The 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan is a five-passenger compact SUV that has received praise for its upscale interior, sophisticated handling, and turbocharged engine. Reviewers report that drawbacks include a lack of cargo space and higher pricing as compared to competitors. Three trim levels are available; MSRP ranges from $22,840 to $35,930.


The Tiguan is a 4 cylinder SUV that is equipped with a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter engine that is turbocharged. It's accompanied by a six-speed manual transmission that's standard on the base S model; a six-speed automatic gearbox is an available option on the S and comes standard on the other models. Front-wheel drive is standard but can be substituted with all-wheel drive. Fuel economy ranges from 18 mpg city/26 highway for the front-wheel drive manual to 22/27 for the front-wheel drive automatic.

Exterior Features

The base S trim level comes with standard daytime running lights, heated power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and 16-inch steel wheels. The next step up, the SE, adds tinted and heat-insulated glass, foglights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and heated windshield washer nozzles. A power panoramic sunroof is optional on both the S and SE models. The upper-end SEL gains Adaptive Front-lighting System, LED daytime running lights, mirror memory, power panoramic sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Interior Features

Standard features on the S model include single-zone climate control, outside temperature display, brake pad wear indicator, front-seat lumbar support, and split folding rear seat with backrest adjustment. Upgrading to the SE adds a multi-function trip computer, heated seats, fold-flat front passenger seat, Big Roof storage system, and leatherette seating surfaces. A navigation system is optional if a sunroof is selected. On the SEL, the standard features gained include dual-zone electronic climate control, power driver's seat, driver's seat memory, navigation system, and leather seats. A rearview camera comes standard if the premium navigation system is selected.

Entertainment System

All Tiguan models feature an 8-speaker audio system with CD/MP3 player, Bluetooth, and auxiliary input. The SE adds SiriusXM satellite radio, a touchscreen premium sound system, and Media Device Interface. The SEL offers an optional upgrade to a Dynaudio premium sound system.


All three trim levels include front-seat side thorax airbags, front airbags, full side curtain airbags, ABS, traction control, and stability control. The Tiguan earned the top "Good" rating on all IIHS tests and four stars on the NHTSA rollover test; other NHTSA test results are not available.

As noted by the automotive press, the Tiguan's interior incorporates high quality and luxury that approach those of Audi; this is typical for Volkswagen. The materials and craftsmanship rank highly, and the controls are large, well-placed, and user-friendly. The rear seat slides from front to back to accommodate shifting priorities for leg room or cargo space. Uncommon but welcome among this segment is the rear seat's ability to recline. The power delivered by the turbocharged four-cylinder engine creates a peppy feel to go along with the confident cornering. Some reviewers feel that the Tiguan is one of the most fun small crossovers to drive.