A new Tiguan R-Line model is now the top-spec variant, and it comes standard with nineteen-inch aluminum wheels, sport suspension, an exterior appearance package, bixenon headlights with LED running lights, a flat-bottomed leather-wrapped steering wheel, black headliner, leather seating surfaces, and stainless-steel pedals. All 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan models now also offer keyless access with push-button start, automatic climate control, iPod connectivity, a backup camera, and Volkswagen's OnStar-esque Car-Net connectivity. Upper-level Tiguan SEL and R-Line models now have a Fender Premium Audio system...
When Volkswagen launched the Tiguan, it held a competition to name the company's new compact crossover. The winning name blended the athletic tiger and the infinitely flexible iguana to form Tiguan, and, oddly, that combination of creatures describes the little VW SUV quite well. The platform and powertrain for the 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan are lifted straight from the GTI hot hatch and lose nothing in the translation, meaning that the little SUV is quite sporty, while the larger size means that it can haul more stuff. Unsurprisingly, the Tiguan drives like a slightly taller and slower GTI. However, being a crossover, the Tiguan offers drivers a higher vantage point and the availability of 4Motion all-wheel drive. Also differing from the GTI is the six-speed automatic transmission: the larger Tiguan receives a creamy traditional automatic versus the GTI's lightning-fast dual-clutch unit.
The Tiguan debuted in 2008 and, similar to the CC four-door coupe and the Eos convertible, received a face-lift in 2012 with a more angular front fascia and a tidier rear end. Inside, the cabin offers excellent ergonomics and good visibility, thanks to the upright greenhouse and tall seating position. Despite always being a formidable entry in the compact-crossover segment, the Tiguan has always been hobbled by its price relative to its ever-tougher competition. That said, those willing to pony up the extra cash will have one of the best-driving, most luxurious compact crossovers on the market.
The compact Volkswagen Golf might serve as ideal transportation in European cities, but Americans prefer bigger cars. With wider roads, wider butts, and -- depending on where you live -- tougher weather conditions, American drivers seem better served by all-wheel-drive crossovers. Enter the 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan, a tall hatchback based on the Golf but sized for us. VW calls it the "GTI of compact SUVs," and that's not far off. After all, the 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan shares the GTI's basic underpinnings and excellent body control. The only available engine is VW's powerful and refined 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The Tiguan offers a better driving experience than do most of its competitors but at the expense of a few miles per gallon. Buyers can choose from a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive. Behind the wheel, you often forget that you're driving a crossover, since the Tiguan feels planted and instills confidence.
The safe feeling extends beyond the driver's mind, too: the Tiguan is rated as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The problem for the Tiguan is that the compact-crossover segment has intensified in the past twelve to eighteen months, with all-new or heavily revised players such as the Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4, as well as more upscale competition like the BMW X1. The Volkswagen lies on a plane between the mainstream and entry-luxury offerings, thanks to its fantastic powertrain, engaging dynamics, and refined interior. For some, it is just the right blend of two different beasts.
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