2019 Volkswagen Tiguan

Performance


#9 out of 18 in Compact SUVs

$24,295 MSRP
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2019 Volkswagen Tiguan Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.1

The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan has only one available engine, and while it provides sufficient power for jaunts around town, it struggles to accelerate with any urgency. The Tiguan's ride is gentle, but most rivals are more engaging to drive.

  • "VW’s 2019 Tiguan’s excellent steering and pedal response -- expected attributes of any VW -- contribute to an overall driving feel that’s among the best in the segment. Highway ride is firmer than that of some other small SUVs, but excellent seats, a quiet cabin and superior steering feel qualify the new Tiguan as an excellent long-haul companion." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Though the Tiguan is enjoyable enough to drive, don't expect VW GTI levels of playfulness. Unlike the previous version, the new Tiguan is not among the sportiest small SUVs, falling behind its main rivals, the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "I must warn you that there will more than likely be multiple occasions where you will want for more power, as the 184 horsepower from this tweaked 2.0-liter engine is abruptly disappointing, particularly on the heavier AWD models. And then there's the troublesome gas mileage to worry about." -- Jalopnik (2018)

Acceleration and Power

All Tiguans come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 184 horsepower. It is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This setup fails to impress. There’s enough power for driving around town, but this vehicle feels underpowered on the highway.

Earning 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, this VW is less fuel-efficient than many of its rivals.

  • While the Tiguan’s turbocharged engine generates impressive horsepower and torque, a base Tiguan is a whopping 450 pounds heavier than a base Honda CR-V. City scooting and highway cruising are barely impacted, but the added mass is evident in highway merging and passing situations." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The new engine is sluggish off the line as we climb from Denver up into the surrounding mountains, snaking through twisting ribbons of pavement and rough dirt roads aboard a front-wheel-drive Tiguan with three rows. … Even in the meat of the rev range, … the engine feels coarse and resistant. It doesn't help that the eight-speed automatic transmission is occasionally lazy to downshift, although this can be mitigated by switching the shift lever into Sport." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "From the start, we noted a lack of power. Step hard on the throttle, and you'll have to count a couple Mississippis before the power gets down to the wheels. Despite its turbo, the Tiguan felt sluggish from 0 to about 30 mph at more than a mile high. … Once at freeway speeds, the Tiguan will swiftly pass 18-wheelers as you step on the throttle. We hope to see a more powerful engine in a midcycle refresh." -- Motor Trend (2018)

Handling and Braking

While the previous-generation Tiguan drove with a sporty feel, like the Volkswagen Golf, the current model opts for comfort. Its ride remains cushioned over rough roads, but it tends to lean around corners. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • The Tiguan also clearly isn't a rock-crawler or a rally car, but you shouldn't expect it to be. The AWD will get you through a rain storm or a muddy patch just fine, but the stability control might freak out on you on a gravel road. It's more serviceable than entertaining, so I wouldn't suggest you try having too much fun with it." -- Jalopnik (2018)
  • "On the plus side, the Tiguan rides like a dream. It tracks confidently down the highway. Potholes and expansion joints are of little concern … while bumpy dirt roads don't transmit much in the way of nasty vibrations into the cabin. Germany engineered the Tiguan to satisfy Americans' preference for easy driving, and in that respect it's spot-on." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • The key downside to the new Tiguan's ballooning size is that it loses the previous-generation's Golf-on-stilts character, which made it one of the more entertaining small crossovers to drive. The new Tiguan is less eager. It rides softly and rolls considerably in corners. … Volkswagen clearly prioritized quiet comfort over athleticism, and the Tiguan tracks straight down the freeway and features a quiet and plush ride, qualities that will please family-minded shoppers." -- Car and Driver (2018)
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