By on September 10, 2008

Eurostyling at a europrice

First impressions last. And many are formed by the appellation given a child at birth by well-meaning parents. Guys named Percival, Chauncey and Marion know the answer to “what is in a name?” And now, Tiguan. Pronunciation? Is it TEE-gwan?  TIG-yoo-wahn? Tig-WAHN? Any way you say it, Tiguan sounds more like some species of sub-Saharan reptile than a girlie soft-roader. Like that boy named Sue, Smuckers or Huckabee, any vehicle with a bizarre name better be able to stand up for itself.  So is VW’s new mini-ute good enough to compensate for its cumbrous cognomen (stupid name)?

The Tiguan may be ten years late to the cute-ute makeover party, but it’s like, so adorable. The shrunken-Touareg look is user-friendly, modern and brand appropriate. Park it next to a Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V and the Tiguan looks like an Armani suit on a rack next to Men’s Wearhouse’s best.  Without exception, everyone who saw my Sapphire Blue tester wanted to take the car home, microwave some popcorn and watch the O.C.

Everything\'s where it should beOn the inside, it’s not quite as buttoned down.  Overall the materials are first-rate, but some of the trim looks out of place (e.g. the obligatory aluminum trim around the high-mounted radio/nav system and the vents in the end of the dashboard). There are a total of eight AC vents in the dashboard, but they’re each about an inch and a half in diameter and you can never seem to get them adjusted to blow where you want (steady guys). The AC could  barely handle the heat from the Georgia sun beating down on the $1300 “Panoramic” roof.

Other than the climate, the interior was comfy, quiet and surprisingly roomy. The seats are firm and supportive. Back seat drivers wil appreciate the theater-style raised rears.  Unfortunately the elevation cuts into the rear headroom, restricting the back row to Hollywood action hero height. My mid-range SE’s tester’s upholstery was wrong for young families and active singles; the off-white (“Sandstone”) cloth was a blank canvas just waiting for spilled soda, dog hair, french fry grease, crayon, mud, baby drool and dirt. It’s either that or funereal dark charcoal gray.

No denying it\'s kin to the TouaregUnder the hood, you’ll find VAG’s increasingly ubiquitous though most excellent turbocharged 2.0-liter mill, which churns out 200 hp and 207 lbs-ft of torque (though only on premium go-juice). Channeled through a six-speed slushbox, it’s enough power to motivate the Tiguan to 60 mph in just under eight seconds. It’s no Cayenne, but it’ll surprise you with its quickness. If you’re the do-it-yourself kind, the front-wheel-drive version is available with a shift-it-yourself six-speed gearbox.

VW advertises the Tiguan as the GTI of CUVs; something to do with the fact that they share a platform. While TTAC’s Best and Brightest may be tempted to diss the claim as total marketing bullshit, the Tiguan handles better than you’d expect from a tall wagon. On twisty roads, it remains well planted; you never feel like you’re on the ragged edge. The sprogs in the back seat will be screaming for you to slow down long before the Tiguan’s tires do.

Won\'t be very popular in the sun beltThere are only two things that detract from the Tiguan’s overall excellence. First: the gas mileage. VW’s GTI-on-stilts manages 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway. That’s worse than the V-6 powered RAV4 or Tucson. VW made noises about offering a TDI version, but the price of diesel gave them pause. (It now looks like the oil-burner will only come wrapped in the Jetta.)

The other downer: price. The unfavorable exchange rate means even the basest FWD Tiguan S model starts at $23,200. My tester was the mid-range SE model with 4Motion, nav system and the aforementioned hole in the roof. It listed for $33,165.  If you go all-out with the SEL you’ll be pushing the $35k button before you know it, even if you stick with FWD. In contrast, the base VW SportWagen starts at $18,999.  Throw everything you can from the option list at the SportWagen SEL and you’re still under $31k. True, you don’t have the 4Motion option on the SportWagen, but how often do you really need AWD?

Not its best angleThe Tiguan is cute, fun to drive and comfortable. Factor price and fuel efficiency out of the equation and the Tiguan’s basic goodness more than makes up for the strange name. But the high price of admission and the non-PC mpgs will drive VW’s core customers to find something a bit more affordable, reliable and pronounceable.

