Volkswagen’s compact SUV delivers big on premium looks

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The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan is one of those vehicles I often find myself recommending to those who appreciate paying a little more for getting a lot of subtle-but-superior features – especially on the quality-side of things. After all, when you compete in the compact SUV segment, one of the most competitive out there, you had better have something that you can use as your calling card.

Difference Makers

Luckily, for Tiguan, you don’t have to look far for the difference makers, which explains why it is such a powerhouse for sales at Volkswagen. The Tiguan is one of only two compact SUVs available with three rows of seats for seven passengers. When you consider the other is the Mitsubishi Outlander, well, talk about having a run of the yard.

On the outside, Tiguan is a handsome SUV that feels premium level on the inside and rides premium level. I appreciate the active character lines that define the Tiguan’s hood, these ridges reflect the brand’s current image and feel far more dynamic than previously more conservative exterior treatments.

Tiguan is longer than most compact SUVs, which makes it look sleeker and it definitely is a difference maker when it comes to roominess. Whether it’s the optional third row of seats or extra cargo space in the back, this segment puts high value on extra space.

With the add-on third row, Tiguan is able to stretch its reach from young to growing families and span the period and value for the buyer. The third-row option is standard on all front-wheel drive Tiguan trims, and it just $595 on the all-wheel-drive trims.

Many Versions

While the Tiguan is available in numerous trims, from the base S model to the luxurious SEL, it’s the range across those trim lines that really impresses. With so many variants and start-up points, you can customize the Tiguan however your family needs it built. Whether it is cloth or vinyl seats, basic technology treatments – or the impressive high-end trims with leather and a modern digital dash designs, the Tiguan has the perfect combination of reliability and refinement for any family.

The 2019 Tiguan starts at $24,295, very competitive in the segment, but you can easily add more fun, more convenience and value going as high as $38,785 if you pick the SEL Premium 4Motion with the optional third row seat. From there, there’s only one step higher – the R-Line sport appearance package, with that Tiguan coming in at $40,485.


Inside, the Tiguan offers exceptional front row roominess and space to left loose. This is a conservative German-inspired layout and the clear-cut appearance of the dash and controls add to the easy functionality. There’s no wood or chrome running along the doors or dash. Soft touch materials are plentiful and upholstery in my high-end tester was fine leather.

Tiguan provides 37.6 cubic feet behind the second row, and up to 73.5 cubic feet with the second row folded down. If you get the third-row seating, it is predictably cramped back there – only children will be able to crawl back there and be comfortable.

I can truly appreciate the level of operation offered by Tiguan’s basic infotainment system, it’s super intuitive and supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Depending on the trim, you’ll enjoy voice control and navigation. The optional Fender premium audio system presents amazing sound.

Top trim levels include a digital instrument cluster which allows you to customize the driver information display, or to display your navigation map between your gauges. It’s a nice variation that gives you whatever you prefer. Maybe the best thing about the infotainment is that you get real knobs to control volume and tuning.

Overall, at a base price of $24,295, and offering the third-row option for convenience, the Tiguan has more to offer than many in the segment. You just need to be willing to pay for more and better.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication

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