2010 Volkswagen Tiguan Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
January 5, 2010

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan targets vehicles like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but outshines them with its sophistication.

To bring you an especially comprehensive set of information on the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan, TheCarConnection.com has read the latest reviews on the Tiguan to provide you with the highlights. The editors of TheCarConnection.com have also driven the Volkswagen Tiguan and bring you their firsthand advice on how this compact crossover model measures up to the competition.

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan sits in the shadow of big brother, the Touareg, but it has a bevy of qualities that makes it stand out in its own segment, where it competes with the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Note that the vehicle is only in its second year, so it remains unchanged for 2010.

The stylish SUV is based on the Golf platform, so it's compact and beneath it all more car than ute. It measures 173.2 inches in length, 72.8 inches in width, and 66.5 inches in height, with one of the taller, more upright stances of vehicles in this compact segment. When it comes to styling, one can safely say that the right balance has been achieved between startlingly adventurous and blandly contemporary. The lines of the exterior are accentuated by the headlamps and grille, with the richer finishes in the cabin contradicting the quality one has come to expect from Volkswagen. Inside the styling is quite welcoming and familiar from VW's cars, yet a little more upright.

The 2010 Tiguan packs a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and is available with front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. Transmission options include either a six-speed manual or an automatic. The vehicle is tuned for all-around ability rather than ultimate precision. This reflects in the ride, steering, and brakes, though the ride is of a better standard than the larger and much more expensive BMW X3. The electromechanical steering and multilink rear suspension are integral to the agility of this compact crossover, but a lack of feedback means the steering can sometimes feel very vague—good if you’re a lazy driver but bad if you enjoy a spirited drive.

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Inside, there are easily accessible but sporty and supportive seats with an option of a flexible interior package that includes second-row split bench seats designed to slide and tilt. The cargo compartment has a small hidden storage bin underneath the load floor, and there's a twin glove box up front. In terms of space, the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan impresses, both with passengers and their gear.

As can be expected from a prominent European marque, safety is a high priority, with six airbags and stability control standard. Additional safety features such as hill descent are available through the push of a button on the all-wheel-drive versions. The Tiguan gets straight five-star ratings from the federal government and top "good" ratings from the IIHS in all frontal and side tests, plus top results in rear-impact and roof-crush tests from the IIHS.

The appeal of the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is further enhanced by the range of features, which include a sizable panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, a music hard drive, and an iPod connection.

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2010 Volkswagen Tiguan

Styling

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan’s attractive Euro styling distinguishes it from the competition.

The stylish SUV is based on the Golf platform, so it's compact and beneath it all more car than ute. It measures 173.2 inches in length, 72.8 inches in width, and 66.5 inches in height, with one of the taller, more upright stances of vehicles in this compact segment. When it comes to styling, one can safely say that the right balance has been achieved between startlingly adventurous and blandly contemporary. The lines of the exterior are accentuated by the headlamps and grille, with the richer finishes in the cabin contradicting the quality one has come to expect from Volkswagen.

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is "your typical sport-utility," asserts Edmunds, and for 2010, the Volkswagen Tiguan is offered in "three trim levels: S, SE and SEL." According to Cars.com, "the [VW] Tiguan looks like a smaller version of VW's Touareg 2 midsize SUV until you step around back, where it looks like the rear end of a Rabbit compact hatchback." Road & Track more or less agrees, saying that the Volkswagen Tiguan's exterior styling "is an interesting blend of Touareg and GTI." Autoblog remarks the Volkswagen Tiguan "looks pretty bitchin' to us," as well as highlighting that it is not a "prettied-up tall Golf."

Edmunds reviewers find that the Volkswagen Tiguan "boasts a number of cues first established on the Concept A," a concept car from a few years back, "including its bold chrome grille and swoopy headlamp treatment." The concept, though, was a little more "sporting, coupe-like silhouette with a roof line that plunged to the rear," whereas the Volkswagen Tiguan should appeal to the masses with the high roofline exhibited by the models in the production line. The Auto Channel says the Volkswagen Tiguan's styling is "clean, graceful, modern and attractive."

