The Tiguan is the smallest of the VW SUVs and starts at $23,305. Tiguan resides in the competitive small SUV segment with the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4. This week we are testing a mid-level 2014 Tiguan Volkswagen SE 4Motion ($28,950). If you are looking for a sporty and fun to drive small crossover, Tiguan will need to be on your list to look at.
What’s new for 2014
For 2014, Tiguan gets new trim levels and options, a new R-Line exterior and interior package is available and a Fender premium audio system is now available for lower trim levels. VW now offers a six-month, no-charge trial of VW Car-Net connected services, included on the SE trim level and above. Car-Net security/convenience features include automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, and stolen vehicle location assistance, as well as remote vehicle access and boundary/speed alerts. A vehicle health report also is part of the service.
This Volkswagen SE 4Motion tester came with the 6-speed automatic with manual mode, leatherette seating, an 8-way power driver’s seat with recline, heated front seats, privacy glass, heated windshield washer nozzles, Car-Net services, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Tiguan is a small crossover but has easy ingress and egress. It has seating for five adults but has fair headroom and legroom for adults. In the rear, Tiguan features 35.8 inches of legroom, which is less than the competition. Chevrolet Equinox comes with (39.9), Mazda CX-5 (39.3), Honda CR-V (38.3), and Subaru Forester (38.0). We took four adults for a trip to the restaurant and the two big guys in the backseat were a bit cramped.
VW is known for the simplicity of their controls and instrumentation and Tiguan is uncomplicated and easy to navigate. The interior materials are of a high quality, especially the V-Tex leatherette, which is hard to tell from real leather. In the back, the rear seats feature 40/20/40 folding ability and would work well for an active couple that’s into outdoor adventures, and even if they have a small child or two. Tiguan’s front passenger seat folds almost flat, and will accommodate a kayak or an 8-foot-long two-by-four. The liftgate is wide, and opens with the key fob and cargo hooks and a 12-volt outlet are inside the rear cargo area.
Drivetrain and fuel mileage
The 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan SE is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with the latest direct injection, variable valve timing and intercooler. The engine produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque and comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic, Sport mode and Dynamic Shift Program. Our Tiguan tester came with the excellent 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Fuel mileage is decent, earning an EPA-estimated 20/26 city/highway with AWD. Economy is helped by a tall sixth-gear ratio in the 6-speed automatic transmission, and relatively low-rpm shift points.
On the road
The Volkswagen 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine offers snappy acceleration and was ideal in the mountains west of Denver at altitude. The turbocharged engine is smooth and quiet at high speeds, where the chassis of the small crossover remains stable. The Tiguan SE delivers a nice balance between a smooth ride and stability at high speeds. We found the Interstate ride up I-70 leading out of Denver in the Tiguan to be smooth. Tiguan is definitely the sportiest model in the small compact SUV segment. There was plenty of power to fly up the highway at 75 mph.
The 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode is as good as advertised. The Sport mode is ideal for driving enthusiasts and worked well in the mountain corners in the mountains. We would consider Tiguan one of the best performing crossovers on the market. It offers the driving dynamics and driver satisfaction that puts it high on the fun to drive meter. It stayed firmly planted in the corners and although we didn’t test the 4Motion all-wheel-drive in the snow, we encountered some wet roads and the system kept us safe and we always felt confident in the SUVs ability.
Volkswagen 4Motion is one of the best all-wheel-drive systems and compares with Audi’s quattro and Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive. It uses a Haldex center differential that continuously varies the torque between the front and rear wheels, from 90-10 to 0-100, depending on where it’s needed for traction. We would definitely recommend getting the Tiguan with AWD unless you plan on just using it as grocery hauler in a warm weather climate.
The 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and 6-speed automatic transmission are silky smooth. The suspension features superb handling in the corners. If you don’t need tons of cargo space and rear legroom, the rear seats can be configured for extra flexibility.
If you lead an active lifestyle, Volkswagen offers a good choice for those who like to get off the beaten path. The VW Tiguan is designed with a sporty attitude and offers peppy performance on the road and 4Motion for off-road excursions. It’s got good cargo carrying ability and the standard tow hitch prep takes an available attachment that holds four bicycles. Designed for an active sporty lifestyle, the Volkswagen Tiguan SE delivers excellent performance on the highway or over rugged terrain.
Our final score for the 2014 Tiguan Volkswagen SE 4Motion: 4.1 out of 5
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Reviewer: Denis Flierl