By on October 16, 2012

Some driving enthusiasts (for reasons that escape me) take their significant other’s tastes into account when buying a car for themselves. Invariably, the s.o. won’t abide a hatchback, but finds crossovers the epitome of automotive style and utility. So our whipped enthusiast wonders which compact crossover they will least regret. Oh, and it can’t cost BMW money. Volksagen, Mazda, and Ford offer the most entertaining hot hatches. What do they offer in something a little taller? Today we examine Europe’s (relatively) affordable offering, the Volkswagen Tiguan.

A facelift for the 2012 model year fails to conceal the Tiguan’s advanced age. A more demure grille and LED headlight accents update the face to the current VW look, but the basic shape remains the same, with a long hood, squared-off upper body, and bobbed tail. Even when this shape was new, four years ago, it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t meant to be. Many people just want a crossover that appears functional with hints of sport and ruggedness, and the Tiguan’s chunky exterior delivers this.

Interior updates lend the interior a slightly less downscale ambiance, but the cabin’s basic character remains functional rather than stylish. The controls are simple by current standards, and easy to reach and operate. The driving position is more upright, and so less car-like, than more recently designed compact crossovers. Depending on personal tastes, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The instrument panel seems a little too tall, perhaps to provide some real truck flavor, but it’s not deep. Raise the seat an inch and forward visibility is good. Rearward visibility not so much, but it’s better than in swoopier competitors. A good thing, as neither a rearview camera nor a blind spot warning system is offered.

With no substantial changes to its body, the Tiguan remains among the more compact of compact crossovers. Its wheelbase and length are three to four inches briefer than those of the entirely new Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape. Passenger space isn’t much affected, though. According to the official specs, the VW has 4.4 inches less total legroom than the CX-5, a big difference. In person, I had an equally generous amount of rear legroom in both of them. (We’ll discuss the Ford’s rear seat later in this series.) Unlike that in the Mazda, the VW’s comfortably high rear seat slides and reclines.

No such magic was worked with the Tiguan’s cargo area. The VW’s deficit might not be as large as the official specs suggest (56.1 cubic feet vs. 64.8 in the Mazda and 67.8 in the Ford), but there is a deficit. The only folding front passenger seat in the threesome (which goes away with the SEL) compensates.

Ironically, the German-engineered and manufactured Tiguan has the least “European” dynamics of the three. Its steering feels relatively loose on center and considerably lighter in all situations. Its seats and suspension tuning are similarly the softest in this bunch, if still firmer than you’ll find in a Honda or Toyota. The Tiguan’s handling is composed and even confidence-inspiring, but not especially sporty. A GTI with a suspension lift it isn’t; a Rabbit with a suspension lift, perhaps.

The Tiguan has one clear advantage over the CX-5. Both have a single engine option (and thus no options at all), a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. But the VW’s has a turbo, and 200 horsepower compared to the Mazda’s 155. The difference in straight line performance is readily evident even in casual driving. The Mazda engine often sounds and feels like it’s straining, the VW engine rarely if ever does.

According to the EPA ratings, the Tiguan isn’t nearly as fuel-efficient as the Mazda, 21 city / 27 highway vs. 25/31. In all but the most casual driving the real-world difference seemed about half as large (26 vs. 28 in the suburbs, if the trip computers are to be believed). For a crossover with a powerful engine and all-wheel-drive, the VW’s real-world numbers might actually be the more impressive.

Not that all is top notch with the Tiguan’s powertrain. You’ll find no quick-shifting, quick-witted DSG transmission in this VW, at least not on this side of the Atlantic. Instead, a conventional six-speed automatic supplied by Aisin (a Toyota affiliate) too often lurches, lugs the engine, or swaps cogs when no swap seems necessary.

The Tiguan’s handling might not be terribly Teutonic, but its price is. The tested 2012 “SE AWD with Sunroof and Navigation” listed for $33,300. For the 2013, add another $430. Similarly equip a Mazda CX-5 with sunroof and nav, and it lists for $3,315 less. Did we mention that, so configured, the Tiguan has vinyl upholstery, while the CX-5 has red-stitched black leather and a considerably more upscale ambiance? The Mazda’s lower price also includes larger wheels, a premium Bose audio system, power driver seat, proximity key, blind spot warning system, rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, dual zone automatic climate control, and steering-linked HID headlights. Adjust for this extra stuff (save the wheels and audio) using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool, and the Mazda emerges with a nearly $6,000 price advantage. You can equip the Tiguan past the CX-5’s level by opting for the SEL, but then the sticker tops $38,000.

