VW TIGUAN MAKES MINOR UPGRADES FOR 2015

2015 VW Tiguan

By Tom Crosby

Volkswagen’s Tiguan is a small five-seat sport utility vehicle with a contemporary profile, plush interior, smooth handling and robust power that competes in a tough market dominated by Japanese and U.S. automakers.

Toyota’s RAV4, Honda’s CRV and Ford Escape are all less expensive with better mileage but can’t match Tiguan’s quickness, handling and ergonomically pleasing interior. Tiguan added interior upgrades for 2015 in all five trims with standard features now including a rear-view camera, a VW Car-Net service, media interface with an iPod cable, satellite radio (with fee) and a Premium VIII 5-inch touchscreen audio system.

Outside the sloped windshield, 17-inch alloy wheels, monochromatic color and low body cladding, create a solid, but unexciting, looking appearance.

We test-drove the SE, the first trim above the basic S and below the SE/Appearance package, SEL and R-Line. Tiguans come in either all-wheel or front wheel drive.

Our front wheel drive added no options and had limited side visibility due to thick pillars and limited rear viewing because of the rear seat head restraints. The rearview camera assists in backing up but blind spot detection, now standard in some of the competitors, feels needed underway, especially since Tiguan only received top crash ratings for side impact collisions.

Our turbo-charged direct injection engine provided a peppy response to immediate acceleration requests with minimal turbo-lag aided by a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. (Tiguan’s dropped the manual transmission option this year.)

Handling was excellent, solid in curves at speed and the ride on 17-inch alloy wheels on all-season tires was composed with independent front and rear suspension. However, there is some engine and wind noise.

Inside, Tiguan shines, with an ergonomically friendly cabin using premium materials with flawless fit-and-finish. Tiguan’s attractive and smooth V-Tex leatherette seats are manually articulated and when adjusted provide a comfortable and spacious ride in all occupant positions. Rear seatbacks are adjustable, fold down 40/20/40, and slide forward for additional cargo space.

Outside, roof rails add options. Small storage areas abound, including a pull-down tray left of the driver for coins and small items. The dashboard has a shallow tray and several knick-knack areas below the touchscreen. A pen and notebook holder is in the glove compartment.

VW’s Car-Net telematics provides crash notification, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing to establish boundaries for teen-age drivers. A spare tire is under the cargo area. Tiguan is a word combination of Tiger and Leguan (iguana in German).

LIKES: Handling, interior comfort, ride, peppy
DISLIKES: price, noise, safety options needed
BOTTOM LINE: It is an uphill battle for Tiguan against the current competition

FACT FILE: 2015 TIGUAN SE

  • Base price w/destination fee $28,835
  • Curb weight 3,404 lbs.
  • Wheelbase 102.5 inches
  • Length 174.5 inches
  • Width 75.9 inches
  • Engine 2.0-liter, 4 cylinders, direct injection turbo
  • Horsepower 200-hp at 5,100-6,000 rpm
  • Torque 207 ft.-lbs. at 1,700-5,000 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic
  • EPA Rating 21 city, 26 highways
  • Range 16.9 gallons, premium fuel
  • Performance 0-60 in less than 8 seconds