[VW provided the car, insurance and a tank of gas.]

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59 Comments on “2009 VW Tiguan SE 4Motion Review...”

  • avatar

    Frank, does the Tiguan have the same auto transmission as the Passat? And by that, I mean is there no response at the beginning? Or as Mr. Karesh put it “each time I gave the throttle a prod from a dead stop I initially got…nothing. BIG, annoying hesitation. “

  • avatar

    Frank, does the Tiguan have the same auto transmission as the Passat? And by that, I mean is there no response at the beginning? Or as Mr. Karesh put it “each time I gave the throttle a prod from a dead stop I initially got…nothing. BIG, annoying hesitation. “

    I didn’t feel any discernible turbo lag or other hesitation. I drive an A4 with the same engine/transmission and don’t have any problems with it either.

  • avatar

    18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway…It listed for $33,165.

    Add to that VW absymal reliability and, really, I wished they would just get lost.

  • avatar

    Frank, very nice review! I notice you make the obvious Honda/Toyota comparo…I feel this vehicle is a little closer to the Acura RDX end of the spectrum (both in engine type, overall price, and amenities), but that’s just from sitting in it. If someone were to simply cross-shop CRV and Rav, this would appear to be a little too pricey.

    Re: economy, the 4mo is a big drain. The upright vehicle stance and extra weight accounts for some of the penalty (vs. the other 2.0t cars), but 4mo is a real killer, both in drivetrain loss and the extra couple hundred pounds to lug around.

  • avatar

    It seems like you guys have gone CUV-crazy in the past few months. I’ve seen a number of CUVs get very strong reviews. I could be the only one that feels this way, but because of the inherent drawbacks of CUVs as a class, they should have to be absolutely exceptional to warrant a good review. The entire class only exists because people no longer want to drive station wagons.

    While the Tiguan may be superior to a Rav-4 or CRV, how does it make sense with cars like the GTI or Jetta Wagon around? It’s more expensive, handles worse, slower, not much more cargo room, uses much more gas, the interior doesn’t look that great from the pics I’ve seen, etc. I don’t get it

  • avatar

    I didn’t write a review of the Tiguan for TTAC because I was in the mood to write a positive review when I drove one and, well, I didn’t find much to like about it.

    Seems Frank and I have vastly differing perceptions on this one. My conclusions in a review posted elsewhere:

    Pros: Relatively flat cornering, decent engine power

    Cons: Steering feels loose on-center, engine sounds unrefined, high instrument panel, clunky styling

    The Bottom Line: Competitive, but not the standout it could have been. Much more a me-too effort than the GTI.

    I drove a GTI immediately after driving the Tiguan, to verify that the difference between the two was so dramatic, and the experience was not remotely comparable. The engine sounded and felt better in the GTI, the steering didn’t have slop on center, and the DSG is of course much more responsive than a conventional automatic.

    Looking back at my review, I felt that off-the-line acceleration was weak, but didn’t remark on any hesitation or lag otherwise. I thought the entire seemed a bit cheap despite fairly good materials, and traced my impression to the silver HVAC control bezel.

    An Acura RDX looks and feels much more upscale, and performs much better.

    The reliability of MkV VWs actually hasn’t been bad in TrueDelta’s surveys. Not enough Tiguans yet to see if they’ll fare as well.

  • avatar


    Experienced it while looking for a small SUV for grandma.
    She is a tall 4 ft 5…, so I was limited.

    We drove ALL the small SUVs, including the new Nissan.
    Rav4 with 6 cyl was clear winner.
    But, the bottom line, after going over the list and comparing each was this:
    It was more expensive.
    The Toy gave us 6 cyl, better mileage AND performed better, even around the tight curves.
    The final selling point was its easy for Munchkins, Hobbits and like sized to open and THEN close.

    So why, we kept asking ourselves.

    The answer…Rav4 with the 6.

  • avatar

    Nice review, Frank. I really hope VW starts selling a TDI equipped version. Even at $4.30 per gallon for diesel and $3.80 for premium, if a TDI version got a combined 30 MPG, the owner would save $700 per year in fuel costs @ 15000 miles per year. I was ready to buy one of these things until I found there was no TDI coming. Overall it seems like a nice vehicle, it’s just too bad about the pricing and the single thirsty engine choice. I haven’t seen many on the road yet either.

