Car Reviews And

2009 VolksWagen Tiguan S Bookmark

The Good :)   Smooth and Responsive Engine and Transmission, Great Handling, Attractive Styling.

The Bad :(   Cheap Interior on S model, Heavy use of plastic, Slippery Steering Wheel, Front Wheel Drive.

Engine 4Cyl 2.0 Liter

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Output 200 hp / 207 lb-ft
Top Speed 131 mph
0-60 mph 7.8 sec (est.)
Weight 3,433 lbs
Price As Tested $24,240

The all new Volkswagen Tiguan was first available in May of 2008.  This compact sport utility vehicle competes directly with the BMW X3 and also with the Honda CRV and the Toyota RAV4.  The Tiguan is a small SUV which many car makers hope will replace the full sized SUV that have not been selling since gas prices have gone up.  Instead of investing in hybrid and alternate fuels, car makers have just offered us all smaller SUV’s.  The Tiguan offers better fuel economy than a Touareg at 26 miles per gallon on the highway and still offers good space and a high ride height.  Our recent test took it through its paces so see just how good it really is.  

The Tiguan has a upscale and attractive exterior styling reminiscent of a BMW X3.  It features a bold front facia with a prominent VW logo on the grill and sweeping headlights that wrap around the side fenders.  The grill is also lined with chrome and features a integrated lower bumper fog lamp location, wouldn’t it be nice of VW to just include that on all models?  The dual halogen projector beam headlamps with optional Xenon lamps look like menacing eyes and stand to create a sculptured front end much more aggressive than most other VW’s.  The side profile of the Tiguan is smooth and well proportioned, with 16 inch alloy wheels that compliment the attractive upscale look of the vehicle.  The Tiguan has a wheelbase of 102.5 inches, with a length of 174.3 inches, width of 71.2 inches, and a height of 66.3 inches.  The rear features dual exhaust pipes and wrap around VW dual lamp taillights in red. The Tiguan also features painted bumpers, mirrors and door handles that make for a pleasant upscale appearance.  The side view powered mirrors also feature blinkers built-in so its easier for people to see that you plan on taking a turn.  The mirrors are also heated which is a nice feature and usually only found in high-end vehicles.  Another nice feature is the extended lower door sill which makes it easier to get in and out of the car.  

The Tiguan is also a capable off-road machine with an approach angle of 18.6 degrees, a breakover angle of 21.3 degrees and a departure angle of 23.3 degrees.  The Tiguan is also capable of a 27 degree lateral driving angle without flipping over and can climb a hill with a 31 degree slope.  This is good enough to take you where you need to go in most situations but most likely no one will take their Tiguan off the beaten path.  An interesting note about the Tiguan is that is put together with a laser seam welding method which is seamless and creates a more rigid body.  This is a more expensive and a highly advanced way to weld steel panels together which creates a better handling car with little body flex.   

The interior of the Tiguan is well thought out and nicely styled.  Yes many parts are cheaper in quality than higher end VW’s such as the Touareg but the vehicle is also lower priced.  For a more luxurious interior go with the SEL model which is fully covered in leather and has power seats, navigation and bi-xenon active headlights.   The S model we tested has grained hard plastic made to look like leather that is found on all the upper dash panels.  The front dash panel is a bit softer to the touch and this is carried on to the front doors as well, but on the rear doors the material is hard plastic.  The doors are styled nicely with comfortable fabric arm rests and a ergonomic tall grab handle on all four doors.  The dash is simple yet looks clean and modern with a digital information read out built in between the dials.  A tall and easy to use stereo system is right at eye level.  VW also provides a manual climate control system just below the stereo which is like that found in many other VW vehicles.  

There are a lot of nifty storage spaces from a tray on top of the dash to small card holder slots located above the stereo.  The area below the climate control system holds many small boxes for storage rather than one large space.  A covered cup holder gives this area a nice clean look when not in use.  The arm rest also houses another storage area and as usual it feels very good and is covered in a leather like material and is heavy and strong.  We would have liked the steering wheel and shift knob to be in leather as well as that is something we really do not think any car maker should compromise on.  The driver touches these part all the time and they should be covered in leather at the minimum.  Rear view mirrors are powered and heated as well.  All four windows are automatic up and down and the locks and widow switches are all lighted at night for easy locating.  Great door handles feel good and are made of metal on the interior.  

The rear seats are flat and seated higher than the front seats.  The tall cabin allows for great headroom with front and rear headroom at a full 39 inches.  There is also 40 inches of front legroom and 35.8 inches in rear.  The rear seats slide forward 60/40 and easily fold down.  As they fold down they lower as well providing a flat cargo area.  The rear trunk cargo volume is listed at 23.8 cubic feet but greatly increases to 56.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.  We did not have to remove the headrests to lower the seats, which was a plus.  The front passenger seat also can fold flat for longer items making this a very versatile vehicle.  Everything was easy and simple to use.  The cloth seats are easy to clean and if you have pets it will get dirty but at least they are easy to clean.  The carpets are also of better quality and are easy to keep clean, something that other cars we have tried have had trouble with.  

