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First Drive: 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan S


Being on the market now for nearly 10 years is a long time for a car to go through a cycle without any major modifications. The Volkswagen Tiguan was first introduced to the market in 2007 as a premium alternative compact crossovers that offered German engineering and a sophisticated approach. The last update the Tiguan received was in 2012 undergoing some minor fascia variations and interior modernization.

So you’d say the Tiguan is due for an update, yes? And it will be. An all new Tiguan will be introduced to the U.S. market sometime in 2017 – but for now, we wanted to take a look at the current Tiguan before it was scheduled for departure. However, the Tiguan that showed up at our door step is not just any Tiguan – it’s the base S model – their volume seller – no fancy lights, leather, technology – just a simple car for the simple minded person.

There are several ways a Tiguan can be built from the S (featured here) starting at $24,890 to the range topping SEL with 4MOTION all-wheel drive starting at $36,420. Opting for the base has its fair share of advantages over some of its competition offering 16-inch alloy wheels, 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with backup camera, push button start, and a leatherette interior with heated front seats.

Even though much has stayed the same over the last 9 years, the Tiguan is still a happy lil pup. It has spirted driving dynamics and skips around traffic easily thanks to its 2.0-liter turbo-four and six-speed automatic. 200-horspepower pounces to the 8-seconds mark to move all four wheels to 60 mph and what seems to be a short enough stopping distance from the linear, solid brake pedal. The shift points aren’t all the enthusiastic and takes a moment to respond – a DSG transmission would be ideal, but I guess it’s a little late for that suggestion box.

The chassis is what the Germans are all about and when Volkswagen developed the Tiguan it was sure to impress the judges – it’s confident and rigid. The ride is solid and well in tune while also forgiving. We felt some communication to the wheels through the thin, leather wrapped electric power steering, which as little as it was, was somewhat engaging.

Even inside, while there is presence of dated technology, it overall has an attractive appeal. Soft touch materials cover the dash and door panels – everything feels premium to the touch. Offering a touchscreen infotainment system is a nice addition in this modern world but not having Satellite Radio, that’s a different story. Seats are comfy and there’s room in the back for adults – and because we didn’t have the panoramic sunroof, there was tons of head room. Surprisingly there is a power adjustable feature for the driver – emphasizes on the A, singular – just one. A bit strange, but okay.

The biggest problem we face however, is its competition. It’s fighting its own self – the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen. And when the Jetta SportWagen All Track comes out sometime next year, it faces an even bigger challenge. The Jetta SportWagen has more technology, looks more modern, has more space, gets better MPG’s and overall has an even more pleasant driving experience with the available manual transmission on the base trim.

But with MPG boosting 23 combined, the Tiguan isn’t all a completely bad statement and with 350 miles of range on premium fuel, there’s plenty of road to cover. While the Tiguan is pushing its age limit, it’s still a handsome pup – happy to wag its tail every now and again. So if you’re really in the market for a small premium crossover, and the Jetta SportWagen just doesn’t cut it for you, better act now – it’s just a matter of time before the new Tiguan takes its place.

Price (As Tested):
2016 Volkswagen Tiguan S: $24,890
Destination: $865
Performance Specs:
2.0-liter Turbo Four – 200 -horsepower/207lb-ft of torque – 0-60MPH: ±8.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 21/26/23 (city/highway/combined) – Fuel Range: 350 Miles
Grand Total: $25,755


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