  • avatar

    For that price – AND gas mileage – you could get an Outback XT with a 250hp turbo boxer.

    Megan – OUTBACK XT matches the price, not the Forrester. We know you hate the Forrester.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Wow, I could have written this review. I second everything Frank said. It’s a great little CUV, handles excellently, the engine and performance are decent considering the amount of weight, but the sportwagen will cannibalize its sales because the Tiguan (pronounced like you’re combining ‘tiger’ with ‘iguana’ — tee-gwan) is too expensive and gets terrible gas mileage. And it’s coming in on the tail end of the CUV craze… a few years ago these would have sold like hotcakes, now… not so much.

    Another strike against it is that only the base S model comes with manual as the option… all others are auto only. And that panoramic sunroof is ungodly, brutally hot in the Georgia summer heat. In the front seat, the A/C can almost, almost keep up… in the rear, you’re left sweating your ass off and wondering what the hell they were thinking.

    RE: Reliability, these are not built in Mexico, they’re built in Wolfsburg, same as the GTIs. So I’d expect them to come out about the same as the GTI in terms of reliability.

    Unregular, I’d take the Tiguan over the Forester XT (which comes with the same amount of power as the WRX — 224hp, 226 ft/lbs torque). IMHO the Tiguan handles much better, and as bad as the torque loss is through subaru’s crappy automatic, they really feel about the same power-wise. And the torque curve on the 2.0T is nicer, I think… the subaru is pretty gutless up top.

  • avatar

    as a fan of VW (and a MKV VW Owner) i must voice my unbiased opinion about this car.

    It’s complete crap, it looks like a Hyundai (inside and out), it’s overpriced and too small. Sad but true.

    Mom recently traded in her aging PT Loser for a new car, and looked briefly at the Tiguan… but ended up with the aforementioned CR-V. Hers is the EX with Leather (everything except for navigation) and came out somewhere around 28k, which i think is a bit pricey for a Cute Utility Vehicle (CUV.)

    The other problem I have is the engine. Does a Cute Ute REALLY need a direct injection, turbocharged high-strung 4-banger that runs on the pricey dead dinos? Look how well the Mazda CX-7 is selling. Then look at the Tiguan for MORE MONEY with less power. Hmm.

    Maybe I need to drive one and “get it.” Who knows.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    A great review! By the way, what the hell do I have to do to test drive a similar level of car? The last /only one I did was a base Kia Rio and that came from the all too pushy (and deceitful) local Kia dealer.

    I’m going to tell you something that’ll surprise you. I think VW has really nailed the $25,000 to $40,000 offerings very well. The only real issues they have are…

    1) Overpriced vis-a-vis Toyota & Honda

    2) Mediocre Quality Interior Components

    3) Sub-standard warranty

    4) Long Term Durability issues

    5) Sub-standard dealer network

    6) Bad PR due to issues 1 thru 5

    #2 is actually a common problem throughout the entire industry these days. But the two H’s (Honda & Hyundai) seem to offer vehicles that are a click higher in this regard virtually across the board.

    VW is not oging to become anything more than an unsuccessful niche player in North America unless they focus on these issues. Building here will be a good first step…. but changing perceptions usually take something truly paradigm shifting. If they found a way of reducing the price of these models by 15% by the next generation and upgraded their quality to even average, a lot of the ‘barriers to buying’ a VW would cease to exist.

    VW was on the cusp of greatness in North America ten years ago. They blew it. Fortunately most folks have short term memories and an appetite for imports.

  • avatar


    Why do you assume Mexican workers are to blame for VW’s reliability issues?

    Most reliability issues can be traced to engineering, design, or the component manufacturer, not assembly. Were Mexican workers to blame for all the coil packs and window regulators that failed on MkIV VWs?

  • avatar

    The mazda CX-7 comparison is probably the most relevant here, and it just looks like a better machine, although I’d bet the VW’s interior is better. But both have horrible gas mileage. It’s particularly bad for the VW, as it’s the same engine that gets 21/30 in the GTi.