The new dual hole air vents do not look very good in our opinion.  They never close fully flat as the previous version did but VW has put shiny rings around them with chrome on the tips of the handles for a nicer look.  There are just too many of them on the front dash making them the stand out feature, not the dash itself.  

Roof material is of good quality made of ribbed fabric.  Lighting is adequate but there is no footwell ambient lighting during the night.  What VW has done is provided lights on all buttons and controls that you need to use at night.  

The stereo system is very good and sound quality is quite high.  There is a audio jack in the arm rest for easy connection to any MP3 device.  All cars should have this feature now that CD’s and other sources are going away.  The stereo houses a single CD player capable of playing MP3’s as well.

The steering wheel both tilt and telescoping which makes finding a perfect position for the driver much easier.  Both front seats are manually operated and offer height adjustment although it only pushes up the rear end of the seat, not the whole seat which is a flaw.  However, we suggest getting the higher end models of the Tiguan for power operated seats which will be adjustable in more ways.  Most vehicles do not offer height adjustment in the front passenger seat and thus most VW’s are better just for having this feature.

The good amount of passenger space leads to not having the biggest cargo area but we thought this was a good idea.  Most people only need large cargo areas from time to time, and with easy conversion into a hauler, the Tiguan offers great versatility.  

The Tiguan features VW’s award winning 2.0L 4-cylinder inline turbocharged engine that puts out 200 hp at 5100 rpm and 206 ft-lbs of torque at 1700 rpm.  One of the reasons the Tiguan takes off so quickly is because the engine’s full torque is achieved at such low revs.  It’s a fantastic engine and feels much stronger than its 200 hp.  Zero to 60 mph is achieved in a quick 7.8 seconds with top speed of 131 mph.  We liked the engine, which revs very quickly and also is smooth and quiet.  It is more free flowing than the Mazda turbocharged 4-cylinder that we just tested in the CX-7.  The VW engine features the latest technologies such as direct fuel injection, variable intake cam timing and variable valve timing.

The manual transmission is smooth and silky.  It has a automatic parking brake and a auto hold button which applies the brakes for you when on a hill or at a stop light which is great for a bit of rest for your feet.  The clutch can be a bit heavy but shifting is fun and quick in this model.  Off the line the front wheels are very easy to squeel from a stop so watch out if you drive in snowy areas with this two wheel drive Tiguan.  Highway noise is very low and you can get up to speed very quickly, smoothly, and quietly, a great by-product of the German autobahns.  Perhaps we should also have a highway system without any speed limits for better vehicles in the US.  The steering is also quite responsive and provides good road feedback.  The electromechanical power steering also allows for quick turning with only 39.4 ft needed to do complete a full circle turn and less turns needed at low speeds versus higher speeds.  Our vehicle is only available with front wheel drive, however if you opt for the SE or SEL models you can get the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system which would be very useful in wintery driving.

The Tiguan features a monocoque construction with laser seam welding for a very rigid and stable body structure.  The front suspension is a McPherson strut design with a single piece aluminum sub frame.  Rear suspension consists of a four link independent steel spring setup.  The ride was solid with little body lean or sway.  Braking power comes via the power assisted front and rear vented disc brakes.  They had fantastic stopping power and actually grabbed the discs too hard compared to the last vehicle we tested.  

The Tiguan is packed with the latest safety features.  It comes with six airbags as standard including front and side airbags.  A nice feature is the automatic hazard lights that come on in case of an accident if the airbags deploy and a fuel pump that automatically shuts off, preventing a fire.  The Tiguan also features anti-lock brakes, brake pad wear indicator, and electronic brake pressure distribution which applies the right amount of pressure on each brake.  There is also a hydraulic brake assist that makes sure that the braking system works 100% when you press the brakes quickly.  Daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring are also standard features.  Also free is regular maintenance for 3 years, something which only BMW has done in the past few years.  Roadside assistance is also included for 3 years which makes the Tiguan a very easy car to own all around.

The Tiguan is a well made product that suits the majority of American buyers who prefer SUVs over cars. It’s attractively styled with strong performance and handling which should make it a top seller in the VW lineup.  Its also priced right at around $25K with the true selling price a few thousand less.  While the Tiguan is strong in the performance and styling end, buyers may want to also see the recently tested Mazda CX-7 which is strong in the amount of interior amenities offered and also attractively styled.  The difference comes down to German engineering and the choice between buying the Tiguan and any of the other compact SUV’s will depend on how strongly the driver values engine, transmission, suspension and steering components.  The VW Tiguan easily aces these areas.  Most people are concerned about fuel economy and the S model leaves out the trip computer strangely enough.  Our testing averaged 20 mpg which was not excellent.  Hopefully VW can offer some hybrid models and diesel variations at a low price point.  

