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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Firm, stable ride that is well composed and quite comfortable with good bump absorption
Progressive handling with confidence-building response
May not break any speed records
Road & Track
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."
The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan is far from powerful but makes up for it with good drivability and a surprise dash of ruggedness.