By KBB.com Editors
When Volkswagen first launched the Tiguan, it called the little SUV the GTI of compact SUVs; a bold statement considering the hot hatchback's legendary handling abilities, but not completely without merit. For 2011, that statement has been dialed back a bit, but the Tiguan remains a true performance-oriented compact SUV with real off-road ability. Powered by a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, the Tiguan provides more hustle than a CR-V or RAV4, but is pretty evenly matched when placed against Subaru's turbocharged Forester XT. Compared to the competition, the Tiguan has a lot going for it, including a substantial number of standard safety and comfort features, terrific performance and great styling. Starting out around $24,500 for the base model and topping out well past the $37,000 mark for a loaded SEL, steep pricing may unfortunately turn out to be the Tiguan's Achilles' heel.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking to move out of your big SUV, but still need a vehicle that can haul a fair amount of cargo, comfortably hold four passengers and has plenty of power on hand, the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan makes for a painless transition.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for compact SUV starting under $24K, need a third-row seat or a warranty lasting longer than 3 years/36,000 miles, the Tiguan probably won't make your top ten list.What's New for 2011
Apart from some upgraded radios and new colors, there are no major changes for the 2011 Tiguan.Driving It Driving Impressions
With a sub-eight-second zero-to-60 run, the 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine certainly moves the Tiguan like a GTI, but the little SUV's tall ride height and softer suspension don't inspire the same thrilling cornering ability. We found the six-speed manual somewhat lacking, with long throws and too much play between gears. The Tiptronic automatic actually works better in this vehicle and is the only transmission available on the SE and SEL, as well as with the 4Motion all-wheel drive system. On the highway, the Tiguan's well insulated cabin minimizes outside noise, even with the enormous panoramic glass sunroof installed. The Tiguan's ride is fine so long as the pavement below remains smooth, and the steering response, braking and the overall drivability are above average for this class.Favorite Features
Touch Screen Navigation with Rear Camera
VW's latest navigation system features 3D viewing angle, intuitive controls and a 30 gigabyte hard drive for storing map data and audio files.
Panoramic Glass Sunroof
Optional on the SE and SEL, the massive panoramic glass sunroof covers nearly 13 square feet, bathing occupants in light and fresh air. A power sunshade shields occupants when tanning time ends.
Like most VW products, the Tiguan's interior is awash in high quality materials and thoughtful placed controls. Although the base S model's interior seems a bit drab, up-level SE and SEL trims, with their contrasting materials and optional leather seating, are quite appealing. Though not as generous with cargo space as the Jetta SportWagen, rear seats that slide forward a full six inches help increase storage when necessary. An optional panoramic glass roof opens the entire cabin to sunlight and features a power sunshade for when the UV rays become too strong.Exterior
From a distance, the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan might be mistaken for the larger Touareg, but move closer and the vehicle's unique identity quickly becomes evident. The distinctive fascia imparts a sporty image, as do the racy 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels found on the SE and SEL trims. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes and an Electronic Stability Program, and nearly seven-inches of ground clearance permits the Tiguan to traverse deep snow and off-road obstacles with ease.Notable Standard Equipment
The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, six-speed manual transmission, traction and stability control, electronic differential lock, six airbags (front, front side and front and rear side curtain), power heated side mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, cloth or V-Tex leatherette seating, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with single CD player, tilt and telescopic steering wheel and an electronic parking brake with hold mode.Notable Optional Equipment
Options vary by trim and include 4Motion all-wheel drive, six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels (S), panoramic glass sunroof, leather seating, heated front seats, 300-watt Dynaudio stereo, in-dash CD changer, navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 12-way power adjustable driver's seat.Under the Hood
Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with direct fuel injection is arguably one of the best four-cylinder engines on the market. It's smooth, quiet and always a willing supplier of horsepower and torque. Pumping out 200 horsepower, the 2.0-liter still manages highway fuel economy in the mid-20 mpg range, even when saddled with the extra weight of the 4Motion all wheel drive system.
2.0-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
200 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (manual), 20/25 (automatic), 19/25 (4Motion)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the front-wheel drive 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan S starts just under $24,500, while the SE Sport trim starts closer to $29,000 and the SEL around $33,500. 4Motion all-wheel drive adds about $2,000 to the Tiguan's bottom line. By comparison, Honda's CR-V EX with all-wheel drive starts just over $26,000 and just under $29,000 in EX-L form with the leather package. Other competitors in this price range include the, Subaru Forester XT and Outback, Mazda CX-7, Chevrolet Equinox and the Toyota RAV4. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see what others in your area paid for their Tiguan. As for resale, we expect the Tiguan to hold good resale value, better than the Chevrolet Equinox and Subaru Forester, but still below the,Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.