Friday, August 7, 2015

Small Utes: 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan

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    VW Tiguan is way past due for a redesign, put it does happen to be one small SUV that is ageing rather well. As you might expect from VW, the Tiguan successfully bridges the gap between mainstream and upscale. True, it does cost more than the other small SUV's on the market, but in return you get above average performance and refinement, along with a small amount of exclusivity.
 You could easily argue that the 2015

     One thing that certainly does not need updating is the way the Tiguan drives. Ho-hum doesn't really translate into German that well, because the 2.0 turbocharged 4 cylinder engine will keep you fully alert on the morning commute. The interior design and materials also are a noticeable cut above what you get in more mainstream rivals, and the ride is smooth and composed aside from the tightly sprung R-Line.

     The 2015 VW Tiguan is available in 5 trim levels: S, SE, SE with Appearance, SEL, and R-Line.

     The entry level S comes standard with 16 inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, roof rails, trailer hitch prep, cruise control, a/c, full power accessories, cloth upholstery, a leather wrapped tilt and telescoping steering wheel, leather wrapped shift knob, eight way manual front seats, 40/20/40 split folding rear seats, fore and aft sliding and reclining for the rear seats, Bluetooth, a 5 inch touchscreen interface, and an 8 speaker sound system.

     The SE adds 17 inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, and a power recline function for the drivers seat.
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      The SE with Appearance adds 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, chrome exterior trim, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, and power recline for the passenger seat.

     The SEL adds a navigation system, a premium Fender Audio system, and dual zone a/c.

     At the top of the food chain, the Tiguan R-Line adds 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlamps, LED running lights, a sport-tuned suspension, a sport body kit, automatic wipers, power folding side mirrors, leather upholstery, full power front seats, driver memory settings, special interior accents, and an auto dimming rear view mirror.

     The 2015 VW Tiguan employs the use of the old 2.0 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, good for 200 horsepower, and 207 lb.-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard. Front wheel drive is also standard, however you can opt for all wheel drive on any trim level.

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      In performance testing, a front wheel drive Tiguan with the automatic transmission did the 0-60 mph run in 7.6 seconds, a pretty quick time for this class. EPA numbers come in at 23 mpg combined with the front wheel drive Tiguan, an AWD Tiguan comes in at 23 mpg combined as well. That is a little disappointing as many other SUV's, even with AWD, get better fuel economy.

     Tiguan comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags, and full length side curtain airbags. A rear view camera is also standard, but rear parking sensors are not an option on any trim level. VW's Car-Net, their version of OnStar, is included on every Tiguan. In government crash testing, the Tiguan earned 4 out of 5 stars for overall protection. In brake testing, the Tiguan R-Line came to a stop in 130 feet, a little longer than average for the class.
The 2015

     Compared to other small crossovers, the 2015 VW Tiguan swims against the current with a subtle, arguably sophisticated interior that looks and feels first rate. You sit up high and upright in the front seats, and all models now come equipped with a rear view camera that displays through the standard touchscreen interface. The Tiguan has yet to jump on the big screen bandwagon, however, as the humble 5-inch screen looks kinda undersized by today's standards.
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     Legroom in the rear seats can feel a little pinched with taller people up front, but most will find plenty of headroom, and the reclining rear seat backs and 6 inches of fore and aft sliding help maximize the space. The useful 40/20/40 split folding rear seat enable passengers to occupy the 2 outboard seats, while long items can rest in the folded middle section.

     With the rear seats up and slid all the way forward, the cargo area of the Tiguan can hold 23.8 cubic feet of stuff, while folding the rear seat backs can increase that space to 56.1 cubic feet of space. That is well short of what most rivals offer, such as the 70 plus cubic feet found in the Honda CR-V.

     I'm impressed by the Tiguan's 200 horsepower turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. It's more than enough in almost any situation, and the 6-speed auto transmission shifts smoothly and quickly. The standard Tiguan isn't very sporty when you drive around turns, as it is more about comfort, but there is still plenty of 'tude, which is remarkable given how smooth and quietly this VW rides. The R-Line upsets that balance, thanks to a much more firm suspension, and larger wheels that transmit more impact harshness to the steering wheel, not to mention sound into the cabin. Overall though, the Tiguan provides a mostly pleasurable drive for everyday needs.

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