    Now, why would anyone buy a CUV over a hatchback or station wagon is beyond me.

    Oh, and in Europe, consider this thing competes not only with the Golf itself (Rabbit in U.S.), but also with the Golf plus, a “monospace” (i.e. taller) version of the Golf. Talk about cannibalization.

    I’d call that one as relevant as a MINI S.U.V….oh wait …

    And by the way, some renderings of the MINI SUV are online, and……yuck!

  • avatar

    Steven Lang

    I believe VW’s B2B warranty is 4/50k on everything, which is on par with most luxury mfrs.

    Personally, I’ll take a short B2B in exchange for a longer powertrain warranty–which is exactly what they used to do (AFAIK, they were the first mfr with the 100k powertrain warranty, back in the early 90s)

  • avatar

    Can’t wait for the Porsche mini-ute!

    The Paprika!

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    I guess I’ll be the one to quibble with the star rating. From the review I get that it’s decent car. Three stars?

    Good quality interior and fairly poised on the road. Plus one star?

    Below average gas mileage on premium fuel and a relatively high price tag. Minus one star?

    We’re back to three stars.

    I know the star system isn’t perfect. Do you guys keep a tally? How many 5 stars vehicles, 4 stars, and so on? My casual observation is that almost all of the vehicles reviewed here are either 3 stars or 4 stars. I think I’ve seen one 5 star. No recollection of any two or one stars but I certainly might have missed something along the way.

  • avatar


    I much prefer the interior in the CX-7.

  • avatar

    This is a vehicle I really WANT to like, but the price and mileage are killers. VW just HAS to figure out a way to address their pricing issues. Right after that, they need to figure out what kind of car company they want to be, because I get the sense they haven’t gotten the Phaeton-izing out of their system yet. Why do they insist the Golf in the US has to to have the horrid 2.5L 5 as its BASE engine? I can sort of understand BMW’s problem with brand perception and 4-bangers in the US, but VW? It’s an econobox for crissake! Where’s the 1.6 or 1.8L 4 that gets 35mpg?
    VW is DEFINITELY the GM of Europe….!

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Good point but…. VW is widely considered to offer far worse quality than most other manufacturers. They need to offer an extensive 8 year / 80k to 10 year / 100k warranty if they are to become even remotely successful in this market.

    The price premium simply isn’t worth it compared to their (mostly Japanese) competition. VW has to offer the compelling All-American argument of ‘value’ which they are not able to do right now.

  • avatar

    There are a total of eight AC vents in the dashboard, but they’re each about an inch and a half in diameter and you can never seem to get them adjusted to blow where you want

    Okay, I need to go work on an idea I just got for a great new in-car-entertainment gadget. Will read the rest of the review when I return…

  • avatar

    Michael Karesh and AKM…

    Really…WHY buy this over the CX7?
    The MPG on the CX7 is 17/23.
    The VW 18/24.
    And the 2 don’t even come close as comparable cars.
    The CX7 is awesome…except for the MPG.
    Thats why I never went there.
    But I’ll be damned if I would choose the VW and still get the poor MPG.

  • avatar

    Interesting about the Tiguan interior; The Saturn ION tried same shiny metal trick on its dash to add upscale appeal, and only made it look worse.
    Are interior surfaces hard or soft touch?
    Seems like darker glass’s needed for that huge moonroof (Tiguan’s not alone with moonroof heating issues!).
    How did the AWD system behave? Is it an actual AWD system or reactive system (FWD until wheels slip)?

    Wrt RAV4 I got to drive V6 AWD and found it oddly unresponsive and front heavy, not particularly sporty.

    Frank, hopefully sometime you will get to drive that Forester XT and compare to Tiguan, etc. No surprise if you find XT interior el-cheapo.

  • avatar

    I first saw and sat in this car in Germany. What a fantastic looking machine! I really like the exterior – it is simple, classy, and does not have the hideous “I’m going to eat you!” grill the is featured on other VWs/Audis.

    I found both the front and rear seats to be supremely comfy (I’m 5′-10″).

    I was really excited when I found out that the manual would be available in the states, but unfortunately it is on the base model (no sunroof opt on the base). I don’t want/need AWD, but a manual and a sunroof are a must for my next whip.