Despite (or in cases because of) the noted shortcomings, my wife strongly preferred the Tiguan over the other two, with their more steeply raked windshields, heavier steering, and less compliant suspensions. My wife is not a driving enthusiast. Neither are most buyers in this segment. But even those who prefer how the Tiguan drives won’t prefer how much it costs.

Volkswagen provided an insured vehicle with a tank of gas.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, an online source of car reliability and pricing information.

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68 Comments on “Review: 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Tiguan. The obligatory small SUV from AnyOEM with a vertical trunk covering the rear window, adding those “extra” cubic feet of cargo over a Jetta, at about 1.5 to 2 times the cost of a Jetta. Spotty reliability comes free!

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Asking for the turbo engine, AWD, nav, sunroof, 18″ wheels, etc. and then declaring it 1.5 to 2 times the cost of a Jetta without any of those things is disingenuous. You can option a Jetta to $30,000 too.

      All Jettas include VW reliability standard just like the Tiguan.

      • 0 avatar
        daviel

        Tiguan is no bargain. The Hyundai/Kia SUVs for instance offer lots more features, etc. including reliability and long warranty. I have had zero problems with the Sportage in the avatar. It’s a good vehicle. I have owned 6 VWs since 1965, the last a “new beetle” that was a huge reliability liability. That last one cured me.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The Tiguan’s profile has always seemed dated to me, probably because it so closely resembles that of the second-gen Mitsubishi Colt Vista (AKA Chariot/Expo), which had three rows of seats in the same footprint -

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Chariot

  • avatar
    drewtam

    First paragraph nailed it. I drive a Mazdaspeed MX-5 every day to work, it is perfect. Wife drives a CUV to haul the kids…ugh. I don’t understand how she stands the thing, yet she hates driving the 6spd Miata. To each their own.

  • avatar
    th009

    Fortunately my s/o insists on a hatchback (with a manual gearbox, natch!) — and refuses to drive an SUV, even a mini-SUV.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    I don’t know why anyone would want and buy one of these. Talk about pure mediocrity.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      It drives better and feels richer than most of the compact CUV competition. The new Escape and CX5 diminish this advantage, but until recently the Tiguan was a relatively sporty and upscale CUV in a segment of cheap-feeling boxes.

      But for this money I’d get a TDI Sportwagen, and that’s just looking across the VW showroom.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Your first paragraph precisely describes my best friend and his wife. They have one child (another on the way) and are considering a new(er) car. He understands the practicality of a wagon…she steadfastly refuses to even consider one and is insisting on an SUV…never mind that many wagons have at least as much (if not more) actual usable interior utility than Stilts Under Vehicles (SUV…I’ll trademark that later). I suppose to each his own, but for their intended usage, I’d much prefer a wagon over just about any SUV. And as far as the Tiguan goes, I’d take a Jetta Sportwagen in a second over the Golf-on-steroids (come to think of it, I’d rather the Golf over the Tiguan, too)…

    • 0 avatar
      -Cole-

      Women always want the SUV. It’s a power thing.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I am talking as a wagon owner (Legacy) with young kids. I can see some advantages in having a CUV over a wagon. For example the greater shoulder room (compare the Jetta wagon with the CX5 as an example) you get in the back of a CUV. Also the big issue I find is the pronounced transmission tunnel in cars and wagons which are typically minimised or eliminated in CUV’s. That is one advantage my minivan has and allows the kids to easily move about and if one of them is sitting in the middle seat (I have 3 kids) they have more space for their legs.

        As for the Tiguan, this is obviously a weak link for VW and its goal of getting to 800,000 sales by 2018. They will no doubt Americanise it in the next year or two (like the Jetta and Passat) and make it bigger as well as substantially cheaper since its starting price is too high. Obviously the 2 litre turbo will not be the base engine going forward.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        It’s not a power thing. Sure they like people getting out of their Tahoe’s way. But there’s no definition of power which is present to any degree in this or any other cute ute.

        It’s a challenge thing. The challenge of driving for us is making the machine do exactly what we want it to. A tall squishy car makes that harder.

        The challenge of driving to women is nothing like that. Their challenge is paying enough attention to not collide with parked cars and other stationary objects.

