2011 Volkswagen Tiguan Review

Consumer Reviews
1 Review
2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
January 29, 2011

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan feels refined and sophisticated, but it's not especially rewarding to drive.

The stylish Volkswagen Tiguan 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. Design-wise, it gives the impression, as vehicles in this class often do, of a vehicle that was designed from the inside out; the smooth but conservative look appears as more blandly contemporary than sporty or adventurous. But there's nice detailing to keep it in line with Volkswagen's cars, as well as the Touareg SUV.

The 2011 Tiguan drives more like an especially tall car than a utility vehicle, and it does, at least at first impression, feel significantly more nimble and responsive feel than rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The basics are promising; the Tiguan packs a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, with front- or all-wheel-drive configurations, and transmission options include either a six-speed manual or an automatic. But the goods aren't here to satisfy enthusiasts; the Tiguan is tuned for all-around ability rather than ultimate precision, and this reflects in the ride, steering, and brakes.

The Tiguan has the straightforward, versatile, and comfortable interior that compact crossover shoppers look for. Sporty and supportive seats give good comfort and an excellent driving position in front, and the flexible interior package includes second-row split bench seats designed to slide and tilt. Even larger adults will be very comfortable in the front seats, thanks to generous headroom, shoulder room, and legroom, and the back seats are ample for adults. The cargo compartment has a small hidden storage bin underneath the load floor, and with the 60/40-split back seats folded there's 56 cubic feet of expanded cargo space. A twin glove box up front adds convenience, and there are numerous other cubbies.

Review continues below

Overall, the Tiguan has a very refined, high-quality feel inside. Fit and finish and build quality in the Tiguan are top-notch, and while there's a little wind noise on the highway, the Tiguan's cabin is well isolated from road and engine noise.

With the Tiguan, Volkswagen keeps to its commitment to safety features and top-notch occupant protection. Standard features include front side airbags, side-curtain bags, and stability control, while rear side thorax airbags—not often available in this class—are an option. On all-wheel-drive versions, hill descent control is also included, to help control speed on steep slopes. Safety results have been excellent.

For 2011, the Tiguan gets a new lineup of alloy wheel designs, as well as new steering-wheel designs—including multi-function buttons for audio. Base S models get a new single-CD sound system, and an iPod adapter and voice-activated Bluetooth are now also standard on all models. The SEL model includes leather seats and push-button start, and roof-rack rails come with SE and SEL trims. Noteworthy options include a sizable panoramic sunroof, a navigation system (improved for this year), and a music hard drive, and an iPod connection. The navigation and audio setup also includes DVD video playback when the vehicle is stopped, and an SD memory card slot. The top Dynaudio system remains offered only on the Tiguan SEL 4Motion model.

7

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

Styling

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan stands out from the competition by appearing more carlike rather than rugged, with a richer interior look.

The stylish Volkswagen Tiguan 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. Design-wise, it gives the impression, as vehicles in this class often do, of a vehicle that was designed from the inside out; the smooth but conservative look appears as more blandly contemporary than sporty or adventurous. But there's nice detailing to keep it in line with Volkswagen's cars, as well as the Touareg SUV.

Inside, the styling is also familiar from VW's cars, yet a little more upright. While the presentation is very straightforward, the finishes are richer than we've come to expect from Volkswagen.

Review continues below
7

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

Performance

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan isn't quick, but it's one of the more impressive entries in a class of vehicles that aren't very exciting to drive.

The 2011 Tiguan drives more like an especially tall car than a utility vehicle, and it does, at least at first impression, feel significantly more nimble and responsive feel than rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

The basics are promising; the Tiguan packs a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, with front- or all-wheel-drive configurations, and transmission options include either a six-speed manual or an automatic. But the goods aren't here to satisfy enthusiasts; the Tiguan is tuned for all-around ability rather than ultimate precision, and this reflects in the ride, steering, and brakes.

