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2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

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2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Review

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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)

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2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 138 Ratings for the 2009 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.1/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.3/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

This is our 3rd Tiguan

By on Monday, February 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, decent mpg!"

Cons: "none I can think of"

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

"We had a 2012, now have 2 2016's. Fun to drive, lots of power and well appointed. This is VW's best kept secret!!"

14 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Volkswagen is not what it used to be!

By on Saturday, January 23, 2016

I owned and sold this car
Reason: end of lease

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "great styling"

Cons: "uncomfortable interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I have leased VW cars since 2003, and I had stayed with the brand because I loved the value and quality for the price. My 2012 Tiguan SE was my second Tiguan, my first being a 2009 SE. Both of these vehicles were very different from my previous models, the Jetta (2003) and Passat Wagon (2007). The quality, especially on my 2012 Tiguan was lacking. Interior door handles coming off, navigation not working, and the passenger seat heater burning through the seat. It has been one year since I have traded in my Tiguan for a 2015 Acura RDX, and I could not be happier. I would highly recommend a Honda/Acura product over a Volkswagen product."

14 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Solid Build

By on Sunday, January 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun, stable driver with great panaramic sunroof"

Cons: "More back storage area would be nice."

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

"Very solidly built with excellent materials throughout. Best handling and performing of the small SUVs for the year. Entertaining to drive while very stable in wet, snow and ice conditions. Normal mileage 21 - 27, with high of 30 during 'uninterrupted' country road driving. Flexible utility with folding seats. Back seat very roomy with storage behind seat meeting most needs. Panaramic sunroof is great giving a convertible feel when opened. Never a breakdown but have had PVC valve problem needing repair/replacement and oil leak from engine and all-wheel drive system. Also intake engine valves required cleaning service."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

dissapointed

By on Saturday, November 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great to drive, nothing like german engineering!!"

Cons: "Over priced purchase price, parts and repairs ."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"First new vehicle in 20 years, bought with the idea of long term 10 years driving. So disappointed in the constant replacement of parts, recalls, and the cost of repairs. Knew that VW parts were more and accepted that, however when any trip to the garage results in 1000$ or more , multiple times, found it unacceptable. That said, love driving my VW , when it is not in for repairs, crisp , responsive, comfortable. Will not be purchasing a VW again however , and will be trading this one in 4 years earlier than anticipated."

20 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Do not buy a Tiguan

By on Friday, September 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

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

"This is the worst car I have ever owened. If a light for so mechanical reason is not on than I get really scared. This vehicle has cost us over $5000.00 in repairs alone. I recommend to nver buy a Tiguan!"

30 people out of 48 found this review helpful

MOST UNRELIABLE CAR EVER!!!

By on Monday, September 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fun to drive."

Cons: "Frequent and expensive repairs."

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

"We have owned more than 5 cars over the last 10 years - a mix of German and Japanese. This 2010 vw Tiguan is by far the most unreliable car we have owned or even driven (and I grew up driving the notoriously unreliable Italian cars of the 80's). We bought it new and it has been maintained at the dealer per factory-, and many times extra dealer recommendations. It has had the following repairs over the last 6 months 1. Fuel pump replacement 2. Water pump replacement 3. Turbo repair 4. Relay replacement 5. Several electrical issues 6. Turbo replacement, all at a total cost of over $5000. Now the EPC and check engine lights are on and we are headed back to the dealer. LAST VW WE EVER BUY. This Labor day weekend, we were helping some friends with car shopping and steered them clear of the VW dealership despite the vw Tiguan being at the top of their wish-list."

22 people out of 33 found this review helpful

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