        So no, you aren’t going to sell them a car on better handling. Outside of handling there’s no reason to want a lower car.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        It’s not a power thing….

        We are a two car/two kid family. I can assure you it’s MUCH easier getting said kids in the XC90 car seats that it is to get them in my 3er wagon car seats. By easier, I mean easier on the parents (not having to bend over and plop them in). They’re at eye height with the SUV.

        The wagon requires more contortions. I’ll never admit this to my wife. Ever. I insist on driving my car whenever possible.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        jkross22,

        Bingo. Pre-children we had to decide between a manual tranny wagon that was enjoyable to drive vs. a similarly priced competent-but-bland 4spd RAV4 that we knew would be more practical for the incoming kids. Got the wagon. Several years later, the wagon fits the family and I don’t regret it, but I can truly see how that RAV4 would make every single aspect of hauling the kids around easier.

        There’s a reason these things sell, and most enthusiasts won’t admit that the reasons are valid.

      • 0 avatar
        LeeK

        It’s much more about the higher driving position than any other factor. Women drivers I know feel safer when the are higher up, can see over the stopped line of traffic, and find climbing up to the seat easier to do rather than plop down in a low-slung vehicle, particularly while wearing a dress or skirt.

        As others have said, CUVs are here to stay, no matter how much enthusiasts despise them. Given a choice over a four cylinder RAV4, Rogue, CX-5, or CR-V, the Tiguan’s 200 HP turbo engine offers significantly more pep to the equation. Yes, they are smaller in cargo capacity compared to the competition, but in Europe — where they sell like hotcakes — this is an advantage in the narrow city environment. For the US, the Tiguan is a little too small and too pricey for the market. I would not be surprised if VW made a US market-only CUV in the coming years like they did with the Jetta and Passat.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I prefer wagons too, but there just aren’t many choices in the US for them.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @jkross That sir is entirely correct and should be today’s winner. Less contortions to load them and they get the stadium seat (raised seats) visibility. SUV’s are also easier for elders to get into. Plop butt on seat, pull legs in, few contortions and body twisting involved.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      CUVs are the new station wagon. Most CUVs are extremely practical, pretty efficient, and drive far more like cars than the old Explorers, 4Runners, and Suburbans that started the 90s SUV grocery-getter craze.

      I’d rather be driving the Fusion or Mazda6 wagon we can’t get here, but as someone with a couple of car seats to accommodate, who lives in the snowbelt, and likes a bit of ground clearance for camping, I can see why something like the AWD RAV4 sells so well. They’re good tools that try to blend the advantages of cars and traditional SUVs in one vehicle.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I am actually surprised my s/o doesn’t want a CUV. She fits the profile – not big on driving, will never use the hatch area for anything but groceries and trips to the shoe store. Instead, she wants an old Jag.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    The Q2 will be cited in my suicide note

  • avatar

    In my opinion, the most undesirable aspect of the styling is the fact that the quarter-panel windows are narrower than the windowlettes on the rear doors, an aesthetic crime to be sure…

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    It pisses me off that VWoA refuses to bring in the TDI. That would make this thing perfect. As it is now it’s an also ran.

    • 0 avatar
      L1011

      I agree. I wanted a diesel AWD small SUV and no one offers one. Mazda has been teasing us for years with the Sky-D and VW annoyed me by not offering one in this car. I ended up getting a Golf TDI and love it.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      There is a valid technical reason for that: the current Tiguan design cannot accommodate a tank for the urea injection. One hopes this will be addressed in the next generation Tiguan (and other assorted future VW SUVs).

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I doubt even a 1000 hp cold fusion powered engine would make this thing “perfect.” If you like TDIs, VWs turbo4 gassers are about as close as it gets in engines able to rev past 5000.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    When I bought a boat years ago, a co-worker gave me an evil grin and said, the 2 happiest days of boat ownership is the day you buy and the day you sell. He pretty much nailed it, but the wife and I had some good times in between. I would say that expression is better used on any VW. Yes, I’ve had 2. And even though they were pretty good, I could never quiet the voice in my head that kept mumbling about the next repair will burn you a new a-hole. I guess that’s true of any german car, parts, labor and “you better” do maintenance ain’t simple, easy nor cheap.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    “Some driving enthusiasts (for reasons that escape me) take their significant other’s tastes into account when buying a car for themselves.”

