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2013 Volkswagen Tiguan Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan was new.


Performance: 8.1

If you’re looking for a compact SUV that’s fun to drive, most reviewers agree that the 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan deserves a spot on your shopping list. The Tiguan’s powerful turbocharged engine and car-like handling are well-liked by the automotive press, who also appreciate its precise steering and strong brakes.

  • "While not as fast as the smaller and lighter GTI, the Tiguan feels spry and is fun to drive." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In general, this is one of the most enjoyable small crossovers to drive, aided in part by accurate steering and confidence-inspiring brakes." -- Edmunds (2012) 
  • "Powertrain is great. This is what you're really paying for." -- Motor Trend (2012)
  • "The refined turbo-4-cylinder engine is nearly silent at cruise and is never intrusive, even in rapid acceleration." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 200 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, while a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are optional. The EPA reports that the Tiguan gets up to 21/26 mpg city/highway, which is a bit low when compared with the fuel economy of newer or recently redesigned compact SUVs. The Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru XV Crosstrek all use less fuel.

Reviewers agree that the Tiguan’s engine is one of its strongest attributes. They note that although only one engine is offered, the Tiguan is more powerful than a number of affordable compact SUVs. The Tiguan’s automatic transmission also wins praise for its refined operation.

  • "Other compact SUVs offer this sort of powerful engine as an option, but on the Tiguan it's standard. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder puts out a respectable 200 horsepower yet remains relatively fuel efficient." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan might not have the most impressive acceleration in the segment, but the torquey power delivery of its turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes it feel lively around town." -- Edmunds (2012) 
  • "Editors loved the smooth, torquey engine and its quick- and smooth-shifting six-speed automatic." -- Motor Trend (2012)
  • "In most situations Tiguan has ample power, but some turbo lag is noticeable - particularly when exiting a slow corner." -- Consumer Guide (2010)

Handling and Braking

The bulk of reviewers say that the 2013 Tiguan offers nimble handling and a composed ride. The Tiguan also earns points for its strong brakes and sharp, accurate steering. Still, one reviewer is underwhelmed by the Tiguan’s handling, saying that it leans in corners and has a harsh ride.

  • "Steering, braking and overall drivability benefit from the Tig's German engineering and remain above average in this class." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "While cornering, the Tiguan feels confident and poised, absorbing bumps with ease." -- Edmunds (2012) 
  • "It rolls over itself during any semblance of aggressive driving, its seats are just as flat, and it has the same rough-riding suspension." -- Motor Trend (2012)
  • "Corners are handled with modest lean, and to its credit, Tiguan's road manners are more like a car than a trucky SUV. Brakes offer strong stopping power and good pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

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