    With regards to cannibalizing/sportwagen/golf, I think the Tiguan is the more attractive than the golf, golf plus, and sportwagen. Whether or not that’s worth the extra $ … for me, yes. Also, in the UK/Europe the Tiguan is rated to tow 5000+ lbs! The Golf and Jetta do not have this capability (although 90% of European Tiguan buyers will probably never tow anything).

    As is usual, the US version of the Tiguan is rated to tow significantly less than the EU version. If automakers are reading this: WHY ARE THE US TOW RATINGS FOR CARS SO MUCH LOWER THAN ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD? (ASSHOLES).

    Soo … back to my cannibalizing point: the Tiguan and other CUVs combine the worst aspects of SUV’s and cars. Also, because of the lowish tow rating of most CUVs, they are not more useful than the cheaper car/wagon options. Therefore, VW has shot itself in the foot.

    I really don’t care though! Because of looks alone (oh, and those seats), this CUV gets my approval. (Disclaimer: I have not driven the Tiguan, and reserve final judgement till that time).

  • avatar

    It is a good looking car, and will likely sell. Hope it holds together though. VW doesn’t need any worse rep for reliability.

  • avatar

    I’d consider this as a possible vehicle for the wife.

    But, as with every other VW I’ve ever looked at, reliability scares me off, and there’s other better quality, more powerful, and cheaper alternatives.

    VW’s to me seem to fit a niche market, ala Subaru’s. People who want a VW will get one, everyone else doesn’t really know they’re an (imo, inferior) option.

    edit: inferior not referencing subaru’s. I like them.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Michael Karesh
    Why do you assume Mexican workers are to blame for VW’s reliability issues?

    Most reliability issues can be traced to engineering, design, or the component manufacturer, not assembly. Were Mexican workers to blame for all the coil packs and window regulators that failed on MkIV VWs?

    All I’m saying is that when VW moved its manufacturing/assembly to Mexico, the quality started to suffer considerably (such as the coil packs and window regulators in the MKIV Jettas). I don’t blame the workers (they’re just doing what the mother ship tells them to do), I blame VW for cutting costs to the point where they have entirely lost their reputation as a reliable brand. Go sit in a Beetle and then sit in a GTI… it’s hard to believe they come from the same manufacturer. One is made in mexico, one is made in germany, and it’s a stark, stark contrast.

    You’re the one with the data… I bet you if you pulled reliability numbers for VWs built in mexico, and the ones built in germany, and stacked them side by side, it’d show that the ones built in germany have fewer reliability issues. Feel free to prove me wrong. I’m sure it’d make a great editorial if you do, because the consensus among VW owners (if you hang out on VWvortex and similar forums) is that the ones made in Mexico are junk.

  • avatar

    For that type of cash, I’d get the Toyota Rav4 Sport V6, enjoy the 270-hp, better fuel economy, lower base price, superior reliability, and the optional 3rd row seat.

    And I must say, I think the Toyota badge is more prestigious than the VW one.

  • avatar

    Kinda late to the party, methinks.
    BTW, anybody else notice that VeeDub is flogging the new Routan van on the telly? I believe it is the showcar Microbus replacement, a badge-engineered Mopar van. That was fast! Guess the Pentastar folks had some excess capacity…

  • avatar

    A friend of mine drove this and then drove the RDX. He bought the RDX with 4k miles on it and Acura’s extended warranty for less than the Tiguan.

    Pricing is making VW step up to the plate with 2 strikes.

  • avatar

    Am I the only one that HATES VW’s current design direction? The previous generation Jetta, Passat and Golf were beautiful cars. They were simple and elegant and looked like they cost much more than they actually did. The current crop of Volkswagens are disjointed and chunky. This latest Tiguan looks horrible in my opinion. The front overhang is huge, and the wheels look incredibly tiny in their huge wheel wells.

    Also, the interior, while I’m sure has great materials used throughout, looks really cheap. Those vents are not doing the car any favors, and I think the interior would be far better looking with conventional vents.

