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2015 Volkswagen Tiguan Review


This 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan review explains changes for the model year, provides a summary of the 2015 Tiguan, and includes VW Tiguan safety, reliability, and fuel economy ratings.


What is the 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan?

Volkswagen’s entry into the compact SUV competition is the Golf-based Tiguan. It is surprisingly roomy, surprisingly nimble, and surprisingly fuel-efficient.


What’s New for 2015?

For 2015, the Tiguan gets a mid-life refresh in the form of a restyled front end that mimics the larger Touareg. New active bi-Xenon headlights with LED running lights add a modern look to the top SEL trim level, and the SEL also comes with a new 19-inch wheel choice for an aggressive stance. VW has also tightened up the Tiguan’s rear styling for 2015, and the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder get better fuel economy, rising to 27 mpg with the optional automatic transmission.


Trim Levels and Features

Volkswagen thinks it is simpler and easier if it goes ahead and bundles options and packages them into trim levels for you, resulting in less freedom of choice and some pretty awkward naming conventions, as you shall see with the 2015 Tiguan.

Starting the festivities off is the 2.0T S, the basic model as evidenced by its six-speed manual gearbox, 16-inch steel wheels with snazzy plastic wheel covers, and cloth seats. The Tiguan 2.0T S does include Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack, as well as power windows, power side mirrors, and power door locks with remote keyless entry. There’s also a handy 40/20/40-split folding and reclining rear seat with a center armrest, floor mats, a trip computer, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and cruise control. Get the available automatic transmission, and VW swaps out the 16-inch steelies for a set of same-sized alloys. To upgrade your basic Tiguan, choose the 2.0T S with Sunroof model, which comes with an automatic transmission and alloy wheels, along with dark tinted rear glass and a panoramic sunroof.

Moving up a rung on the trim level ladder, there’s the 2.0T SE, identified by its chrome exterior trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, and fog lights. Inside, the cloth upholstery is changed out for leatherette, and the 2.0T SE also has heated front seats, a driver’s seat manual height adjuster and power recliner, and a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel. In the dash there’s a premium touchscreen radio with a CD changer, satellite radio, and an iPod connection, and the 2.0T SE also gets roof rails and heated windshield washer nozzles. Buyers can upgrade to the self-explanatory 2.0T SE with Sunroof and Navigation.

At the top of the lineup sit the 2.0T SEL models. They come with 19-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension tuning, active bi-Xenon headlights with LED running lights and low-beam assist, heated power folding side mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. Inside, there’s leather upholstery, metallic cabin trim, a fully powered driver’s seat with memory, an automatic climate control system, a panoramic glass sunroof, a basic navigation system, and keyless entry with push-button starting. For extra cash, you can get the 2.0T SEL with Premium Navigation, which comes with – you guessed it — an upgraded navigation system with a 30-gig hard drive and voice control. If you value a quality sound system, the 2.0T SEL with Premium Navigation and Dynaudio is equipped with a 300-watt Dynaudio premium sound system and 4Motion AWD*.

* 4Motion AWD is available as an option on any Tiguan with an automatic transmission.


Under the 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan’s Hood

Volkswagen refers to the Tiguan as “the GTI of compact sport utility vehicles.” That’s because it’s got the same turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood, making 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Before you judge those power ratings to be lame, consider this. Peak torque is made in a continuous stream from 1,700 to 5,000 rpm, where peak horsepower kicks in from 5,100 to 6,000 rpm. That means the Tiguan feels energetic almost everywhere in its rev range.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on the most basic 2.0T S model; everything else has a six-speed Tiptronic automatic. Fuel economy rates 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with manual, which gives buyers even more reason to upgrade to the automatic because they get 22-city/27-highway with front-wheel drive and 21/27 with the optional 4Motion all-wheel drive.

4Motion all-wheel drive is optional on any Tiguan equipped with the Tiptronic transmission. It automatically and continuously varies power between the front and rear wheels, but under normal driving conditions, the power split is typically 90-percent front and 10-percent rear. Nearly 100 percent of power can go to the rear wheels as warranted.

Like all 2015 Volkswagens, the updated Tiguan is covered by a no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program, which provides free scheduled maintenance for the first three years and 36,000 miles of ownership.


Safety and Reliability

With six airbags, a traction and stability control system, and four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, the 2015 Tiguan has a standard but comprehensive set of safety features. The Brake Disc Wipe function, which helps to dry the discs in the rain, is unusual, but the Intelligent Crash Response System is not. Many cars have a similar feature, and on Volkswagens it automatically activates the hazard flashers, unlocks the doors, and cuts the fuel supply to the engine in a serious collision.

Crash-test data for the revamped 2015 Tiguan is non-existent. The structurally identical 2015 Tiguan received a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) last year, but that laurel had not been carried forward to the 2015 model as this review was written. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn’t tested the Tiguan against its recently updated standards, and carries over only a 4-Star rollover resistance rating.

As for reliability, predictions are unimpressive. Consumer Reports expects the compact crossover SUV to provide average reliability over time, while J.D. Power and Associates ranked the 2015 Tiguan as slightly below average in this regard.


Fun Facts

The name Tiguan is a mash-up of German words for tiger (tiger) and iguana (leguan). It is pronounced tee-gwan.

The Tee-gwan is fairly versatile. With the rear seat in use, it can carry 23.8 cubic-feet of cargo. Fold the rear seat, and there are 56.1 cubes of space to play with. Got something that’s 98 inches or shorter? No problem, just fold that front passenger’s seat in half and it should fit. Also, the Tiguan’s rear seat slides fore and aft with six inches of travel, and the rear seatbacks recline for greater passenger comfort on longer trips.


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