The Tiguan is Volkswagen's entrant in the compact SUV space, going up against cars such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape. It is a popular and crowded segment, and the Tiguan doesn't have a lot of game. Under the hood sits Volkswagen's direct-injection, turbocharged 2-liter engine, making 200 horsepower.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

As a compact SUV, the Tiguan is only 14.5 feet long, shorter than many midsize sedans. Despite its length, the high roofline makes for good headroom and a comfortably spacious cabin.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The suspension engineering is reasonably sophisticated, with no cheap shortcuts, but the ride is tuned a little too firmly. Over rough pavement, the ride quality was harsh.

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For cargo area, the Tiguan offers almost 24 cubic feet.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Put the rear seats down, the cargo area increases to 56.1 cubic feet. Volkswagen does a good job of eliminating intrusions into the cargo area, making it easy to pack.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

In SEL trim, the Tiguan gets leather seats, a navigation system, and keyless entry and start.

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The rear seats in the SEL trim benefit from a large, panoramic sunroof that lets light into the back of the car.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Volkswagen makes the cabin electronics part of the trim level, so there is no need to option up the Tiguan SEL.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Electric power steering gives the steering a direct feel with boost uninterrupted by engine power fluctuation.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

One thing Volkswagen does very well is the instrument cluster LCD, which shows trip, navigation, phone, and stereo information.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The route guidance graphics on the small navigation screen are not the most helpful, and the system lacks real-time traffic.

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This semicircular menu is a theme throughout the Volkswagen head unit, and can be used with either the center dial or touch screen.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The destination entry interface takes advantage of the touch screen, but there is no voice command for destination entry.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The Bluetooth phone system lets you access your phone's contact list and dial out to voice mail.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The music library interface for iOS devices plugged into the car lets you select by artist, album, or track. For SD cards and USB drives, the interface only shows a file and folder format.

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The stereo also has Bluetooth streaming audio, with an interface that shows full track data.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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