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2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Review
Euro-style compact crossover joins the VW lineup.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan marks the first compact crossover to join the VW lineup. European styling cues and a well-built upscale interior help distinguish the all-new model from competitors in the car-based SUV segment. In addition to its appealing design, the five-passenger Tiguan also offers real offroad abilities. However, its all-terrain skills don’t come cheap. In the crowded crossover market, the Tiguan comes priced well above some of its very competent rivals.
The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan offers three trim levels: the base S, the mid-level SE, and the luxurious SEL. The S comes standard with front drive, while the top two trim levels offer Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. All Tiguan trims use a turbocharged, two-liter, four-cylinder engine. In S models, the engine pairs with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. SE and SEL trims come standard with the automatic version.
Engines: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Models: Volkswagen Tiguan S, Volkswagen Tiguan SE, Volkswagen Tiguan SEL
Everything about the Volkswagen Tiguan starts new for its 2009 debut. A peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engine, German styling, and true offroad capabilities help set the Tiguan apart from its many similar competitors.
A contoured silhouette and a chrome grille punctuated by the Volkswagen logo help differentiate the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan from other compact SUVs. The Tiguan S comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, all-season tires, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a rear window wiper, a rear defogger, a rear liftgate door, cargo tie-downs, and trailer wiring. The Tiguan SE gains 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior details, deep-tinted privacy glass, fog lamps, and a roof rack. The Tiguan SEL features 18-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and bi-xenon headlights. All models can be upgraded with a sunroof, towing package, and rear-seat side airbags.
Highlights of the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan’s well-built cabin include real aluminum trim, bolstered seats, and a simple but intuitive control panel. The Tiguan S comes standard with cloth upholstery, manually-adjustable front seats with lumbar support, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a split-folding rear seatback with a reclining feature, a folding center armrest with storage capacity, power mirrors, power locks, one-touch power windows with remote operation, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, air-conditioning, a cooled storage compartment, interior air filtration, 12-volt power outlets, an external temperature display, and an eight-speaker audio system with a single-disc CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The SE trim level adds premium cloth upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a trip computer, satellite radio, and an upgraded sound system with a CD changer. The SEL comes with leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with a memory feature, and an upgraded Dynaudio sound system. All models can be outfitted with an optional touchscreen navigation system.
Cabin space in the Volkswagen Tiguan remains about average for the compact SUV class, with a driver and front passenger receiving 39.1 inches of headroom, 40.1 inches of legroom, and 56.2 inches of shoulder room, and rear occupants get 39 inches of headroom, 35.8 inches of legroom, and 54.8 inches of shoulder room. Totaling just over 16 cubic feet with all seats in place, cargo space falls on the limited side, even for a small crossover.
Performance & Handling
Each of the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan’s three trim levels comes equipped with a turbocharged, two-liter inline-four, the same engine that powers Volkswagen’s GTI and GLI. The Tiguan S comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but can be upgraded to the six-speed automatic found on the SE and SEL models. SE and SEL trims also offer all-wheel drive. With an output of 200 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, the small turbo engine boasts one of the quickest off-the-line accelerations in the compact SUV class, as well as above-average EPA ratings.
Unfortunately, the four-cylinder limits the Tiguan’s maximum towing weight to 2200 pounds, which remains significantly lower than that of many V-6-powered competitors. In comparison, the Tiguan’s larger sibling, the Volkswagen Touareg 2, can pull up to 7700 pounds.
Volkswagen outfits the Tiguan with a steel frame, four-link rear suspension, and electromechanical steering, which helps produce a steady and comfortable ride on and off the pavement. While it doesn’t have the offroad chops of the larger Touareg 2, the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan makes a durable choice for the compact class.
The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan comes equipped with standard anti-lock brakes, front-seat side airbags, front and rear head airbags, stability control, traction control, emergency braking assist, front and rear adjustable headrests, and a post-collision safety system. Rear-passenger side airbags can be added to all models.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Tiguan SE: 19/26 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Tiguan SEL: 19/26 mpg city/highway
- Spirited engine
- Sophisticated handling
- Quality build
- Luxurious cabin
You Won't Like
- High entry price
- Cramped cargo space
Euro-style compact crossover joins the VW lineup.
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