The 2010 Volkswagen does not disappoint in terms of looks, exterior or interior. Inside, the styling is quite welcoming and familiar from VW's cars, yet a little more upright. According to Edmunds, "if the interior of the new Volkswagen looks familiar, it's no coincidence," adding that "in a bid to keep development costs down, Volkswagen has provided its new SUV with the same basic cabin architecture as the European-market Golf Plus." The Auto Channel rates it highly, saying that the "interior is attractive as well" and the "gauges, controls, and everything we interact with are thoughtfully placed." Kelley Blue Book labels the interior controls “thoughtful."

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2010 Volkswagen Tiguan

Performance

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is far from powerful but makes up for it with good drivability and a surprise dash of ruggedness.

The 2010 Tiguan packs a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and is available with front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. Transmission options include either a six-speed manual or an automatic. The vehicle is tuned for all-around ability rather than ultimate precision. This reflects in the ride, steering, and brakes, though the ride is of a better standard than the larger and much more expensive BMW X3.

Quite like many successful crossovers, the Tiguan combines SUV-type ability with the ride quality of a car. There is surprisingly only a single engine variant that Edmunds says is "Volkswagen's familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4." The Auto Channel finds that the engine "makes just 200 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque," which "are not particularly impressive numbers," but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the Tiguan has more than sufficient power. The Kelley Blue Book reviewers admire the engine on the Volkswagen Tiguan, calling it "arguably one of the best four-cylinder engines on the market" and "a willing supplier of horsepower and torque." ConsumerGuide remarks that "the Tiguan has ample power," but there is "some turbo lag that is most noticeable when exiting a slow corner." In terms of acceleration numbers, Road & Track claims that the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan "goes from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds," which is respectable, if not overwhelming.

Edmunds notes that the "standard gearbox is a six-speed manual" on the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan, though Kelley Blue Book claims that a "six-speed automatic transmission" is optional. On the other hand, ConsumerGuide says "the automatic includes a sport mode and Tiptronic manual control that is activated through the console-mounted shift lever." The Auto Channel is not impressed that the automatic variant doesn't match "the smooth, quick-shifting DSG transmission from the GTI and GLI.” In line with its off-road capability, Road & Track points out that it's "available only with the automatic."

The theoretically better gas mileage is a strong point of the compact crossover. Unfortunately, that’s the case for many crossovers, and EPA estimates show that the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is not the most fuel-efficient vehicle. The EPA estimates for a manual-transmission 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan are 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, while the automatic and 4Motion versions both get an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway. Additionally, it’s "unfortunate that the Tiguan requires premium gasoline" to fuel its ever ready engine.

The electro-mechanical steering and multilink rear suspension are integral to the agility of this compact crossover, but a lack of feedback means the steering can sometimes feel very vague—good if you’re a lazy driver but bad if you enjoy a spirited drive. Compared to an SUV, the ride and handling of the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan are not too bad when it comes right down to it, though there are better options in the field. According to ConsumerGuide, the steering has a “light touch” at lower speeds, but feels "accurate" at higher speeds with "little need for correction." Edmunds admires the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan, saying it "remains poised through corners while the tires remain firmly planted on the pavement." Motor Trend agrees, declaring that the Volkswagen Tiguan's suspension is tuned to "near perfection."

Although Kelley Blue Book reports the Tiguan's ride "is fine so long as the pavement below remains smooth, and the steering response, braking and overall drivability are above average for this class," Edmunds reviewers, in test drives of prototype Tiguans with VW's AWD system through the rugged roads of Namibia, find that the Tiguan "displayed progressive handling with confidence-building response when pushed hard in corners." The Tiguan's stable ride at high speeds and its linear steering impress the test drivers, who indicate the ride quality is "nicely compliant on pockmarked roads." ConsumerGuide says that the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan's brakes offer strong stopping power and "good pedal feel."

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2010 Volkswagen Tiguan

Comfort & Quality

Even larger adults will be very comfortable in the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan, thanks to generous headroom, shoulder room, and legroom.

Inside, the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is bound to satisfy even the most demanding buyers, with good interior space, comfort, and impressive materials.

The Tiguan has easily accessible but sporty and supportive seats with an option of a flexible interior package that includes second-row split bench seats designed to slide and tilt. The cargo compartment has a small hidden storage bin underneath the load floor, and there's a twin glove box up front. In terms of space, the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan impresses, both with passengers and their gear.