    Well, it’s called domestic bliss. My wife absolutely hated being carted around in my Evo VIII. Noisy, harsh ride, and constant neck-snapping induced by gear changes, she voiced her displeasure regularly and we ended up taking her vehicle all the time when we rode together. The solution? A DSG-equipped VW GTI. Much more refined, while still offering me a very satisfying level of performance. The transmission is so good that I don’t even miss shifting gears on my own. The old adage applies here: if mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      * 10. Once I married my wife, we’d ALWAYS travel in the neon (that she then inherited) together, NOT the STi. The STi scares the hell out of her (and I’m not a crazy driver), suspension bothers her,
      seating position bothers her, etc and I hear no end of it.

      Now that the neon is dead she much prefers the v6 sorento over the STi. The STi is a solo car & 90% of the time functions similarly to my motorcycle 8 months of the year.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      You can’t shift more softly than an automatic while still using the full capability of an engine? An extra half-second on the shift isn’t going to adversely affect street driving.

      I could understand suspension and road noise as a factor.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    I’ve owned a B5 Passat for 6 years and advise people not to buy VW. I was well aware of the lack of reliability but we needed the space and it got high mpg. In the 6 years of ownership, it never stranded us, although it took many extra gallons of water to get us home when the radiator failed on one trip.

    No, the problem with VW’s is they are extremely complex, have many more parts than an normal car, have way to many different types of fasteners and clip in parts.

    I’ve been reconditioning the Passat for sale and recently rebuilt the head on a E36 BMW M3. The M3, which sees a lot of track use, has a cooling circuit for the engine coolant. That’s it. The Passat has cooling circuits for the engine coolant, transmission fluid, oil, and power steering fluid. POWER STEERING FLUID COOLER? What am I doing – autocross every hour of the day?

    Special tools? Volkswagen translated into English means “special tools and special fasteners”. I’ve been able to make many of the tools or get by without, but it’s disconcerting to see the number of procedures in the Bentley manual that require special tools. Again, on the BMW, replacing the head gasket and rebuilding the head – far more complex than anything I’ve done on the VW – required just 4 special tools! Changing the timing belt on the VW requires at least that many. I’ve had to make several tools for the VW given limited access in some areas. And I think I’m a pretty skilled mechanic!

    And parts cost. The VW parts are very pricey compared to the BMW. And there are a lot of them. I would not be surprised if the Passat has twice as many parts as the BMW. With limited additional functionality. It’s as if every VW engineer went to town on the design of their piece of the car assuming that every other subsystem was 100% reliable, so even if theirs was not the overall reliability of the car would be very high. Wrong. There certainly are some things that are well thought out and that would contribute to making the car feel solid at 250k miles, but most people won’t get it there due to the cost.

    Stay clear!!!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Probably doesn’t help that you own one of the most problematic generations of VW. If Consumer Reports and True Delta are to be believed, reliability for a number of VW models is much better than the Dark Ages of the early 2000s from which your b5 was spawned.

      Do you know if the recent crop of VWs is less complex?

  • avatar
    hreardon

    I want to like the Tig, but I just cannot. Neither could my wife when looking to replace her Escape. She really, really wanted a Tiguan – then she priced one out and had a heart attack.

    In the end she ended up with a $25,250 Honda CRV-EX AWD that she absolutely loves. It has bluetooth, a backup camera, sunroof, alloys and lots of room. It gets decent mileage and the interior is a major step up for Honda, though still a bit rough around the edges. Sure, it only has cloth seats, but for the price (and the assumed reliability – she wanted an appliance, mind you), the CRV beat the pants off of the Tig.

    VW really needs to come back to this market with guns a’blazin if they intend to steal some major market share. My guess is that the next Tiguan will be produced here in Chattanooga and will share share more in common with the US spec Jetta and Passat than the equivalent Euro models.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Before I bought my Outback, I cross shopped with a Tiguan. Some of the negatives for me were that it takes premium gas, has a very small cargo area, and has the stupid Vinyl seats on the upper level models. I would rather have cloth or leather. No petroleum seats for me.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      Understand that today’s “leather” upholstery (excepting very high end luxury cars) includes only a few panels made of actual leather. The sides and back panels are vinyl in order to keep cost down and to avoid the cracking seen when the load is applied parallel to the surface rather than perpendicular to it. In the past set of cars that I have, from BMWs to VWs to Fords, the leather parts are indistinguishable to me from the vinyl parts. It brings into focus whether leather really is all that desirable.

