Get past the awkward name and you'll find the 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan a rather appealing compact crossoverSUV. Smaller than the CR-V, the Tiguan zips in and out of traffic with ease, and its 200-horsepower turbocharged engine comes standard. Capable of venturing lightly off-road, the Tiguan should appeal to those with a sense of adventure while its good fuel economy and fun-to-drive attitude make it a favorite of enthusiast drivers whose needs have grown. If the Tiguan has an Achilles' heel, however, it can be found on the window sticker. With better-equipped models like the Honda CR-V EX, Subaru Forester 2.5 Premium and the new Nissan Rogue SV all priced at or below the base Tiguan S, VW clearly has an affordability problem.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're seeking a truly compact crossover SUV that is fun to drive, has a high-quality look and feel both inside and out and gets good gas mileage, the 2014 VW Tiguan deserves a test drive.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're all about bang for the buck, the Tiguan's steep price tag is definitely going to be a deterrent. Newer models like the Subaru Forester offer more features and standard all-wheel drive (AWD) for less money, while the new Nissan Rogue offers a 3rd-row seat option.
A few premium options, such as the Fender audio system, are made available on lower trims, while a new R-Line trim is added to the Tiguan lineup. VW's Car-Net telematics service is standard on SE and higher trims.
Driving the Tiguan
VW boasts that the 2014 Tiguan crossover SUV is "the GTI of compact sport-utility vehicles." As the same 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine powers both vehicles, there is some truth in...
... this claim. However, the Tiguan can't run through turns like the GTI, and it offers only a manual transmission on the base model. The Tiguan's 6-speed automatic works fine, but it's not as efficient as the continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) found in the Subaru Forester or Nissan Rogue. VW's optional 4Motion AWD, on the other hand, is as good in bad weather as the Subbie's setup and better than most competitors' part-time systems. The Tiguan's ride is fairly smooth, but we did experience a bit more cabin noise than in the Honda CR-V. And while most found the Tiguan's seats supportive and comfortable, the intrusive head-restraint angle had some test drivers complaining loudly.
TURBOCHARGED ENGINE 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.
FLEXIBLE INTERIOR In addition to folding in a 40/20/40 split, the 2014 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.
2014 Volkswagen Tiguan Details
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 eight 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 2014 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 a touch-screen audio system with HD, Car-Net and satellite radio, heated front seats, Leatherette surfaces and 18-inch wheels. Top-dog R-Line models have leather seating, dual-zone climate control, keyless start, 12-way power seats, rearview camera, Fender audio, rain-sensing wipers, LED running lights, R-Line trim and 19-inch wheels. All new 2014 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 AWD, which Volkswagen calls 4Motion. Other major features include panoramic sunroof, navigation system, Fender audio, trailer hitch, splash guards, side steps and roof spoiler.
Under the Hood
All 2014 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.
A base 2014 VW Tiguan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $24,000. A loaded SEL model with AWD can reach over $38,000, while the R-Line can top $40,000. At its base price, the Tiguan is still more expensive than its slightly larger competitors such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Nissan Rogue. 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.
"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."
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."
"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!"