    Lastly, if you think this vehicle is a rip-off in the states, check out Canadian pricing: starts at $27,575 and goes to $38,375! Add the $3450 Technology Package, and you’re over $40,000 before tax! For comparison’s sake, a CR-V EX-L Navi costs $37,790. So, the VW is gonna cost about $4000 more, and is trying to challenge an established name, like CR-V. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think the new guy wins by costing more than the benchmark. I highly doubt there will be many buyers…

  • avatar

    Yes! VW used to have nice clean designs which have all gone south. I never liked the wide mouth grill it shares with Audi, and the current Jetta is a textbook example of how to take a great looking car and make it incredibly boring.

    The current Passats are the best looking of the bunch, probably the size helps with the new chunky design. But still, it aint sayin much…

    As for SUV and now this CUV, I cant stand look at those things. They all look like International Harvester Travelall wannabes to me.

  • avatar

    Can’t wait for the Porsche mini-ute!

    The Paprika!


    The Q5 which is the same car but nicer seems like the better deal compared to this Vee-dub, even if it´s a few grand more.

    The materials used in this VW aren´t bad but I´m not feeling the styling, the Q5´s is a lot nicer and the materials are a little bit better still.

    On top of that the Q5 looks much better on the outside as well, and just seems better placed in the market. As the review states, if you´re going for a well spec´d model you end up paying well over 30k for a Tiguan and the step up to the Q5 isn´t so big anymore I would imagine. On top of that the premium price is more justified by the premium badge on the grill, which is important for many of the people in the market for this type of vehicle.

    I don´t know in what shape/form/spec the Q5 will be available in the US but if they do decide to offer it with the 2.0T as well it´s bound to be trouble for the VW.

  • avatar

    Why would anyone want this over an Audi A3? The Tiguan is just heavier, thirstier and slower and doesn’t offer much more in the way of utility.

  • avatar

    The Tiguan name was chosen over a list of other names put forward by Volkswagen, including Rockton, Nanuk, Samun and Namib. Some 350,000 readers were involved in the poll.

    Toyota RAV4, Suzuki Vitara, Honda CR-V, VW Tiguan… = All of them are baby SUVs.

    Call them what you like, baby SUVs are for those who are aroused with the feeling of a SUV, but find SUVs difficult to drive along crowded European streets.

    I don’t like them. Small hatches, sport coupes, sport sedans, coupe crossovers and luxury SUVs are my favorite types of vehicles. To hell with those wannabe-but-maybe-not-SUVs.

    Golf based Tiguan in EU is considered as city-only utlity vehicle, as oposed to Touareg and other real SUVs like BMW X5, Audi Q6, Opel Antara, Mitsubishi Pajero and Jeep Cherokee.

  • avatar

    What the hell is Tiguan? A tiger crossed with an iguana?

  • avatar


    If the New Beetle is cheap inside, then it’s because that’s how it was designed–in Germany. I don’t see how the Mexican point of manufacture has anything to do with it. Designing the New Beetle primarily for the U.S. market–that probably has more to do with it.

    People like simple explanations. On Acura forums, it’s Japan = good, U.S. = bad. On VW forums, it’s German = good, Mexico = bad. I suppose when you’re paying extra for a German car, you want to believe that anything from Germany is inherently better, and consequently want the car to be touched only by German hands.

    I do remember people posting photos on the ‘tex of 2006.5 GTIs with awful panel fits.

    As for the data, it turns out that nearly all of my 2007 and 2008 MkV owners have the Rabbit or the GTI–not many Jettas. I do have a lot of 2005.5-2006 Jetta owners. In general, I get more participants from the first year of a design than for later years.

    Anyway, the most comparable numbers I have:

    2005.5-2006 Jetta — 52 repair trips per 100 vehicles per year

    2007 Jetta — 32 per 100, but based on only 13 cars

    2006.5-2007 Rabbit and GTI — 52 per 100

    2008 Rabbit and GTI — 32 per 100

    The Passat has a higher repair rate than the MkV Rabbit and Jetta–80 per 100 for the 2006, 61 per 100 for the 2007, 55 per 100 for the 2008 (small sample size for the last)–and it’s made in Germany.

    And the Touareg? No results for it yet, but the rep certainly isn’t good.

  • avatar

    Has VW made any remarks about building Tiguan in their upcoming USA factory?

  • avatar

    “And the Touareg? No results for it yet, but the rep certainly isn’t good.”