      My wife has a new Touareg with perforated vinyl seats that are luxurious, comfortable, and again indistinguishable from real leather. Other than the lack of a leather smell, I don’t see any disadvantages. The vinyl is easier to clean, doesn’t need regular conditioning, and doesn’t get tugged out of shape the way leather does. Time will tell how it holds up, but so far, so good.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Purchased one for my daughter 2 years ago.
    I guess I got off lucky…since her FAV is a Cayenne!!!!!!
    Or the FX45..OMG! I feel sorry for the man who marries her. Talk about high maintenance!!!!

    Bt she refused a hatch!
    And I actually like it…except for the laughable storage space.Please!

    Now since my wife and I are getting ready to replace our Trailblazer…at least she LOVES our 05 Mazda3. So we are now looking at the Skyactiv 3 hatch or the VW Gold diesel…or IF I can afford it, the GTI.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    So, Michael, does this means there’s a new Tiguan in your driveway? There’s a Candy White SEL in mine, and that’s no bad thing. Yes, it was my wife’s choice, but it’s her money, too. But in no way am I feeling like a “whipped enthusiast” (which, with berries and sugar, would make a fine milkshake).

    The TIg won out through a process of elimination. Though I’ve been owning, repairing, crash-testing and still enjoying VWs and Audis for a lifetime, I really wanted to give this purchase a clean-sheet approach. I researched a dizzying profusion of CUV choices, but they left the list when they couldn’t meet all of these missions: a safe, roomy “big car” for a family of three; tow capacity for a one-ton travel trailer; parkable in my wife’s undersized downtown lot; AWD traction to navigate a large driveway that gets three feet of snow every now and then.

    This car would replace an ’04 Forester. The new Foresters and Outbacks lacked every bit of the pep and sass of my old one, so they were out. The Honda was too ugly to consider. The new Escape was just too franticly styled and disturbingly angular, like some techno movie monster, to invite home. A RAV4 owner gave a compelling endorsement, but even he cursed the unusual side-hinged tailgate, which complicates cargo loading and provides no shade or rain shelter. (It’s most popular, I hear, with petite five-foot gals who struggle to reach the raised tailgates of other CUVs, but that’s not a problem for us.)

    The Koreans offered more features for the money, but I hadn’t forgotten a TTAC review of some KIA CUV, perhaps by Koresh, that said the car’s features were developed enough to tick off the checklist, but not enough to actually work well. A look at the IIHS crash test videos really shows the hidden differences- The Tiguan had the best roof crush test result recorded, looking almost intact, while the comparison Sportage’s roof flattened a full foot farther.

    The Mazda did tickle my interest, but it lacks tow capacity. And it’s the first year of a new model, with a new engine and a new transmission. Direct injection engines are hard to make well, as problems with VW’s first generation showed. But VW is five years or more into that game, and nothing on the Tiguan is novel anymore, so it’s a more proven choice. It might be worth waiting for the CX-5 diesel or the promised ’14 Tiguan TDI, but we needed a car now.

    In the final round, it came down to the Tiguan vs. the Jetta TDI Sportswagen. We’d have taken the TDI if it could have been optioned like the Tiguan, but the TDI’s DSG gearbox isn’t rated for our trailer’s weight. The Jetta doesn’t offer the fully adjustable memory seats, either. I need the lumbar adjustment to avoid banging my head on the headrest, while she needs seat cushion tilt to get comfy. Because of VW’s limited options policy, we would up paying almost Audi money for a fully loaded SEL, just to get those seats, but that’s the way it is with a niche car.

    On the road, I’m still getting used to the raised CUV stance. I’m eye to eye with the Grand Cherokee crowd, but so what. I can see ahead over one little car or two, I’m still stuck in traffic behind them. The Jetta seems too low, but this is a few inches too tall. I’m usually happiest with a car that stands exactly my height, 67 inches, but now seems much taller or shorter. In Europe, IIRC, the same body is sold as the Golf Plus. That’s gives a good impression of the Tiguan’s physique– tall, with very short overhangs that limit trunk space. The dash and steering wheel are set oddly high; don’t try driving with just one knee on the wheel, it might not reach!

