Everyone knows that SUVs are outselling cars by every matrix that tracks such business. But what if you aren’t quite ready for the full-blown SUV experience? You would like to gradually progress into the segment instead. The brand from Wolfsburg has a Volkswagen Tiguan SE that will ease you home nicely.
Loaded with “near Audi” features, the Volkswagen Tiguan is available as a five or seven-passenger compact SUV. Depending on your choice of driveline, it’s larger than Mazda’s CX5 and peppier than a Nissan Rogue. Our tester was a nicely appointed Volkswagen Tiguan SE which included 17-inch wheels, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a host of other safety assists. Other features resulted in a priced-right SUV that ends up being the perfect long-haul travel partner.
HEY, HEY, GOOD LOOKING…
Elegant and sporty, the Tiguan SE is a crisp, Euro-centric take on the modern-day compact SUV. Design cues include smart creases, chrome accents, and a bold grille with the VW logo. At the rear, LED taillights offer a premium appearance that sets it apart from its competitive set which includes the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4. Find out more about these vehicles soon at Napleton News. Buyers can step up from base S, and SE models to the SEL Premium and available R-Line packages with unique wheels and a sportier appearance.
The Volkswagen Tiguan offers buyers a set of firm yet extremely comfortable front seats, which include a power driver’s setting as well as a manually adjusted front passenger seat. We were surprised at every turn, discovering storage space we didn’t know existed. Whether it was a front bin with USB connections for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, or an armrest storage bin, seat-back pockets and door storage, it was all here.
The second-row seating offered slide and recline adjustments that were both comfortable and helped ease third row access. Foldable in a 40-20-40 configuration, they allow various seating arrangements to maximize passenger and cargo capabilities. The middle row slides forward for more third row legroom, although we suggest these seats for smaller, younger passengers. While some Tiguan vehicles are only outfitted for two-row seating, our three-row version features 12 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Folding those seats forward increases the area to 33 cubic feet, while lowering all seats increases the capacity to 65.7 cubic feet of cargo-carrying ability.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Behind the wheel of the Tiguan, we found an extremely competent SUV that seemed to think it was a sporty-type car. Acceleration from the 184 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine was satisfying in motion. Pumping out 221 lb-ft of torque, the turbo was always ready for a quick pass, but not without squawking about it. Jumping on it from a standing start required a bit of forethought when merging into fast moving traffic. The 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic seemed to step nicely into gear but always seemed just a bit taller than we would have liked, causing slower acceleration than needed at any particular moment.
Handling showed the Tiguan to be a very agile performer, adept at rapid lane changes and avoidance maneuvers as it was cruising all day on the Interstate Highways. That became handy when trying to negotiate past lolly-gagging traffic that clogs the roadways everywhere. Credit goes to VW’s ride engineers for the stellar road feel from the steering wheel all the way down to the accelerator and brake pedals.
We enjoyed the relative solitude inside the cabin. VW cabin engineers managed to isolate most of the sound intrusion before it managed to worm its way inside.
If there were a shortcoming in the Tiguan, it would be in the ECO functions which causes the vehicle to default into Auto Start/Stop mode. Rougher than we would have liked it to be, we ended up pushing the on/off button instead, which disabled the system entirely. Problem? What problem?
VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN SE SPECIFICATIONS
Type: Five or Seven Passenger SUV
Power: 2.0-liter Turbocharged four-cylinder engine, FWD
Horsepower: 184 horsepower @ 4,400 rpm
Torque: 221 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with Tiptronic
Suspension Front: Strut type with lower control arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar
Suspension Rear: Multilink, coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar
Steering: Electric Power Assisted Rack and Pinion
Length: 185.1 inches
Wheelbase: 109.8 inches
Width: 72.4 inches
Height: 66.3 inches
Ground Clearance: 7.9 inches
Curb Weight: 3,757 inches
Towing ability: 1,500 pounds
EPA Fuel Economy: 22 city / 29 highway / 25 average