The sole 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine isn’t the upgraded 2-liter turbo from the GTI but it still makes a respectable 200hp. You can have it with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive if you desire the extra traction. We hadn’t had the opportunity to test drive the front-wheel-drive form but instead had the Sport trim with 4-motion all-wheel-drive. The combo together doesn’t feel sluggish at all thanks to high torque at low revs and a smooth six-speed automatic. It really is a GTI on stilts because not only is it fast but it feels very agile where it matters most. It’s not GTI athletic but you’ll get our point here. Steering feedback isn’t as crisp as that of a GTI but it does the job better than some of its keen rivals. Where the Tiguan might fall short is on ride comfort, with the large alloy wheels it did feel a bit more firm than we’d like but the tradeoff is always decent handling and in our books that’s not really something to complain much of. Wind and road noise are well suppressed and the engine is mainly hushed at relaxed speeds.
The interior doesn’t feel up to par with some of its keen rivals but it still feels classy. The touch-screen infotainment system while it is easy to use, it still is distracting to use because of all the various menus. (We’ve said this about several infotainment systems and we will still think that they’re distracting while on the go.) The front seats offer plenty of support while the rear seat offers plenty of space for three abreast. The boot space isn’t as versatile as the Golf’s but it is a decent size and offers plenty of versatility when the rear seat is folded down.
We’d say it’s best to skip the S trims and the Wolfsburg trims as well and go right for the Sport trims. It comes with Bi-Xenon headlights, panorama sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels and dual-zone climate control. You may pay a slight premium for it but we think that it is well worth it. The interior materials are much improved and the overall appearance makes the Tiguan feel like a classy package.
It’s hard trying to find the right compact crossover that fits you the best, especially with so many of them to choose from. But we’ve broken it down with this statement. Buy the Tiguan Sport or SEL because those are the classiest forms, everyone else is better off looking elsewhere because the Tiguan is less than average among heavy hitters like the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson.
Likes: Turbo engine offers the flexibility we love. The interior is classy VW and the standard kit list is pretty good too.
Dislikes: The more expensive trims feel the classiest. The new Tiguan is around the corner and has three-rows of seats.
Our pick: Go right for the Sport or SEL trims. You may have to pay extra for them but they feel well worth the premium.