By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
The awkwardly named (and possibly harder to pronounce) Tiguan is a compact SUV from Germany's Volkswagen. While this segment of vehicles is becoming increasingly crowded, the Tiguan often gets forgotten among more mainstream rivals like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. Among the Tiguan's best traits are a flexible interior and a turbocharged engine that's standard across the line. The 2013 Tiguan also stands out with its polished looks and fun-to-drive nature. The Tig has a tempting starting price, but when loaded with options can become surprisingly expensive.
If you're seeking a truly small SUV that's a cinch to maneuver and stands out from the crowd, the 2013 VW Tiguan is a pleaser. Its snappy engine, meanwhile, makes it fun to drive on twisty roads.
The Tiguan's compact size might be a little too small for some families. Then there's the cost: A top-trim 2013 Tiguan approaches the price of its luxury cousin, the Audi Q5.
Because the Tiguan received a design freshening last year, it carries over with only minor changes for 2013. All trims now receive an electronic parking brake, hill-hold control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Top-level SEL trims gain a rearview camera and full-power passenger seat with memory setting.
Driving Impressions The Tiguan is often cited as the GTI of compact sport-utility vehicles since it shares the same engine as Volkswagen's invigorating hatchback. There's truth to that. While not...as fast as the smaller and lighter GTI, the Tiguan feels spry and is fun to drive. With a 0-60-mph time of just under eight seconds, the Tiguan is relatively quick for this class, and turbo lag is not a major issue when you need to quickly hit freeway speeds or pass slower traffic. 2013 VW Tiguan models with a 6-speed automatic transmission also feature a Sport mode for faster acceleration and gear changes. Models equipped with Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive (AWD) system offer more grip on slippery roads. The Tiguan doesn't have the off-roading chops of the VW Touareg, but it is capable in light off-highway excursions. Steering, braking and overall drivability benefit from the Tig's German engineering and remain above average in this class.
Other compact SUVs offer this sort of powerful engine as an option, but on the Tiguan it's standard. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder puts out a respectable 200 horsepower yet remains relatively fuel efficient.
In addition to folding in a 40/20/40 split, the 2013 Tiguan's rear seat slides six inches to accommodate cargo or people. For those who need to haul longer items such as surfboards or plywood, a front passenger seat is available that folds forward and flat.
The Tiguan has a well-finished, flexible interior. The front dash and its control modules are sleek and polished. Buttons for audio and climate control are straightforward and easy to use. Beyond just looking good, the steering wheel and its built-in buttons for audio and phone functions have a satisfying tactile nature. On models so equipped, the navigation screen is within easy reach. The 3-passenger rear seat splits in a 40/20/40 fashion, which allows longer items such as skis to fit between two passengers. Due to the Tig's smaller size, rear cargo space is expectedly less roomy than that of many competitors.
As even "compact" SUVs become increasingly larger, the Tiguan remains small. At just 174.5 inches in length, only the Hyundai Tucson and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport are shorter among the Tig's major rivals. By contrast, a Nissan Rogue is nearly nine inches longer. Combined with its tall, airy cabin, the VW Tiguan has a rather squat appearance. This compact SUV has rounded lines similar to those of its big brother the Touareg, but the Tig's small size and lower ground clearance make it appear more cute than tough.
A base 2013 Tiguan S comes with Bluetooth wireless connectivity, 8-speaker AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input, black cloth seats, single-zone climate control, 16-inch steel wheels, and four 12-volt power outlets. Mid-tier SE models add features such as touch-screen audio system with HD and satellite radio, heated front seats, Leatherette surfaces, and 18-inch wheels. Top-line SEL models have leather seating, dual-zone climate control, keyless start, 12-way power seats, rearview camera, rain-sensing wipers, LED running lights, and 19-inch wheels. All new 2013 Tiguans come with Volkswagen's 3-year/36,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance program for services such as oil changes and tire rotation.
Tiguan models with automatic transmission can be had with all-wheel drive (AWD), which Volkswagen calls 4Motion. Other major features include panoramic sunroof, navigation system, trailer hitch, splash guards, side steps and roof spoiler.
2013 Volkswagen Tiguans use a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and AWD is available, but not with the 6-speed manual transmission. The 6-speed automatic has manual shift and sport modes. The Tiguan's towing capacity is rated at 2,200 pounds. As with many other vehicles that have a turbocharged engine, premium gasoline is recommended in the Tig.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
200 horsepower @ 5,100-6,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (manual), 21/26 mpg (automatic), 20/26 mpg (4Motion w/automatic)
A base 2013 VW Tiguan has a starting price of just under $24,000. A loaded SEL model with AWD can reach over $38,000. At its base price, the Tiguan is in line with slightly larger competitors such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. The VW is more expensive than base versions of the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5 and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to see what others in your area are actually paying for the VW Tiguan. Down the road, we expect the Tiguan to have a fair-to-good resale price, depending on trim, with valuations that trail those of competitors like the CR-V, Sportage and Forester.
