Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • Midsize SUV Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs
  • Compact SUV Buyer's Guide
  • 15 Best Family Cars of 2015
Go

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

As an entry in one of the automotive market's fastest-growing segments, sales of Volkswagen's compact SUV should be firing on all cylinders. Regrettably, early resistance to both its styling and pricing made VW's "kinda-cute" ute a tougher sell than projected. An aggressive freshening of its styling for 2012, along with an entry-level price point of under $24,000, provides VW with an opportunity to turn the Tiguan story around. And that could be helped in no small way by the number of new customers attracted to VW's Jetta and Passat; proximity, perhaps, will nurture familiarity.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you enjoy the footprint and packaging of today's compact SUVs, but are looking for more power and/or greater agility, the 2012 VW Tiguan makes a great deal of sense.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're taking your compact SUV to the trailhead, you may wish for a better reliability record than is (historically) typical of VW. And while affordable at the entry level, a Tiguan laden with options can quickly get pricey.

What's New for 2012

What VW terms a "major design refresh" for 2012 provides the Tiguan with a new front fascia incorporating the horizontal brand face. The result is a compact SUV looking quite a bit like VW's larger, up-market Touareg. At the rear, revised taillights also reflect the appearance of the Touareg, creating a "tough new look for the urban jungle." Finally, the top-of-the-line SEL receives new 19-inch alloy wheels, designed by Volkswagen's performance-oriented R performance division.

Driving the Tiguan

Driving Impressions Sharing the GTI's 200-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, you'd be inclined to think the Tiguan might provide some GTI-like performance. And with a 0-60 dash of less than eight seconds, it's less...

sluggish than a great many in the category. However, the Tiguan's upright stance, relatively soft suspension and prodigious (when compared to a Golf-based GTI) mass all work against it. You cross-shop it, however, with some of its immediate competition from Japan, and you'll find the Tiguan unexpectedly responsive, even in base S packaging. Of note is the sport suspension provided on the SEL trim. Given its Germanic DNA, steering, braking and drivability are above average in the class.

4Motion All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Available on all models (but not, regrettably, available with a manual transmission) 4Motion all-wheel drive (AWD) takes the guesswork out of 4WD engagement, as it's always engaged. In most conditions 90 percent of the drive goes to the front wheels. When front-wheel slip is detected, however, the system can direct almost 100 percent of the driving torque to the rear wheels, providing driver and passenger(s) with genuine security, regardless of season.

40/20/40 Split Rear Seating
In a vehicle intended to offer utility, nothing beats stowage versatility. And within its compact footprint the Tiguan has it in spades, led by its flexible rear seating. The rear seats will fold in a 40/20/40 split, accommodating a wide variety of loads and load lengths. And they will also slide fore and aft by some six inches, increasing passenger comfort, or cargo capacity, as you need it.

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Details
Interior

Flexibility, thy name is Tiguan. With its well-established leadership in interior design and material selection, VW advances another step or two with well-considered packaging and features. The 40/20/40-split folding rear seat provides six different configurations for maximum flexibility, the rear seats slide forward and back to maximize passenger comfort or cargo capacity, and a 12-volt power outlet gives you an additional tool at the trailhead. Beyond all this is Volkswagen's careful approach to interior design, layout and functionality.

Exterior
2012 Volkswagen Tiguan photo

Striking a balance between city footprint and country composure, the Tiguan constitutes a grown-up GTI for hot-hatch enthusiasts needing more utility. As such, its upright proportions provide more interior room, while its generous greenhouse supplies a better perch for seeing the countryside – or surrounding traffic. The modifications made for 2012 reinforce the earlier resemblance to Volkswagen's up-market Touareg, and since it has also received an exterior refresh, the corporate visage is in full alignment.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

At a competitive base price of under $24,000, the Tiguan comes comprehensively equipped, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, 6-speed manual transmission, Bluetooth connectivity, trailer hitch prep, split-folding reclining rear seats, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats and an 8-speaker sound system with in-dash CD. The S with Sunroof package adds a power tilt/sliding panoramic glass sunroof and tinted windows to the S automatic.

Optional Equipment

In a segment where a great many vehicles are sold with front-wheel drive (FWD) only, Volkswagen's optional 4Motion all-wheel drive (AWD) is notable for both its availability and capability. One bump beyond the S model is SE, providing buyers with 18-inch alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating and a Premium VIII radio with SiriusXM satellite radio.

