BY Bob Gritzinger, Contributor | @bobgritzinger OK, so the center…
The folks at Volkswagen have been pumping out successful SUV’s since the early 2000’s. Now that they have a major American presence, including a factory in Tennessee and North American headquarters in Virginia, VW is honing in on what Americans want — compact sport utility vehicles.
Meet the Tiguan, a CUV borne of the words “tiger” and “iguana”
Design-wise, the Tiguan is a decent-looking compact crossover both inside and out. We liked the bright red metallic paint and light tan interior found on our tester, which came loaded with the SE 4Motion with Appearance trim. We also loved the panoramic sunroof (we’re kind of obsessed with these mega sunroofs) you can enjoy no matter how bright the sky. VW’s pano roof included a clever mesh lining to allow just enough light in to give the cabin that extra roomy feel yet not make you reach for your sunglasses and SPF 100.
Sadly, our admiration pretty much stopped short at the driver’s seat. Once the driver sits in the Tiguan, he or she may be hard pressed to find a seating position that doesn’t feel awkward. This is where an 8-way power seat could come in handy — the driver’s seat must be adjusted manually unless you’re reclining. This combined with the way the dashboard juts down below the steering column left us unsuccessful at getting nestled in comfortably.
Another challenge for the Tiguan is that it competes with its German brethren the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA250. At least two of these brands are ahead of VW in fit and finish details on their entry-level SUVs (let’s just say we weren’t impressed by the X1).
Key VW Tiguan SE 4Motion with Appearance Features:
- 2.0L TSI engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission
- 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels
- 4Motion all-wheel-drive
- V-Tex leatherette seating
- Panoramic sunroof with mesh lining
- Front fog and cornering lights
- chrome exterior accents and roof rails
- Keyless access with push-button start
- Six airbags: driver and front passenger, front side airbags, curtain
system for front and rear passengers
Life with the VW Tiguan
Cargo space is naturally going to be limited in any of the petite SUVs on the market today. The Tiguan’s rear trunk space is reminiscent of the first generation X3 – without folding down the rear passenger seats, storage capacity is quite limited. Assuming you don’t plan to have a full car for a long road trip, room should be sufficient for you, your guests and all of your gear. If not, we’d recommend investing in a cargo carrier to sit atop this CUV.
For the nearly $33,000 price tag, the Volkswagen option is likely the most affordable among the German brands; however, its more likely to compete with non-luxury makes such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson. If you’re not a VW loyalist, then we recommend searching the Tiguan’s competition. There are plenty of crossovers on the market today that can satisfy the compactness and utility of VW’s small SUV while also providing a more enjoyable driving experience.
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