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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Firm, stable ride that is well composed and quite comfortable with good bump absorption
May not break any speed records
Road & Track
Progressive handling with confidence-building response
Like many well-executed crossovers, the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan offers several of the capabilities of a small SUV with the much smoother ride and better handling of a car.
The VW Tiguan comes with just one underhood option, which Edmunds says is "Volkswagen's familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4." The Auto Channel reports 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 engine is more than adequate for the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan. Kelley Blue Book reviewers love the engine on the Tiguan VW, calling it "arguably one of the best four-cylinder engines on the market" and "a willing supplier of horsepower and torque." ConsumerGuide finds "the Tiguan has ample power," but they say there is "some turbo lag that is most noticeable when exiting a slow corner." In terms of acceleration numbers, Road & Track claims the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan "goes from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds," which is respectable, if not overwhelming.
Edmunds reports the "standard gearbox is a six-speed manual" on the 2009 VW Tiguan, though Kelley Blue Book adds that a "six-speed automatic transmission" is optional. Consumer Guide says "the automatic includes a sport mode and Tiptronic manual control that is activated through the console-mounted shift lever." The Auto Channel is disappointed to find that the automatic is not "the smooth, quick-shifting DSG transmission from the GTI and GLI," but they note "the DSG will be used later." In a nod to the Tiguan VW's off-road aspirations, the 4Motion AWD system is available as an option, but Road & Track points out it's "available only with the automatic."
One of the purported benefits of a crossover versus a traditional SUV is that crossovers theoretically get better gas mileage. While that may be true for many crossovers, EPA estimates show that the 2009 VW Tiguan isn't exactly thrifty when it comes to gasoline consumption. The EPA estimates for a manual-transmission VW 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. The pain doesn't end there, however, as Mother Proof notes it's "unfortunate that the Tiguan requires premium gasoline" to fuel its thirsty engine.
The ride and handling of the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan are better than those found on an SUV, but some crossovers are even more refined. According to ConsumerGuide, the steering has a light touch at lower speeds, but feels "accurate" at higher speeds with "little need for correction." Edmunds is impressed by the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan and says it "remains poised through corners while the tires remain firmly planted on the pavement." Motor Trend agrees, gushing that the VW 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 test drivers praise the Tiguan's stable ride at speed and its linear steering, declaring that the ride quality is "nicely compliant on pockmarked roads." Stopping is a breeze as well in the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan, and ConsumerGuide observes the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan's brakes offer strong stopping power and "good pedal feel."
The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan rides comfortably and is capable off-road, but as good as the engine is, it's still a couple stables away from being considered truly powerful.