Under the Hood

With an undersquare bore/stroke ratio and cast-iron block, VW's 2.0-liter turbocharged four doesn't sound like an up-to-date piece of engineering. One drive, however, will make you a convert, with flexible power and prodigious torque. And with fine-tuning of both idle speed and the auto box's gear ratios, fuel economy is improved for 2012 on those models equipped with automatic transmissions and those with automatic and 4Motion all-wheel drive (AWD).

2.0-liter in-line 4, turbocharged
200 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (manual), 22/27 (automatic), 21/27 (4Motion w/automatic)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 127 Ratings for the 2009 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Awesome Vehicle

By on Sunday, June 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,850

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great sound system, practical"

Cons: "Premium Gas ($), electronic e-brake"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought one for my first car in January and its been amazing to me. Besides the great looks and accessibility it feels like a sports car. Great car for anyone in need of a practical, yet sporty car."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Most underrated SUV

By on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Snow Capability, Road Comfort"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"VW Engineers executed an excellent product. Overall fit and function are great. What really stands out is the vehicles noise and comfort on highways, it is incredibly quiet and responsive. The 4-motion AWD system is impressive to say the least on snow covered roads. When paired with a quality snow tire this vehicle is more stable than any 4wd pickup I've ever driven."

10 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Not for me!

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "It looks stylish"

Cons: "Can't see the hood while driving, poor road view."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The car drives fine. The navigation system doesn't work well--often taking me to the wrong place. It's fairly comfortable & roomy. However, I can't tell where I am on the road. I hate that! The windshield is slightly curved & I can't see any of the hood which makes my perception of the road very uncomfortable. I feel like I'm always over both lane lines. It's very disconcerting & I've been driving for over 30 years. Because of this issue, I can't stand the car! I've only had it since July & I want to replace it. And typically, I keep my cars until they're dead. Not the Tiguan. I can't wait to get rid of it :("

5 people out of 18 found this review helpful

First time VW buyer & last time VW buyer

By on Friday, May 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,358

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Nice exterior design, comfortable & spacious"

Cons: "Bad engine design & low gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Engine problems from the very beginning check engine light constantly on. Changed intake manifold twice once under warranty when technicians couldn't find out what was wrong they (on a hunch) determined it was the manifold. Second time recall of faulty intake manifold. Engine leaks, need to service intake camshaft at aprox. 60,000 even though it is not indicated on any of the regular service schedule for the vehicle. Very sadden and disappointed of the whole experience, this was my very first big purchase brand new car and it was a major fail."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Fun, well-constructed with some engine problems

By on Thursday, April 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great handling, peppy for small SUV."

Cons: "Problematic engine coils; limited storage/truck."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"As one of the prior reviewers noted, the S-model is a great buy... no fancy stuff but great price. I bought one with manual transmission and it feels like a real automobile, not one of those tinker cars! Dealer couldn't wait to get it off his lot -great price, under $22K. Only problem has been "engine". At 26000 miles, almost 3 years (still under warranty) one of the ignition coils failed. Not much pep in a 4 cylinder with one not functioning. Dealer replaced. Ten days later another ignition coil failed. Now have four new coils. Hoping the new coils last. Other than this problem this is probably the best engineered car I have owned since my 1961 Chevy Impala."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Tiguan = An SUV with lots of GTI DNA

By on Friday, April 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "S Model = best value, 6 spd ... think a lifted GTI"

Cons: "Dealer service is expensive - DIY easy to save $$"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Over the years I've owned many cars (BMW, VW, Nissan, Ford, Jeep) and of all of them, the Tiguan has offered me the best mix of performance, comfort, and price to date. I have the S model (6spd manual) and it rides and feels like a GTI with a 6 inch lift on it. The pricing for a Tiguan can vary widely (from $22K to $40K - as new), however the real value with the Tiguan lies in the S model. With 65000 miles now on the clock, I've had no unscheduled maintenace except for a throttle body which was replaced under warranty. I've performed my own maintenance as well (tune up, oil changes, etc) and everything for routine maintenance is very easy to access for DIY savings. Example - my 60,000 mile service cost me $75 vs. the dealer price of $450. What did it require? ... spark plugs (easy), oil change (easy), brake fluid change (brake masters did it for $30), and air filter changes (easy). Overall the fit/finish and quality of the materials of the Tiguan are outstanding. Again, the real value in a Tiguan is in buying the lower priced S model. Don't forget there are so many aftermarket upgrades you can make to your S-Tiguan to make it look and perform better than the top of the line R model. One last thing ... I LOVE the fact that I have cloth seats here in AZ. Finding a quality european car with cloth seats these days is harder than one would think."

19 people out of 30 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?