By DrB on Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "styling, responsiveness, gitty-up, fit and finish"
Cons: "rims, mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great car. Only complaint is that the fancy rims that come with the SEL 4 motion are too big (ie tire thickness too thin) for any kind of road. Ride is noisier and rougher than it needs to be in this great car, although the S and SE have the smaller rims and thicker tires. Highly recommend this car for small size, great performance and all the bells and whistles. The 4 motion gas mileage isn't great, but that was no surprise. A sweet ride."
By dave on Monday, February 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Cons: "Mentioned above"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"had this car for 4 years. Bought new, have multiple issues that VW has known about but doesn't fix. Examples include: Gas flap that won't open: At dealership acknowledged that it is happening to many Tiguans, answer was to just not close the flap. Sun Roof Screen that doesn't close all the way: Again, dealership says it happens with this model and that it closes mostly, and that they would charge to fix Fuses blowing: Have had several fuses blow. Dealship says again that this model is known for it, Other issues that we couldn't determine if it happens to other Tiguans: Water leak: Took the car multiple times to dealership. First thought it was the skylight, then door jam then it was something in engine compartment. That was it, but from the constant humidity over a year, we have rust on all parts inside the car Front lights: Have gone out twice in 4 years - seems strange to me. Issues that were just bad design: Electronic emergency brake: dumbest idea ever. If the care was more reliable, it would be great. Drives nicesly, looks good, right size for the city, decent price"
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By BCFresh on Monday, January 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, awd, nice interior,perfect size!"
Cons: "pricey, would be really nice in a clean diesel !"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We needed 4wd for winter driving during snowstorms in VT. Past cars we had - Subaru Outback, Jeep Cherokee, VW Passat, VW Eurovan, Mini Cooper S. This Car has never let us down, great driving feel on HWY and Off. Not to big but plenty of room for 4. Panoramic sunroof is huge, finish is clean and not to plastic. Engine is plenty of get up and go w turbo yet we can get 29 mpg on the hwy if we keep from going 75mph. As with any winter car get a set of snow tires - it goes anywhere with just the right amount of clearance. Nicer car than all our previous vehicles."
By Satuit on Thursday, January 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,885overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Turbo - ooh la la! Bluetooth, Sirius, Nav, camera"
Cons: "In town driving, not so impressive, c/b gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I traded in my 6cyl Beamer for a smaller SUV. I like Tiguan's look & styling. Got a good trade-in for my Beamer, paid the balance with cash & drove off. Living along the coast, we never know what our winters will be like. I was concerned how this lighter-weighted car would handle in snow. Surprised for sure! Incredible traction in 10 inches of snow. Driving through New England this winter where each state goes from no snow to 3 feet, this car handled beautifully. Ice, not so much, but what vehicle does? My car is loaded with all the fun technology & comfort. The trunk is smaller than I thought, but I did want a smaller car. The only thing that still bothers me is the 4cyl local driving - maybe it's the premium gas - I've tried all the name gas - Mobil, Citgo, Shell - to the no-names. Citgo is the best, but there aren't any in my area anymore. Anyway, the local drive is just okay. Highway driving is a whole other experience the turbo can't be beat -incredible. I have total confidence I can beat all the other Massachusetts drivers getting into the lane I want. If you know about us MA drivers, you'll understand how important this turbo is. Fast, sure-footed, this turbo is right on the money. If you don't mind the small size & just okay local drive, this loaded Tiguan is a great surprise."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Leodog on Friday, January 03, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty fun to drive"
Cons: "Average mileage, high maintenance costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I leased my 2011 Tiguan SE with Panormaic roof and GPS and will be purchasing it. First off the upside: It is the nicest car I will have ever purchased. The ride is quiet on the freeway but can get mildly clunky on uneven surfaces. The leatherette seats are comfortable and easy to clean. The comfort is fantastic for a tall guy like me (6'5"). The handling and breaking is phenomenal! Excellent cornering, acceleration, and braking. Sport mode on curvy Sierra foothill highways is like a rollercoaster ride, better than any SUV I have ever driven and I have owned a few. I love the panoramic roof but the GPS is average often not reliably locating addresses and can be complicated to use. The 4motion is excellent in snow although the open wheel design can get packed with snow and cause a vibration comparable to a wheel out of balance. The downside: I had a bad fuse that melted in the fusebox slot after warranty but the VW dealer replaced free of charge anyway. I also had an intake manifild go bad at 30,000 miles that was covered under warranty. Mileage is averaging 23 per gallon, 19 city, 25 highway just as advertised. Not bad but there are many CUVs that have better. I had the free maintenance and once that was over I took it to a reputable local foreign car service for maintenance. I'd say the average service costs for a turbocharged VW is around $300-500 per 10,000 miles driven. That is not cheap but the car performs as good as the day I bought it. I'd recommend this car for the fun driving and comfort but will add that you should keep up on your maintenance if you want to avoid more expensive fixes and shop time."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By JaimeA on Saturday, November 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Engine, great price, fun to drive, gas"
Cons: "base model could have more standard features"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car is very fast, it has the 2.0 TSi engine with turbo and it sounds beautiful when the turbo is activated. We own 2 of them and are very happy"
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful