and 7 seats?

  8. VW is holding on to the old idea that Americans only like "big, roomy and cheap"cars. That's why we get a special "Bigger and cheaper" Passat. And that's why we only get the larger Tiguan.
    Also why we don't get the cool T-Roc and Polo.

    They still do not understand the US market. People who actually want a VW want something different. A bit better than the average. An "affordable German car".
    They have not been that for years. Cars like Mazdas and the new Accord feel way more German/European than any VW sold over here…

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