For smoothness, refinement, and overall responsiveness, the Tiguan's engine is one of the best in this class; it produces plenty of torque without needing to rev, so it's as well-suited with the automatic transmission as with the manual. Likewise, the engine seems to deal well with a heavy load—and in case you want to tow a small trailer, it's good for up to 2,200 pounds. Although the manual version might be a little more fun, you'll have to content with a shift linkage that's light but, compared to other VW efforts, very imprecise.

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. Push the Tiguan hard and it's no more rewarding to drive than those other crossovers.

Review continues below
8

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

Comfort & Quality

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan impresses with a spacious, well-designed interior and a refined cabin feel.

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan has the straightforward, versatile, and comfortable interior that compact crossover shoppers look for. Sporty and supportive seats give good comfort and an excellent driving position in front, and the flexible interior package includes second-row split bench seats designed to slide and tilt. Even larger adults will be very comfortable in the front seats, thanks to generous headroom, shoulder room, and legroom, and the back seats are ample for adults.

The cargo compartment has a small hidden storage bin underneath the load floor, and with the 60/40-split back seats folded there's 56 cubic feet of expanded cargo space. A twin glove box up front adds convenience, and there are numerous other cubbies.

Overall, the Tiguan has a very refined, high-quality feel inside. Fit and finish and build quality in the Tiguan are top-notch, and while there's a little wind noise on the highway, the Tiguan's cabin is well isolated from road and engine noise.

Review continues below
9

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

Safety

With available rear thorax airbags and top-tier safety ratings, the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the safest vehicles in its class.

With the Tiguan, Volkswagen keeps to its commitment to safety features and top-notch occupant protection. Standard features include front side airbags, side-curtain bags, and stability control, while rear side thorax airbags—not often available in this class—are an option. On all-wheel-drive versions, hill descent control is also included, to help control speed on steep slopes.

Safety results have been excellent, too. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Tiguan top 'good' ratings in every test category, along with its Top Safety Pick designation for 2011. And although the Tiguan hasn't yet been tested under tougher new tests introduced by the federal government for 2011, last year's Tiguan received straight five-star ratings.

Outward visibility is also better than typical for this class of vehicle, with the tall seating position not only affording a great view forward but also rearward for parking and lane changes.

Review continues below
8

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

Features

Though the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan isn't priced quite as low as rival models, it offers lots of convenience and entertainment options.

The Tiguan remains offered in S, SE, and SEL models, and in each case is a strong value, with a high level of standard features—albeit at a slight price premium versus other models in this class.

For 2011, the Tiguan gets a new lineup of alloy wheel designs, as well as new steering-wheel designs—including multi-function buttons for audio. Base S models get a new single-CD sound system, and an iPod adapter and voice-activated Bluetooth are now also standard on all models. The SEL model includes leather seats and push-button start, and roof-rack rails come with SE and SEL trims.

Noteworthy options include a sizable panoramic sunroof, a navigation system (improved for this year), and a music hard drive, and an iPod connection. The navigation and audio setup also includes DVD video playback when the vehicle is stopped, and an SD memory card slot. The top Dynaudio system remains offered only on the Tiguan SEL 4Motion model.

Review continues below
6

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

Fuel Economy

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan has unimpressive fuel economy, and compared to other small crossovers it's anything but green.

The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan gets EPA city ratings of 18 to 20 mpg, and highway ratings of 25 or 26, which places it near the bottom of the pack in its class, compared to other four-cylinder crossovers—and even some V-6 models. What's more, the Tiguan requires premium fuel.

For those who like the look and feel of the Tiguan but can't get over the mileage, the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen gets a much more impressive 30/42 with the available TDI engine.

Review continues below
Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

1 Review
5 star
4 star
100%
3 star
2 star
1 star
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
April 28, 2015
2011 Volkswagen Tiguan 4WD 4-Door SE 4Motion

The positives far outweigh the couple minor issues -- it's a great car!

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
We bought our Tiguan used - it was a lease return with just under 30k miles. The style of the car is sharp -- it has great lines, is just the right size (even for 2 kids and 2 large dogs in the hatch), and is... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
USED PRICE RANGE
$7,495 - $15,998
Browse Used Listings
in your area
7.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 9
Features 8
Fuel Economy 6
Compare the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Volkswagen Tiguan?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used