Auto Review: Putting the sport in sports utility
By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Wed., Jun. 20, 2012
The headline about comes directly from the Volkswagen PR department, and refers to their midsize Tiguan SUV, which they are enthusiastically sharing with us this week. The Tiguan is the smaller of VW’s two crossover SUV offerings (the other being the Touareg), and is designed to be both highly versatile and nimble both on the road and on the trail. Incidentally, if you’re curious about where the name Tiguan comes from, VW’s Mark Gillies tells me, “It’s pretty simple: The German magazine AutoBild held a competition to come up with the name. It’s an amalgam of ‘tiger’ and ‘leguan’ (German for iguana).” So you have a crowd-sourced appellation that, as it turns out, fits like a glove, and seems to add an adventurous feel to a versatile utility with very comfortable accommodations.
The 2012 model features remodeled exterior elements, including freshened front and rear-end styling, as well as a standard turbocharged, 2-liter, 200-horsepower engine and a choice of either Front Wheel or VW’s 4Motion All Wheel Drive. The Front Drive model gets a choice of either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, while the 4Motion gets the automatic gearbox. The Tiguan rides on a tight 102.5-inch wheelbase, and we tested a Front Drive version with the automatic transmission. While under certain circumstances there’s some turbo lag, overall the drivetrain is both spirited and refined. 60 mph arrived in 7.6 seconds, and midrange performance was strong.
Despite the relatively tall profile, handling is sound, with flat cornering, and the vehicle does indeed have a tight, sporty feel. Bump isolation is excellent, and the Tiguan is one of those rare birds that feels like it was carved from a solid block of something substantial, imparting a sense of meticulous build quality. Braking performance is likewise strong, and in modern VW fashion, the Tiguan is chock full of the latest in safety technology to not only deal with collisions, but help avoid them in the first place.
Inside, the Tiguan shares instrument layouts with other VW interiors, meaning they have a unique approach to several switches and controls such as the cruise control and the interface for the audio/Navigation system. But once mastered, the Tiguan is easy to live with, and the V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces seem both comfortable and tough. The rear seats are surprisingly commodious for such a compact vehicle, and feature a 40/20/40 split to the rear seatbacks for maximum versatility when folding to haul cargo and/or people. The center section also functions as an excellent fold-down center armrest for when you have just one or two rear-seat occupants. With all the seatbacks folded, you have a total of 56.1 cubic feet of load space.
Not surprisingly, with the Direct Fuel Injection of the Turbocharged engine, fuel economy is commendable, with an EPA-rated 22 MPG city/27 highway, and we experienced 25.9 MPG during week with the vehicle. The base price of the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan FWD SE with a sunroof and Navigation System is $30, 525, and with Destination Charges our sticker came to $31,345. www.vw.com