Do you really need a full-size SUV or crossover?
This compact SUV seats five people, it's a lot more maneuverable and it gets better fuel mileage.
Let's get inside the 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan and check the tech.
This Tiguan is actually built on the VW golf platform,
but this is a compact SUV, it's 14-1/2 feet long which is about the size of most compact midsize cars.
It's pretty easy to maneuver in the city given that size and it also seats five people pretty comfortably because of this high roof line.
There's not a lot of cargo area in the back, just a little over 23 cubic feet, but you put the rear seats down and you probably carry your weekend Ikea around back there.
Now this is the SEL trim level, so it's the highest trim level and something the Volkswagen has been doing a lot
recently is this big panoramic sunroofs.
This thing stretches all the way back over the rear compartment.
It's a huge amount of space and it also has this nice cover inside so you can open up the top, but still filter out the sunlight with this cover, and still get your fresh air.
Now you may have seen Brian Cooley complain about this head unit in the Volkswagen.
He's not a fan of this interface, but I happen to like it.
Volkswagen does this sort of semi-circular menu structure
and these icons here, so you just gotta twirl this knob around, select all the different menu options.
This is showing the navigations-- I can choose address, intersection, different ways of entering addresses.
I can also use this touchscreen and pop any of these icons and bring up the different menus.
Now, this navigation system comes standard in this SEL trim Tiguan, so you don't need to pay any extra for it, but this is kinda why it would drop down to a lower trim level 'cause I don't really like this navigation system so much.
map screen is pretty small, it doesn't have traffic, so that-- it's pretty low tech as far as navigation systems go and when you're under guidance, the graphics aren't very explicit, they don't give you a lot of guidance on which way you need to go.
Fortunately, and this is something Volkswagen's really good at, is they've got this center LCD and instrument cluster, that'll show good route guidance directions that will actually show arrows and the street we need to turn on, so I'm usually referring to that when I wanna follow a route instead of looking over here.
Now, of course, there's
also the digital audio sources on here and we've got satellite radio, strangely, no HD radio.
We've got our digital media sources.
This is one thing that Volkswagen does is that-- they really got to get over this, they got this crazy proprietary port down here in the console maybe with this cable hanging off of it.
This one has a 30 pin iPod connector, so if you have a modern iOS device, you have to plug in this little adaptor then you can plug in your iOS device and boom-- there you go, you can have music, I mean, they should really just have a USB
port in the console, maybe two even, because a lot of cars are going that way now.
As far as the stereo system goes is that, this is another problem I have with this car, I think this audio system sounds terrible.
The bass [unk] are okay, they're what you're expecting in an economy car, a compact car, but the highs are just terrible, I couldn't even listen to music in there-- the highs are so bad I actually turned down the treble to make it sound better.
Now, fortunately, in the 2014 version of the Tiguan, Volkswagen's gonna start offering its Fender
audio system and that's actually one of the best audio systems we've heard in a compact economy car.
Now, of course we also have a Bluetooth hands-free phone system and this is pretty decent, you can get all your phonebook and recent calls and stuff like that from the same kinda circular menu, the same kind of format as navigation and as the audio system and of course you also have voice command here.
Now, voice command here only works with the phone system.
It doesn't work for navigation, it doesn't work for the audio system, so again, it's kind of a limited phone system.
the cabin tech in the Tiguan, most of the Volkswagen's cabin tech is pretty basic.
They're not pushing any boundaries here.
They cover some good basis, but it's not the best stuff.
Now, of course, we also have the one-choice only automatic transmission here.
This is a six-speed automatic transmission.
This is Volkswagen's Tiptronic system.
It has the ability to like manual shift and it's got a sport mode, but it's not their DSG automated manual, which is kind of a nicer transmission, it's a decent transmission for what this car
is and frankly and I prefer driving around in sport mode most of the time because it gave this thing a little more oomph.
TSI, that means Turbo Stratified Injection in Volkswagen terms, that's basically direct injection with a turbo charger, that force feeds air into the thing also gives it more boost, so we end up with 200 horsepower, 207 pound feet of torque, now this engine gets this car an EPA rated 20 miles per gallon city,
26 miles per gallon highway.
In real world driving, I've been seeing low to mid 20s, so that's probably where you gonna get with this car.
Behind the wheel, there are a couple things that I like about the Tiguan and a lot of things I don't.
First of all, I do like the size of this car, you feel like you've got good maneuverability.
It's easy to kinda jog between lanes or parking spaces or
you know, turnaround in city streets pretty easily, it's not bad.
Also this steering, this is electric power steering boost and at low speeds it feels kind of overboosted so it's really easy to turn the wheel.
At high speed it actually firms up a bit, so you get a little more heft to the wheel and doesn't move around as easily.
But now the things that I don't like about this car, the engine-- I don't know, it should be enough, 200 horsepower, 207 pound feet of torque, but it just doesn't seem to
have the kind of oomph you want especially if you're gonna accelerate, you got to weigh a little bit then it tries to charge forward, does a pretty good [unk] job once it gets moving, but it takes a little while to go.
The final thing that I'm just not crazy about the Tiguan is the right quality.
It's fine on smooth roads, but once you get on slightly rough roads, it just kinda goes all the hell.
You can feel a lot of jarring, a lot of harshness.
It really should be better-- I'm surprised it isn't, 'cause this cabin has
sort of a premium feel and I don't know, going over rougher roads it just--it's just uncomfortable.
Base model on the 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan goes for about $23,000.
This SEL model goes for $37,130-- that's pushing $40,000.
Although, you do get all the equipment, you get navigation system, all the electronics, leather seating and that big panoramic sunroof.
I wouldn't buy this car.
I'd wait for the 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan which is gonna be cheaper and Volkswagen's gonna offer with the Fender audio system in the upper trim levels.