Car Reviews And


PRICING    S Model



Base Pricing






17" Los Angeles Alloy Wheels



Rear Side Airbags



Trailer Hitch



Tiguan Protection Kit



Tiguan Mat Kit



Splash Guards




Convert= 8 liters per 100km in mpg

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COMPARISONS 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan
S 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
2009 Mazda CX-7
Touring 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
2009 Hyundai Tucson
GLS 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
2009 Kia Borrego
EX 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 5A)
2009 Mitsubishi Outlander
SE 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl CVT)
MSRP $23,200 $25,800 $18,070 $27,995 $23,780
Invoice $21,455 $24,137 $17,507 Being Researched $22,417
Destination Charge $690 $650 $725 $750 $715
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi.
Drivetrain 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi.
Roadside 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Rust 12 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 7 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / 100000 mi. 7 yr. / 100000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders inline 4 inline 4 inline 4 V6 inline 4
Base Engine Displacement 2.0 liters 2.3 liters 2.0 liters 3.8 liters 2.4 liters
Valvetrain 16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Compressor turbocharger turbocharger Not Available Not Available Not Available
Horsepower 200 hp @ 5100 rpm 244 hp @ 5000 rpm 140 hp @ 6000 rpm 276 hp @ 6000 rpm 168 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 206 ft-lbs. @ 1700 rpm 258 ft-lbs. @ 2500 rpm 136 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm 267 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 167 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm
Tires 215/65R16 H
all season
P235/60R18 102H
all season
P215/65R16 T
all season
all season
all season
Wheels alloy
16 x 6.5 in.
18 x 7.5 in.
16 x 6.5 in.
17 in.
18 x 7.0 in.
Passenger Seat Power Adjustable Not Available Not Available Not Available 4 Not Available
Passenger Seat Height Adjustable Standard Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
Passenger Seat Heated Not Available Standard Not Available Optional Not Available
Power Steering electric speed-proportional power steering speed-proportional power steering power steering power steering speed-proportional power steering
Steering Adjustment tilt and telescopic tilt-adjustable tilt-adjustable tilt and telescopic tilt-adjustable
Traction Control Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Stability Control Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Handling Tiguan CX-7 Tucson Borrego Outlander
Turning Circle 39.4 ft. 37.4 ft. 35.4 ft. 36.5 ft. 34.8 ft.
Hauling Tiguan CX-7 Tucson Borrego Outlander
Max. Cargo Capacity Being Researched 59 cu. ft. 66 cu. ft. Being Researched 73 cu. ft.
Max. Payload Capacity 1352 lbs. Being Researched 1205 lbs. Being Researched Being Researched
Max. Towing Capacity 2200 lbs. 2000 lbs. 1500 lbs. 5000 lbs. 1500 lbs.
City 19 mpg. 17 mpg. 20 mpg. 17 mpg. 20 mpg.
Highway 26 mpg. 23 mpg. 26 mpg. 21 mpg. 25 mpg.
Range in Miles Tiguan CX-7 Tucson Borrego Outlander
City 319 mi. 309 mi. 306 mi. 350 mi. 332 mi.
Highway 437 mi. 419 mi. 398 mi. 433 mi. 415 mi.
Fuel Data Tiguan CX-7 Tucson Borrego Outlander
Fuel Tank Capacity 16.8 gal. 18.2 gal. 15.3 gal. 20.6 gal. 16.6 gal.
Exterior Tiguan CX-7 Tucson Borrego Outlander
Length 174.3 in. 184 in. 170.3 in. 192.1 in. 182.7 in.
Width 71.2 in. 73.7 in. 70.7 in. 75.4 in. 70.9 in.
Height 66.3 in. 64.8 in. 66.1 in. 71.3 in. 67.7 in.
Wheel Base 102.5 in. 108.3 in. 103.5 in. 114 in. 105.1 in.
Ground Clearance 6.9 in. 8.1 in. 7.7 in. 8.5 in. 8.5 in.
Interior Tiguan CX-7 Tucson Borrego Outlander
Front Headroom 39.1 in. 39.7 in. 40.3 in. 40 in. 40.3 in.
Rear Headroom 39 in. 39.3 in. 38.8 in. 39 in. 38.3 in.
Front Shoulder Room 56.2 in. 58 in. 56.6 in. 60.2 in. 56.4 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 54.8 in. 55.8 in. 56.3 in. 59.1 in. 56.1 in.
Front Leg Room 40.1 in. 41.7 in. 42.1 in. 41.7 in. 41.6 in.
Rear Leg Room 35.8 in. 36.4 in. 37.2 in. 37.4 in. 39.6 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 23.8 cu. ft. 29.9 cu. ft. 22.7 cu. ft. 12.4 cu. ft. 36.2 cu. ft.


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