    The steering is too light, but it’s fast and accurate (2.7 turns lock-to-lock). Bodacious 19″ wheels and monster meats are included with the SEL package. My dearest already has scraped up the right side wheels on a curb, parking by feel. Too bad she didn’t use the rear camera, included with sunroof and navi, because the camera lens is wide enough to see the curb beside the car. The strangest discovery is the accelerator pedal: it’s hinged on the floor, not from above, the better to keep those fatal floor mats out of the way.

    I tried to be rational about the Tiguan, but I fell in love during a two-hour drive back to Denver. It was getting dark when I reached a formerly little-known place called South Park, a dark, empty plain beneath the shadow of a new moon. A lazy driver ahead kept me below the limit for a few minutes of canyon esses, but after we passed by two troopers chatting by roadside, I reached a passing lane and the 2.0 TSI engine showed me that I won’t be missing the extra 50 hp of my late allroad’s blown V-6, not even at throttle.

    A few miles later, I was thanking VW for forcing me to buy every option. The combination of HID lamps and active aiming was boring a tunnel of light into a very dark night. I could see the left headlight dipping its beam for upcoming cars, then rising to full distance after they passed. Then I saw a big buck deer on the left shoulder, where ordinary lights wouldn’t have shone. Arriving home, the Tig’s left cornering light lit to illuminate my dark driveway entrance. This car, more than any I’ve had, has night figured out and darn near defeated.

    I’ve been counting Tiguans since my purchase. I see about two a day, in a major, modern city where I drive an average of 60 miles a day. That kind of exclusivity is worth something to me. When I go up to Boulder, I see a Tiguans all over the roads. Not so many bargain hunters live in Boulder. They’re willing to pay more for quality, as they see it. Many of them will spend a few thousand more for an Audi Q5, but I had to draw the line somewhere, and drew it here.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    The Tiguan is neat, except the Kia Sportage SX Turbo does it better IMO. The SX T-GDI with the premium package (heated & cooled seats, panoramic sunroof, heated mirrors, leather, all the goodies) and Nav is $32,400. Plus the turbo engine makes 260bhp/269tq, and in the real world the Kia/Hyundai ThetaII Turbo feels a lot stronger than VW’s 2.0L Turbo.

    I like the Mazda CX-5 more than the Kia, but that extra 114 horsepower is hard to get over.

  • avatar
    stuki

    X1 starts at about $30,000. Probably a few grand more if you want windshield vipers, gas caps, door locks and all the other luxuries that are extra on Bimmers. Even the X3 starts at $38,000.

    $34,500 for an XC60, if you prefer your cars without an a-hole image as standard equipment.

    $38,000 for a lifted Rabbit is plain Jane insane.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    I’m in geek overload(My fault)now as to how much I now know about the VW Tiguan.And the first paragraph of this post does provide added confirmation as to why today’s divorce rate is so high,and it would appear its just as often her fault.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Poor Tiguan– nobody really wants to talk about it, as the response to my own mini-review shows. Not until next year, when the new model comes out and we’ll all decide VW has cheapened it too much and the lest one was better.

    So sorry for wasting your tome and mine writing up a new owner’s reactions to the vehicle on review. In the future, I promise to get with the program. Here’s the brief, universal all-purpose TTAC readers’ comment, to be inserted whenever a Volkswagen automobile is up to bat:

    “I owned a VW once. I broke. Only an idiot would buy a VW after that!”

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      Bitter, I like it.

      What I gathered from your review is that one needs to spend Audi money to get fancy seats and headlights for a CR-V competitor. You drew the line at A5! You and your wife keep separate bank accounts. You bought the car within the last 5-6 months.

      Thank you for your review. Please update it in 5 years. That would be really useful.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        I’d be glad to give an update, if we have it in five years. It’s on a three-year lease now,– which matches the warranty, so I consider it a risk-free deal. For the record, the only defect found at delivery was a remote key with a weak signal. Oh, and the wiper fluid tank cap was loose on the neck.Looks like a job for a hand instead of a robot. Perhaps Hans was sloppy that day? But it’s no bog deal to me.

        And no, I wouldn’t rather have an Audi. We just had an Audi, used but well-cared for, and it gave us a nightmarish series of repair misadventures and catastrophies that I don’t even want to get into now. It’ll make a good story when I do, though. The allroad taught us to appreciate 12-way memory seats and HID headlights, but to loathe and fear V6s and twin turbos.

        This little Tiggy gives us all the truly useful functions of the allroad, minus the best sensual aspects like interior beauty, solid & hefty ride and steering, and that sublime Bose stereo.