    It certainly wasn’t for a co-worker who purchased an ’08 Touareg. After a month or so, electrical gremlins began to appear such as erratically functioning lights, locks, windows, radio, etc. (when did VW hire the Prince of Darkness?). It then spent the better part of a month at the dealer while they went through the electrical system. If there was any upside to the whole thing, they replaced the radio with an upgraded unit with nav. for the owner’s trouble.

    Also know a few others with “troubled” VW’s, so I don’t think they’ll be on my shopping list anytime soon – regardless of whether it’s source is Europe, Mexico or wherever.

  • avatar

    You’re the one with the data… I bet you if you pulled reliability numbers for VWs built in mexico, and the ones built in germany, and stacked them side by side, it’d show that the ones built in germany have fewer reliability issues.


    according to consumer reports, the gti and all over 2.0turboed vw’s are the ones that have been iffy with regards to reliability, regardless of well built.

    both the mexican made jettas and wolfsburg made rabbits with the mexi 2.5 have proven thier reliaiblity and have had litte to no issues.

    i’d still not hesitate on owning a gti, even with the quirks, but in the same way that honda guys think that the models built in japan are inherently ‘better’ and are mistaken, the same goes with vw.

    as far as the new beetle goes, my wife just got an 08, and we used to own an 07 mkv rabbit. there is a reason the gti is nicer. well, actually two.

    1. the mk V is a MUCH newer design, the beetle is almost what, ten years old? if anything its held up rather well. it feels more upscale then my 7 year old honda fit, and feels ‘newer’ than a civic designed 10 years ago.
    2. the mkV gti is the top of the line mkV (with the exception of the r32) and hence is shod more nicely. you could also say that its interior is nicer than a base rabbits no? thats understandable.

    and to all posting the ‘where is the fuel ecnomy and smaller engines!!??’

    you would be the same people to criticize how slow it would accelerate as well.

  • avatar

    Given a quick read of Audi Q5 specs, it’s longer and lower than the Tiguan (based on the new A4 platform), and apparently uses longitudinal rather than traverse engine layouts. It’s also coming with a 6-cylinder engine rather than the 4-cyl the Tiguan offers.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Q5 pricing reflects the differences.

  • avatar

    Isn’t there some sort of sliding interior panel for the transparent sunroof to keep the heat down? Even the Mustang’s new glass roof (which covers the entire top) has a sliding panel.

    If not, VW would surely have to be the only current manufacturer that offers a sunroof in such a manner, making the omission virtually unfathomable.

  • avatar


    If I had no other SUV, then height alone would be a factor. I am likely going out of town Friday, and taking the wife’s car because we suspect a foot of water in the streets on Saturday, and she made need to go into work. Some people in snowy areas may have the same issue. Higher means less need of shoveling if you live where they don’t plow.

  • avatar

    Introducing a cute ute with this MPG in this market is a no go.

    VW Tig: 18/24
    Rav4 V6 FWD: 19/27 (with 271 hp!)
    Escape V6 FWD: 18/28
    Subie Forester AWD: 18/26
    Subie Outback AWD (20/26)…(surprisingly, same as the forester!)
    CRV AWD: 20/26
    Nissan Rogue: 20/26.

  • avatar

    Given a quick read of Audi Q5 specs, it’s longer and lower than the Tiguan (based on the new A4 platform), and apparently uses longitudinal rather than traverse engine layouts. It’s also coming with a 6-cylinder engine rather than the 4-cyl the Tiguan offers.

    I thought the Tiguan and Q5 shared platforms but you’re right, they don’t, although in my defense it was originally intended that they would :)

    It seems someone at VAG realized it wouldn’t be a smart idea.

    Still, the Q5 is already launched in Europe and it will also come with the 2.0T (with 2 different HP outputs) and a 2.0 TDI over here, alongside the 3.0TDI/3.2 FSI, but oftentimes it remains to be seen which of those will make it to the US as well, although I’d imagine offering the 2.0T would make sense from the perspective of Audi at least.

  • avatar

    Isn’t there some sort of sliding interior panel for the transparent sunroof to keep the heat down?

