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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan

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Expert's Rating


MPG 20 City / 26 Highway
  • Good acceleration
  • High-quality interior
  • Good fuel economy
  • Handles more like a car than an SUV
  • Limited cargo space
  • Ride may be too stiff for some
, Automotive Editor -
The Touareg feels more like an Audi than a VW, and has the price to match.


The Volkswagen Tiguan is a fun-to-drive, premium-feeling compact crossover that's a practical buy for those who enjoy driving but need the space of a larger vehicle. Its relatively small size and agility also makes it a cinch for urban drivers. With available luxury features, it's also a choice for people who want a premium crossover without the big price tag.

The Tiguan is available in three trim levels. The base S comes with the same engine as all Tiguans, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 200 horsepower. It comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission, though a six-speed automatic is optional. Front-wheel drive is standard, while 4Motion all-wheel drive is available on models with the automatic. Standard features include 16-inch wheels, power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry, trip computer, air conditioning, split-folding rear seat and an 8-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and AUX input. The midgrade SE gets 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic transmission, touchscreen HD radio with iPod interface and satellite radio, heated front seats and leatherette upholstery. The luxury SEL model gets 19-inch alloy wheels, panoramic roof, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seats, keyless entry and start and a touchscreen navigation system.

The Ford Escape is available with powerful turbocharged engines that are more fuel efficient and has more in-car technology, but lacks the badge prestige of the VW. The Kia Sportage is fun to drive and just as fast in turbocharged form, but is smaller and not as well finished. The Honda CR-V is less expensive and more spacious, but not as fun to drive or well appointed. The Mazda CX-5 is agile, fuel efficient and well priced, but lacks power.

The Volkswagen Tiguan is less fuel efficient and spacious than many crossovers, but it's also fun to drive and offers premium features that few rivals have available. That means a loaded model can be a decent rival to something with a premium badge. And it has its own advantages over a compact hatchback, including available all-wheel drive. It makes the Tiguan a car to consider in the compact crossover segment.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Volkswagen Tiguan
Starting price

2013 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

Recommended for: Buyers who want more features

The SE adds some more appearance and technology features to the Tiguan. The SE gets a standard automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, touchscreen radio with HD and satellite radio, iPod integration, heated front seats and washer nozzles, leatherette seats and power adjustment for front seat recline. The SE with Sunroof and Nav. adds a touchscreen navigation system and a panoramic sunroof. All-wheel drive is optional.

2013 Volkswagen Tiguan
Starting price

2013 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL

Recommended for: Buyers who want a compact crossover loaded with features

The SEL comes loaded with technology and luxury equipment that pushes the Tiguan up against more prestigious compact crossovers. The SEL comes standard with striking 19-inch alloy wheels, panoramic moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, 12-way power driver's seat with memory settings for driver's seat and mirrors, adaptive xenon headlamps, power folding outside mirrors, sport-tuned suspension, LED running lights, touchscreen navigation system with backup camera and keyless entry and start.

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