Bigger isn’t always better.
Once upon a time, SUVs were all about big. The bigger the better! They were just reaching a point where they were beginning to make the average tank look compact when the price of gas went through the roof. Thus, the great downsizing of SUVs began and the 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan fits nicely in this new smaller world.
Here’s the thing. It’s not a big SUV with a third row and enough room for an entire football team’s gear but it’s also not a small crossover –CUV that’s really just a sedan with a hatchback and some extra ground clearance. This is most definitely still an SUV, just a smaller one.
I happened to have this car for a very long road trip. We’re talking 14 hours each way from New Hampshire to Indianapolis. We needed the VW Tiguan to hold me, my husband, my 10 and 12-year old daughters and a lot of cargo.
Plenty of room for all your stuff
We were on an epic trek to attend GenCon, a huge gaming convention. Not only did we have bags of clothes, but lots of games. You know, big square boxes that are not easily stacked in your closet much less the back of a car or a suitcase. I took one look at the Volkswagen Tiguan, and I was nervous that it wouldn’t fit. I stood there thinking that the Touareg would have been a better call.
My husband, in fact, took one look and said it wasn’t going to work and in a stroke of marital genius, I told him that if he couldn’t figure it out, I most definitely could make it work. He may have taken that as a challenge. So, of course, he made it fit with space left over.
It held all of our luggage, a giant suitcase full of board games, a jar of honey we bought at a farm stand in New York somewhere and even a suit he had to wear for a business meeting neatly folded on top. Oh, and I could still see out the rear window!
It was, in my mind, a bit like the TARDIS (for any of you Doctor Who fans out there). Somehow, the little Volkswagen Tiguan is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. This extends to the passenger compartment, too.
Space and comfort for passengers
My girls curled up with their books and iPods and were perfectly happy in back. The center armrest easily held their drinks and served as the magical dividing line between the two of them, but they had enough room that it was never a problem. Since I review cars every week, the girls are quick to speak up about cars without room, and this one had plenty.
It was also an incredibly comfortable SUV. Fourteen hours is a long drive, even divided into two days, so we were really able to assess the comfort of this car. The seats were cushy but still supportive so we didn’t get out feeling stiff as a board.
They’re also very easy to adjust and accommodate those of varying heights. I’m 5’6” and my husband is 6’3” and both of us were able to find seat adjustments that were comfortable as passenger and driver. Speaking of which, how did it drive?
Drives like a sedan in disguise
I was expecting a typical SUV, one that doesn’t have the response and pep of a sedan. I was expecting utility and not so much sport. The Tiguan turned out to have other ideas and drove for all the world like a sporty sedan.
This thing was loaded down with lots of luggage and four passengers. It should not have been light on its feet, but it was a joy to drive. It handled wonderfully on highways at high speeds, even when suddenly pressed to pass big scary trucks or get across several lanes of traffic for a last-minute turn.
I honestly couldn’t believe how much fun it was to drive the Tiguan. After all that driving, I can truly say that it’s a car I wouldn’t hesitate to buy for my own family. If they told me that I could have kept if for another week, I’d have been very happy.
Great value with stunning fuel economy
Something that will make anyone happy is the sticker price. We tested the Tiguan SE w/Appearance so this was not the base model. It came in at $32,440 which included things like touchscreen AM/FM radio with CD changer, Bluetooth technology, leatherette seats that are heated and a leather wrapped steering wheel. You get some serious bang for your buck.
The thing that impressed me the most, aside from the comfort and the space and the value, was the fuel economy. It’s rated 20 city and 26 highway for a combined 23 mpg but that’s not what we averaged. Our fully loaded Volkswagen Tiguan with all the cargo it could hold and four passengers averaged just under 27 mpg. That’s unbelievable.
What We Loved
- Flexible Cargo Space: It holds plenty despite its smaller size
- Fuel Economy: 20/26/23 city highway combined
- Sporty Ride: Drives like a sedan in disguise
- Spacious Interior: Passengers front and back have plenty of room
- Great value
What You Need to Know
- Price for Tiguan S (base model): $25,330
- Price for Tiguan SE w/Appearance as Tested: $32,440
- VW New Vehicle Limited Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles
- Powertrain Limited Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles
- Limited Warranty agains Corrosion Perforation 12 years/unlimited mileage
- 24-hour Roadside Assistance 3 years/36,000 miles
- VW Carefree Maintenance 2 years/24,000 miles