    There is a translucent window shade (some kind of fabric, not a solid panel) that rolls back and forth. However, it’s perforated, fairly thin and isn’t insulated. There’s about an inch of air space between it and the glass that traps a lot of heat which then radiates into the passenger compartment. During the week I drove it I was never comfortably cool during the daytime unless it was cloudy. While I really liked it, there’s no way I’d own a Tiguan with this greenhouse option.

    Interestingly, the Q7 I reviewed had a similar sunroof setup but its sliding screens were heavier and did block the heat. I guess that’s what the difference between $33k and $67k will get you.

  • avatar

    Frank Williams: “Interestingly, the Q7 I reviewed had a similar sunroof setup but its sliding screens were heavier and did block the heat. I guess that’s what the difference between $33k and $67k will get you.”Those are some expensive sunshades…

  • avatar

    I wonder what they’d call this in China.

    “tiguan” sounds like “hinting pipe” in Chinese.

  • avatar

    Not that long ago, I read that Tiguan is the combination of the German words tiger and iguana.

    Tiger in German is the same
    Iguana in German is leguan

    Out of some wierd word play, the same word works in both English and German.

  • avatar

    Under the hood, you’ll find VAG’s increasingly ubiquitous though most excellent turbocharged 2.0-liter mill

    How is this most “excellent?” Premium fuel required, sub-standard MPG’s and a not too flawless record of reliability.

    I’d much rather take a Honda v-tec 4 pot with better MPG’s and rock solid reliability without the turbo.

  • avatar

    I’ve checked out the Tiguan and it is just about the best overall cute ute there is…but DAMN is it expensive and the mileage is almost less than the real world mileage we get in our 2008 Highlander Ltd V6 that weighs 4400 lbs and will tow 5000 lbs…Just not an acceptable combo of traits…the Tiguan is going to be a tough sell…As of Sept 8th – I have seen a grand total of 1 on the road…and we have 3 large VW dealers in metro Buffalo where I live…

  • avatar

    I’m going to base my decision on the credibility of this and future TTAC reviews solely on TTACs future VW Routan review. If there ever is one.

  • avatar

    This would be great with a diesel and put it in a class of its own. No Tdi is a deal breaker. I don’t get VW.

  • avatar

    Blah. I’m so completely bored with all these jacked-up wagons with no space for luggage. I haven’t seen even one CUV that interests me more than a V70 or Outback.

  • avatar

    I don’t have much to say except TTAC sure has a lot of 4/5 star reviews lately.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    First off: Another fine name choice by VW…they pick archaic names based upon African tribes or weather phenomena, but then add the odd English “4Motion” useless mumbo-jumbo. Yay!

    Second off, if you are really going to buy an expensive VW, buy one that Germans actually drive. Seriously, how many Tiguans (Tiguani?) are slated for sale in the Fatherland? This thing, engineered for our wide butts and CUV egos, will have none of the DNA of the VW vehicles we really want; it’s not built for the Autobahn…so why spend the extra $$$ for it? Oh wait, I already answered that…our hipster doofus egos.

  • avatar

    it’s not built for the Autobahn

    Are any VW’s really built for the autobahn? If anyone is making an entry level autobahn vehicle it’s the zoom-zoom people at Mazda. I would argue for every VW model there is a competitor model for less money that is more an equal or more engaging drive.

    The “German” engineering gimmick worked 15 years ago, but today their cars do not stand out against the Japanese rivals and many VW models are approaching prices where the move up to Audi, Mercedes and BMW is minimal for 10x the vehicle.

    I like to harp on Volkswagen because I think they get a pass because they are German owned. Wonder if Volvo would get the same if they were still Swedish owned? The 4 of 5 stars is ridiculous when the Tiguan fails against its competition in major areas – price…fuel econ…historical reliability. VW fans will buy it just like Jeep fans will only buy their brand, but at the end of the day it’s not a winner.

  • avatar

    Romanjetfighter says “And I must say, I think the Toyota badge is more prestigious than the VW one”. I didn’t know that VW had a badge, all I have ever seen labelled on their cars is, well “VW”.

  • avatar

    Looks like the Audi version of the Tiguan will be the Q3, due here sometime late 2011. No idea yet what differs, or what will justify the higher Audi price.

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