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)
By Chip on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of fun to drive."
Cons: "Well above averge repair costs."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"My Tiguan is a 2010. Drives like a small European sports car. Adequate interior space, 4 motion AWD tracks very well through some of the worst winter weather driving (except higher snow drifts). My complaints are with below average reliability. Problems began at around 70,000 miles. I've had 3 water pumps, trouble with emissions system, replaced turbo, clogged injectors, replaced nearly all motor seals, and other issues. Total cost of dealer completed repairs and maintenance to date with 108k miles - $13,600 (ridiculous). If you get one of these, enjoy it until around 60k miles, then get rid of it!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Lajos on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great power, good fit and finish, comfortable..."
Cons: "Premium gas, average mpg..."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The Tiguan has impressive performance and power that gets you everywhere. Fit and finish are quite good, and the cabin is spacious for its size. The engine is very peppy, although it runs on premium gas that makes it more expensive to own. However, the overall good quality, nice dimensions that make it easy to park and maneuver, and fairly low road noise make it a good choice among other SUV's."
By Brian on Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,300overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, fun to drive"
Cons: "Stained running boards"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"We picked up this car a couple months ago, and we have enjoyed it so far. You know going in that this car is going to be short on rear cargo space, the gas mileage is not going to be as good as the competitors, and the safety ratings on this car are not as good as they could be. That being said, you get a comfortable riding car that is fun to drive. Our biggest complaint is the running boards. While they looked great off the lot, and they are helpful for our child, they are stained from the winter road treatment. The dealership says I can get down there and scrub them with steel wool, but to be honest, I don't baby my car that much. I keep it clean and run it through the car wash regularly, but I don't fine tooth comb it. Plus, I really don't want to risk putting scratches on them. So unless you need them, I recommend saving the cash. All in all, great car. I can't say it enough, don't get the running boards (unless you are the kind of person that enjoys scrubbing your car with steel wool)."
3 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By lparks on Tuesday, March 10, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, compact, room for small family"
Cons: "gas milage could be better for size"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've had my 2010 vw tIGUAN going on 5 years and still feel like it is new. I've replaced the front and rear brakes once, had an interior light issue, and electronic parking brake stick... but other than that no other fixes than regular maintenance. New tires once. I do own snow tires though too. it handles great, love the turbo. OK on gas, not great, but gets about 18 city, 20-21 highway. leather seems brand new, shines up nice, no rust. I even was rear ended and it held up good. minimal visual damage though it cost the other person 6k to fix. no injuries to the passengers."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Mike C. on Monday, February 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I had this vehicle as my primary vehicle as daily commute and business trips vehicle. 1. Great quality and materials used. Feels like a luxury CUV. I've driven MBZ GL450, Toyota RAV4. VW feels much substantial than Toyota. The material and feel of the vehicle, is not much off from MBZ. I've driven a Jetta TDI Wagon as a rental for a few days. It does not even touch the Tiguan on road manner and handling. Solid and secure at high speed. 2. MPG is not great, 22-23mpg and requires premium. 3. 2.0TSI is great, but at 80K, engine light came on. Spent $800 for a valve cleaning job. Was told by the dealer that Direct Injection was clogged causing cylinder misfires. Great new to me was that engine was fine, but require manual cleaning of the valves tha requires $$$$. 4. Reliability. Mine besides the valve cleaning, no other repairs was needed. I drive 18-20K a year. Car runs and runs. The Tiguan actually feels more powerful than when it was new. It feels looser, and Revs more freely now the engine. The engine still sounds like new."
16 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By Mamu on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive! Upscale feel to interior!"
Cons: "Premium unleaded huel recommended by VW."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have had car several weeks and I am so glad I bought Tiguan over the Subaru Outback. It has pep and has an up scale feel to it."
26 people out of 52 found this review helpful