      • 0 avatar
        Stumpaster

        But you see, in your original writeup you said you were “purchasing” the Tiguan, which got me interested.

        So your car was delivered with only two defects, that’s fantastic. Remember that skit on SNL “Lowered Expectations”? I think that’s what you’re dealing with after too much time in the Audi camp.

  • avatar

    Just took my s/o to a local la volkswagen dealer and ran into a similare debacle between CUV and getting a van to carry all our stuff around with us. Throughout this whole process I couldnt help but think why do we need to drag all this around with us each and every day? I was looking into the Mazda too and got shut down, the Tiguan has a nice look to it but I agree with the above update us in a few years I’m curious to see how it wears.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    The reliability/durability thing makes VW a non-starter. Its not 1982 where you had maybe three reliable car brands and you had to take a chance on everything else.

    This was my second choice car–VW is pretty price competitive at least in the lower trim levels. I saw no need to take a 24K crap shoot on something that would be what? the fourth most reliable car in its segment?

    To top it off VW has a dealer network which I guess is like a den of thieves. Don’t blame it on their Germaness. My old BMW 700 series was colossally complicated, but it held together pretty well. Most repairs were fairly priced. I proved to my wife that a a new alterntor for the BMW was cheaper than for her Mercury Marquis.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    As the esteemed Mr. Koresh has documented, even the least reliable of today’s cars are pretty fault-free. If the difference between best and worst is one fault every two or three years, I’m not really concerned. Especially under coverage of a warranty. I’d rather choose something I like, even if it comes with an inconsequential risk.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    The two problems I had with my new Tiguan were trivial, costing me nothing but time at the dealership while they sorted out key programming. No, the car wasn’t delivered 100% perfect. But I’m more influenced by how my past VWs have held up with serious miles on them. I have a ten-year old Beetle TDI, well-maintaind, that still gives me a smile every time I push hard into a corner. It’s quiet, comfy, and and enjoyable to drive, even it’ll pass 200K miles around the year’s end.

    My general objection to the ever-recurring discussion of VW reliability here is that it’s simply boring and repetitious.VW brings out new products every year, some better, some worse, but all I see here is the same tired reliability argument. It crowds out any talk about more interesting topics like product range, styling, engines, ergonomics and performance. What’s the point?

    Why don’t the Reliability Police take it somewhere else, such as over to Consumer Reports, where you could debate those little circles and half-circles on their charts? Because it’s behind a paywall?

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    “I’d be glad to give an update, if we have it in five years. It’s on a three-year lease now,– which matches the warranty, so I consider it a risk-free deal.”

    —–Wheatridge

    Gee Wheatridge, if the reliability and durability is all irrelevant, why did you say that in your impromptu review? (which was excellent, by the way).

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Michael – I think by ‘no rearview camera’, you meant in this particular SE. The SEL has the rearview cam and the 2011 and prior also had a manual passenger seat in the SEL (that kept the fold flat front seat – a potential reason to look for a used Tiguan if you want SEL trim).

    Owning a 2011 SEL (Premium with the RN510 nav and Dynaudio), I can say I enjoy the ‘full Monte’ VW experience. We have 24,000 miles on ours in 15 months. Only one return to the dealer for an initial throttle position issue (out of the factory prob at 3k).

    This, not surprisingly, is the wife’s vehicle. She picked it after driving EVERY OTHER small CUV at the time (hence no current gen Escape or CR-V). I’ve driven them all as well and agree with your assessment. The Tiguan is definitely softer riding than most would expect but also significantly quieter than all but the CX-5. The CX-5 was just coming out when we bought the Tiguan (July 2011) but SkyActiv is still NoTorqueActiv and would be hard to live with day-to-day.

    Personally, I think out of all the CUVs currently out – I’d go with a new Escape with the 1.6T. It is far more refined than the competition (other than the Tiguan). Also, I’m a Hyundai/Kia fan but the Tucson and Sportage are just not in the same league as the Escape (or Tiguan) when it comes to chassis tuning. They are literally the worst ride/handling combo you can buy in this size CUV.

    The real trump card to me is who gets to North America first with a diesel in this group…Appears it will be Mazda with the 2.2 oil burner in the CX-5 but Mazda still has limited resources vs VW and others. The Tiguan – as it was meant to be – with the 2.0TDI like in Europe, would be the perfect vehicle for our needs.


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