Making our test drive a unique and rare occasion is the fact that the vehicle Volkswagen sent us was a base-grade Tiguan S in front-wheel drive. This is the starting point of the line with an MSRP of $24,890.
This means the smaller of the available wheels are here, 16-inch alloys. But though this is entry-level it’s hardly plain, still enjoying a good deal of chrome trims at the front and rear. Side mirrors are power, wipers are of the rain sensing variety and there are standard roof rails.
You will notice pretty transparent glass at the rear however, as the privacy glass is a trim grade up. The lift-gate is also of the manual variety but a backup-camera is standard. Overall styling is showing its age, though many will still enjoy its utilitarian upright stance.
The cabin of our Tiguan S came in black, though you can choose a light tan color as well. Standard seats are trimmed in V-Tex leatherette or vinyl and are heated up front standard. Fore and aft adjustment is manual, but recline is powered for the driver.
Other notable standards are a leather wrapped shift lever and steering wheel with full array of illuminated controls for the instrument cluster information center and audio. The steering wheel of course tilts and telescopes.
The base audio system includes a 5-inch touchscreen interface that displays the image from its rear-view camera well. Sound comes through 8 speakers with AM/FM/CD functionality. It has auxiliary and USB inputs as well as Bluetooth connectivity but no satellite radio.
The rear seats fold down with one pull of a lever to a near flat load floor in a 60/40 split pretty easily. The cargo area is good for 56 cubic feet and was impressively lined with quality materials both at the sides and the floor.
And under that floor is a spare tire which is fast becoming an extra or not available at all with some competitors. Overall, the interior is well put together with excellent functionality, comfort all around and a very high level of fit and finish, earning it 5 stars for our test.
Technologies here, even though very basic were well done. Sound quality from the base audio system is commendable and it offers a higher level of functionality than many of its peers. Some features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto however are only available on top trims. In total, technologies earn 4 of 5 stars here.
Under the hood is a 200 horsepower 2.0 liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine, a bit of a standout for standard power in this class. It comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, and our tester here was a front-wheel drive model. 4Motion all-wheel drive is of course and option.
Fuel economy was quite impressive in spite of my heavy pedalling here and there. The EPA rates it at 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. My observed average was 25, which is slightly higher than promised.
Even though the engine sound is a bit louder than some in its class it offers up a neck snapping personality that at least justifies the extra soundtrack. It’s refined, fun and efficient which earns it 5 of 5 stars here.
On of the things contributing to its comfortable and quiet ride off the pavement are its rather tall 65 series tires and 16-inch wheels. If you had the larger wheels and lower profile tires you can expect perhaps a harsher and more jarring ride in the rough.
Overall, I was impressed at how modern and satisfying this chassis felt in spite of the age of its design, even among its many contemporaries in the market today which have gotten quite good. It earns 5 of 5 stars in the chassis department.
The one place the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan shows its age is safety. While it performs with Good ratings on most of the IIHS crash tests, it earns a Marginal score on their newest small-overlap crash test. Additionally, the latest greatest crash prevention and driver assistance systems are not yet available here.
Quality however still sets the Tiguan forward from many of its peers. In our time with it we looked close at all its lines, its joints, its paint and its plastic. Made in Germany still has some weight to it as it was near faultless with a 5 of 5 star quality feel.
Value is good at its base price of $25,755 when you consider the extra bones over its Japanese, Korean and American peers gets you the German driving experience and excellent quality overall. We place its value score at 5 stars, earning it 4.5 stars for our complete test score.