- Able turbocharged four-cylinder engine
- Pert styling, inside and out
- Good interior room
- Comfortable front seats
- Manual transmission feels a little vague
- Handling is more SUV than sportscar
- Price premium over Japanese crossovers
The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan aims for the likes of the Honda CR-V and hits a little higher--in price and sophistication.
TheCarConnection.com's editors read the latest reviews on the new 2008 Volkswagen Tiguan to write this comprehensive review. Our car experts also drove the Volkswagen Tiguan in Europe and in the U.S., to be able to deliver our definitive opinion on the car, to compare it with other cars in the class, and to give you the best advice when other reviews have conflicting opinions.
The little brother of the Volkswagen Touareg, the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact crossover vehicle in the vein of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
A derivative of the Volkswagen Rabbit platform, the 2009 Tiguan sports a choice of front- or all-wheel drive and a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. A 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four is for now the only engine in the lineup, though a version of the new 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder is expected later in the model year.
The new 2009 VW Tiguan is 173.2 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and 66.5 inches high. A flexible interior package includes second-row split bench seats that can slide and tilt. The Tiguan's seats are both sporty and supportive, yet pleasantly easy to climb in and out of. There's no chintzing out on the back row, either, where even taller passengers can ride behind taller drivers without feeling cramped. VW has paid attention to storage, too: The cargo compartment has a small hidden storage bin underneath the load floor, and there's a twin glove box up front.
The 2009 Tiguan's an agile crossover, enhanced by a new electro-mechanical steering system and a multilink rear suspension. Even with the relatively sophisticated suspension, it can't escape its roots. The ride, steering, and braking are tuned for all-around capability, not ultimate precision--it rides far better than some larger crossovers like the BMW X3, for example.
Safety is comprehensive, with six airbags and stability control standard. The all-wheel-drive system on some versions sports an "offroad" mode, which, with the push of a dashboard button, will activate a raft of alternative safety features like hill descent control.
Visually, the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan hits a safe spot between the more daring Honda CR-V and Volkswagen's own compact Jetta lineup. The grille and headlamps are an interesting look for a small ute, and inside is a typically high-quality Volkswagen interior, with richer textures and finishes than you'd get in a rival crossover. This time, Volkswagen hasn't shorted itself on features, either--the Tiguan offers a navigation system, an iPod input, a music hard drive, and a huge panoramic sunroof.