According to Edmunds, although the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan offers seating for five, "the middle rear seat is compromised somewhat by a raised cushion." Motor Trend says that "6-plus footers get plenty of headroom and legroom whether up front or in back." MotherProof claims the seats "are molded for support without being hard," and even though "they're not power adjustable, the eight-way manual seat adjustment worked just fine." Road & Track finds that the interior is "comfortable, quiet and roomy, especially with the sliding rear seats."

Most of the reviews read by TheCarConnection.com praise the Tiguan for its ample cargo capacity. Motor Trend says "cargo space is more than adequate, and it doubles from 23.68 to 56.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down." Cars.com notes that the "rear seat can be folded flat from the cargo area, but moving it forward reveals a crevice in the load floor for storing small items." Inside the cabin of the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan, MotherProof reviewers point out "decent-sized bins in the front doors," as well as "two seatback pockets and a center console with a power outlet."

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan boasts superb quality in terms of construction and materials as well. ConsumerGuide says "the dashboard deftly combines soft touch and hard plastics for a pleasing appearance." Motor Trend, on the other hand, reports that the Tiguan "features a high-quality interior full of rich plastics and tight tolerances," while Cars.com claims that "being a Volkswagen, the Tiguan has a well-designed interior with high-quality materials." The Auto Channel notes that "the Tiguan's interior is attractive with fine materials, impeccable fit and finish and clean, efficient layout." Kelley Blue Book also joins in with the praise, finding that the "up-level SE and SEL trims, with their contrasting materials and optional leather seating, are quite appealing."

Noise reduction is a big highlight of the superior build quality. ConsumerGuide reports "a little wind noise on the highway, but the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is nearly silent at cruise." MotherProof, as well, finds that the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is "pretty quiet on the inside."

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2010 Volkswagen Tiguan

Safety

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the safest in its class and one of the few of its type to offer available rear thorax bags.

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan combines an impressive list of safety features with some coveted safety hardware from the insurance industry to create a strong overall safety resume.

IIHS find the results of rigorous crash-testing evaluations of the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan encouraging. The Tiguan achieves the highest rating, "good," in both IIHS tests, as well as the IIHS Top Safety Pick award with the Tiguan's "good performance in front, side, and rear tests" and the "standard electronic stability control."

The safety features of the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan, according to Motor Trend, includes "ABS, an anti-slip program and electronic differential lock, engine braking assist, electronic brake force distribution and electronic stabilization." Edmunds adds that the Tiguan includes "front side airbags, curtain side airbags, rear side airbags, an engine immobilizer and child door locks." According to Kelley Blue Book, "front, front-side and front and rear side-curtain" airbags are standard, and "rear side thorax airbags" are optional for the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan.

Volkswagen newest crossover affords great visibility from the driver's seat, as well as offering quite a few features. Edmunds verifies that "outward visibility is excellent," and TheCarConnection.com agrees.

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2010 Volkswagen Tiguan

Features

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan lives up to urban needs, with plenty of convenience and entertainment features on offer.

The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is well equipped for its price level, though it suffers from a price premium versus some popular competitors.

The standard features on the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan lineup understandably varies depending on the exact model that you buy, as there are three trim levels available. All Tiguans come with "power heated side mirrors" and "air conditioning," along with full power accessories and an "AM/FM stereo with single CD player," according to Kelley Blue Book. The Auto Channel feels that "even the entry-level [Volkswagen Tiguan] is very well equipped" with "plenty of power features and nice trim," though ConsumerGuide says that moving up to the SE and SEL trims of the Volkswagen Tiguan will add an "8-way power driver seat" and "in-dash 6-disc CD changer," among other things.

The appeal of the Tiguan is further enhanced by the range of features, which include a sizable panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, a music hard drive, and an iPod connection. Road & Track points out that the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan offers "some options with each trim level... that the competition does not, including a panoramic sunroof" and "heated seats and dual-zone climate control." Kelley Blue Book tells us that a "300-watt Dynaudio stereo" is optional, while Car and Driver states that the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan offers a "30-gig touch-screen navigation/infotainment system [that] even includes an off-road function that allows for the storage of as many as 500 memory points."

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February 2, 2017
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NOT HAPPY WITH 2010 TIGUAN

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I have a 2010 Tiguan. It just started to make noise in my engine and would not back up. Took to dealer and he said I have to replace timing chains, guides, tensioner, cam bearing, I will have to also replace... + More »
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