No matter which model you choose, the Tiguan is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, making 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. On the base Tiguan S a 6-speed manual transmission is standard, while a 6-speed automatic that includes a Sport and manual-shift mode is optional there and standard on the rest of the lineup. Opt for the sporty R-Line and you also get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Available on all Tiguan models with the 6-speed automatic, VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive system can be specified, continuously varying power to all four wheels depending on the conditions; although 90 percent of drive torque normally gets sent to the front wheels, it can send up to 100 percent to the rear wheels when needed.
The Tiguan is a crossover wagon, and it allows plenty of passenger space plus a mechanical layout that allows it to ride and handle like a compact sedan. A strut-type front suspension and 4-link rear setup keep the wheels in contact with the road, while an electromechanical power steering system provides precise control. The Tiguan includes 4-wheel vented disc brakes, with vented discs in front as well as Brake Assist and an electronic parking brake. The Tiguan can tow up to 2,200 pounds when properly equipped.
Inside, the Tiguan's design affords easy entry and exit, and good visibility from the driver's seat. The back seat is also quite spacious and split 40/20/40, allowing access to a full 56.1 cubic feet of cargo-carrying space--over the already spacious 23.8 cubic feet with the back seat in place.
The base Tiguan S includes power heated side mirrors, cloth seats, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel, air conditioning, intermittent wipers, Bluetooth connectivity and an 8-speaker sound system. SE models add vinyl seats plus heated front seats, a power driver seat recline, heated washer nozzles, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, an iPod adapter and VW Car-Net services. SE models offer an Appearance package that includes 18-inch wheels, silver roof rails, chrome trim, fog lamps, a rearview camera, push-button start and premium audio with satellite radio compatibility. The SEL adds a panoramic roof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Fender Premium Audio System and touch-screen navigation.
New to the lineup this year is the R-Line model, which gets big 19-inch 'Mallory' alloys plus black wheel-arch extensions, a sport suspension, power leather seats, a roof spoiler, aluminum kick plates, a flat-bottom steering wheel, a black headliner, stainless-steel pedals, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding and heated mirrors, bi-xenon headlamps, LED running lamps and additional lighting and trim.