The current-generation Volkswagen Tiguan is entering its ninth year in 2017, which is an unusually long life for a crossover. Despite its age, this small VW crossover has a potent engine and plenty of features. Is this enough to overcome its iffy safety ratings and other issues?

Pricing and Equipment

The Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $25,860 (destination fees included) for its S trim. For those who need all-wheel drive, it is available on the base model for an extra $1,975.

Because the Tiguan S is so well equipped, we expect this to be the biggest draw for most buyers. This entry-level crossover comes standard with:

  • Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Sixteen-inch alloy wheels
  • Heated mirrors
  • Rearview camera
  • Premium vinyl upholstery
  • Eight-speaker sound system with a 6.3-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Beyond the base trim, there are plenty of better-equipped Tiguan variants available, ranging from the aforementioned base model to the fully loaded $37,340 SEL with all-wheel drive.

Performance Pros

Volkswagen Tiguan

While it would be nice to have a few powertrain options, Volkswagen's popular 2.0-liter is a good engine for its smallest crossover.

  • 60 miles per hour comes in a quick-for-a-crossover 7.5 seconds.
  • Merging into highway traffic is no issue.
  • Other than the stiffer Sport trim, the Tiguan delivers a comfortable ride in all conditions.
  • Its max towing capacity of 2,200 pounds isn’t bad for a compact crossover.

Performance Cons

While its straight-line performance is good, the Tiguan leaves a lot to be desired in the corners.

  • A thrifty engine would help offset its below-average fuel economy ratings of up to 24 miles per gallon highway.
  • The Tiguan’s handling is not as good as we’d expect from a VW.

Interior Pros

  • The interior panels are put together with precision, leaving no unsightly gaps.
  • Volkswagen uses materials that make the Tiguan’s cabin look and feel more upscale, even in its base trim.
  • Attractively simple cabin that is refreshing and intuitively laid out.
  • Sporty yet supportive front seats deliver a great driving position.

Interior Cons

  • Volkswagen's conservative interior design doesn't do the Tiguan many favors – this cabin feels boring after a few miles.
  • The 23.8 cubic feet of standard cargo room falls a little short of some competitors.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

When approaching the Tiguan, its vanilla exterior lowers the bar a bit, but once we stepped inside the cabin, it blew us away. Even in its base trim, this is one well-put-together cabin – in both quality and the features that come with it.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

While it received “Good” ratings in four of the five key IIHS crash tests, the Tiguan received an iffy “Marginal” rating in the small-overlap test. There is also no available automatic emergency braking to help avoid frontal collisions.

The Bottom Line

The 2017 Tiguan’s well equipped and well-built interior, and straight-line performance are sure to draw in younger buyers without children, but it’s difficult to look beyond its aging exterior, safety issues, and unexpectedly average handling. A traditional buyer with a growing family is not likely to find this the ideal crossover until the redesigned model comes out next year.