The Volkswagen Tiguan, refreshed for 2012, represents another step in the German automaker’s new unified design scheme. Most of their vehicles have now undergone the surgery to make them look like part of a family, and as the Tiguan takes its turn under the knife, it receives some genes from the dignified Touareg. At once, the Tiguan looks more mature, becoming less cute/more ‘ute. Our tester was loaded in Highline trim, which means it receives some of the fancier gear to set it apart from the rest of the lineup. In the mix are things like 19-inch Savannah wheels with sporty rubber, Bi-Xenon headlights, and LED daytime running lights which look to be curbed straight from the Touareg parts bin. These things combine to create a sharp-dressed little crossover, albeit an expensive one as well. In this Highline trim, the Tiguan will set you back $44,155, including freight and PDI. For that money, you could just as well go purchase a BMW X3, but the Tiguan will easily rival its German competitor on features and value. It may not have the luxury behind its name, but the technology is all there.
Inside the Tiguan, you might as well be in a BMW for the level of quality and features. In fact, at the price of the VW, the BMW is just getting started, and you’re likely to spend well over $50K to get the amenities in the X3 that our tester displayed. Items like Vienna leather seats, panoramic sunroof, and the Technology Package ($2,300) which adds things like touch screen navigation and a kick-ass Dynaudio stereo system. These are things that would make BMW go, show me the money!!! To a certain extent, you get the same response from VW, who is asking for over $40K for a small crossover, but this vehicle is well worth the price of entry. The seats are covered in sumptuous leather, and VW really knows how to do soft-touch dash materials like no one else. Here’s a hint to manufacturers looking to improve their interior material quality; go study how Volkswagen does it.
The Sport Package ($1,900) is hard to resist for how it transforms the entire look of the Tiguan. The Sport Package includes those aforementioned gorgeous 19-inch wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights, and ‘U’-shaped LED daytime running lights. With these features included, suddenly the Tiguan becomes very chic, upscale, and frankly, a little bad-ass. There’s certainly a touch of attitude in those flared wheel arches. One point we need to mention that detracts from the appeal of the Sport Package is the addition of the so-called ‘sport suspension’. Sure, the Tiguan now corners like it thinks it’s a small sports car, but the sacrifice for this control is ride quality. If you value your spine and perhaps the integrity of your joints, you want to avoid this sport suspension at all costs. This leads us to a nasty conundrum; those LED lights and achingly beautiful 19-inch Savannah wheels are only available with the Sport Package. We’re a sucker for form over function, so sadly, we’d likely sacrifice our comfort for the sake of looking oh so good.
In the get-up and go department, the Tiguan is only available with the perky, turbocharged 2.0L from the wicked GTI hatchback. The Tiguan is much portlier than the compact hatch, so naturally those available 200 horses are not as responsive, but the crossover is no slouch. A bit of turbo lag does rear its ugly head when trying to get off the line quickly, but you get over that pretty fast when the full effect kicks in and brings you up to speed in an efficient manner. While the Tiguan is offered with a 6-speed manual in the base trim, the all-wheel drive trim is only available with a Tiptronic 6-speed automatic. For some added fun factor, the GTI hatch will supply paddle shifters when the automatic is chosen, but the Tiguan gives you no such choice. The automatic does offer a manual mode as well as a Sport mode, but alas, not at the same time.
The Tiguan 4Motion all-wheel drive has fuel economy ratings of 9.8 L/100km in the city, and 7.4 L/100km on the highway. During our week of driving, we averaged a not-so-impressive 10.5 L/100km.
Initially, we were thrown by the steep entry price to the Tiguan, but after experiencing all the technology inside this vehicle, the comfortable, high-quality interior, not-so-comfortable ride, and great new styling including the Sport (appearance) Package, we might have been convinced that this is, indeed, a bargain! There are other manufacturers that might be able to throw together a package that on paper looks like it has all the same features for a much lower price, but there really isn’t anyone save the luxury marques that can come close to presenting the level of quality throughout every part of a vehicle like Volkswagen does.
- High quality interior materials and switchgear
- Sport Package styling additions
We don’t like…
- Rough ride of sport suspension
- 19-inch wheels & LED lights only available with Sport Package
Quick Spec Summary
2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline
Pepper Grey Metallic with Black Vienna Leather interior
6-speed automatic transmission
2.0L Turbo I4 – 200 hp / 207 lb-ft
Curb Weight – 1,647 / 3,631 lb
64 L tank – 9.8 / 7.4 L/100km (city/hwy)
Recommended Fuel – Premium
Base MSRP – $38,375
Options – $4,200
Freight & PDI - $1,580
Total MSRP – $44,155
Options on Tester
- Sport Package – $1,900
- Technology Package – $2,300
Chuck Reimer for Auto Addiction
**Full disclosure: at the time of this writing, this author was on a co-op work term with an automotive manufacturer; however, this press vehicle was driven prior to employment.**