Volkswagen Tiguan: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

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The Volkswagen Tiguan is a competent, but overpriced vehicle for those who need a German badge to help them forget that they’re driving a small crossover. What do you need to know before you buy a Volkswagen Tiguan? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.

We know Volkswagen wants to market their Tiguan as a crossover version of the GTI. And while it shares some similarities with the small hot hatch, including the 2.0-liter turbo four, a GTI it is not. As Matt Hardigree said in his review:

Volkswagen has taken some flack for saying the Tiguan is like the GTI of crossover SUVs. It isn’t. At best, it’s the GTI of people who go antiquing on the weekend, don’t drive particularly fast and live in a college town. If you don’t want a wagon, won’t drive a Ford and can’t afford a Lexus then maybe you should look at the Tiguan.


You see, the GTI is among the best in its class. The Tiguan is not. Yes, it’s well put together, and yes, it can be had with a pretty slick four-wheel drive system, but it’s not that fast, it’s expensive, and it’s inefficient.

People buy CUVs as A-to-B cars. Folks who purchase CUVs care about reliability, safety, and above all, fuel economy. It is in this latter field especially where the Tiguan falls very short. At only 26 MPG highway and 23 MPG combined, the Tiguan might as well have a carburetor under its hood. On top of that, the Tiguan slots in a few grand more expensive than its comparatively-equipped competitors.


It is pretty, though.

What’s New About The 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan


The Tiguan launched in the U.S. for the 2009 model year and came with a 2.0-liter turbo four and two transmission options: a 6-speed auto and a 6-speed manual. Since then, the Tiguan has received a nice styling refresh in ‘12, a fuel economy-bettering transmission tweak also in ‘12, and the addition of the “sporty” R line in 2014.

For 2015, Volkswagen partook in a blasphemous act: they nixed their manual transmission option. But, on the bright side, they did make the backup camera standard across trim levels. The 2016 Tiguan dropped in starting price by $1,400 and received a new MIB II infotainment system.


Update: 2017 Tiguan Is On Its Way

But let’s talk about the 2017 Tiguan, because that’s where it gets exciting. The 2017 is all new and built on the modular MQB platform found under the Golf and Audi A3. It’s longer, offers more interior space, and manages to cut over 100 pounds from the previous generation. Not to mention, it just looks more rugged than today’s dainty little VW CUV.


Which One We’d Buy

The 2016 Tiguan comes in eight different trim levels. But it doesn’t matter, because you shouldn’t buy one. Lease one, maybe, but don’t buy one. Maybe they’ll give you a good deal. Seriously, just buy any other car. The fuel economy for the segment is abysmal, it’s not GTI quick, and it’s expensive. Here’s a link to the configurator, but as soon as you open it, we recommend you take your mouse, move it to the top right of your screen, and click on the “x.”


If you really want a Tiguan, just wait for the 2017 model. Hopefully that’s better than Volkswagen’s current offering. We’re fans of the MQB platform, so we look forward to driving it.[Build Your Own]

Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $25,890 - $36,420 Max Advertised Towing Capability: 2,200 pounds

MPG: 21 city/ 26 hwy / 23 combined [2wd I4] Engines: 2.0-liter turbo I4

Curb Weight: ~3,400 - 3,600 pounds IIHS Rating: Not A Top Safety Pick

Transmissions: 6-speed automatic transmission

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD/AWD

Photo credit: Volkswagen