2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Review
A revised and updated 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan crossover SUV was introduced at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show and will be in showrooms this fall. With improvements to fuel economy, upgrades to the interior and new color options, the 2012 Tiguan exterior now incorporates the new Volkswagen family front-end design.
While the revamped 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan won’t officially be introduced to the world until its 2011 Geneva Motor Show debut, that won’t stop interested European customers from buying them. VW has revealed that that the first examples are already rolling off the line and into into German showrooms.
The life of a Volkswagen designer must be a curious existence. While other brands parade a plethora of exotic styles, VW dishes up cars that differ little from generation to generation, or from model to model. The new 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan, for example, is a near facsimile of the larger Touareg and has evolved only slightly from the 2007 original. Right now, the VW design studio is not exactly a hotbed of creativity.
A new look, at least for the exterior. Designers have reworked the Tiguan’s form to bring it in-line with recent Volkswagen design trends, leaving it looking like a 2011 Touareg in three-quarters scale. New headlamps with LED running lights smoothly flow into a slender, broad grille. In back, the compact SUV receives new tail lamp assemblies, complete with interesting L-shaped lenses, echoing those used on its big brother.
The 2012 Tiguan design incorporates the horizontal Volkswagen brand face, with a redesigned grille featuring two horizontal bars running between the headlamps. Trapezoidal lower air intakes containing the fog lamp housings are separated by a new center element. A chrome accent along the lower body will be added to 2012 Tiguan SE and SEL trims. The taillamps for the Tiguan have been redesigned with cues similar to all new VW models, using a double-L design. 2012 Tiguan SEL versions will offer new bi-xenon headlamps with Volkswagen’s corner-following AFS headlight system for the first time.
2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Feature
The familiar direct-injection 1,984cc turbo offers a modest power hike over the outgoing model. It now produces 207 horsepower (up from 200) between 5,300 and 6,200 rpm. Peak torque of 206 pound-feet is available from 1,700-5,200 rpm. VW claims zero to 62 mph in 7.8 seconds for the six-speed manual, or 7.3 seconds for the seven-speed DSG double-clutch automatic. The latter replaces the torque-converter auto found in the original Tiguan.
In Europe, this model is only available with 4Motion permanent four-wheel drive, but in the U.S. VW is likely to persist with offering both two- and four-wheel-drive options. The latter normally apportions 90 percent of the propulsive force to the front axle in the interests of fuel economy, but it can send almost 100 percent to the rear. All our test vehicles were equipped with this system.
All three trim levels will offer the choice of front- or 4Motion all-wheel drive. The standard automatic transmission will be a 6-speed, with a new 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic offered as an option. Some reports say that a new limited-slip differential will be offered on models intended for off-road use. The 2.0-liter clean diesel engine may be offered as an optional powerplant as well.
The cabin is classic Volkswagen. It’s nicely built using high-quality materials, and everything is sensibly arranged, but it’s a bit dull. This is a car designed for a utilitarian purpose that imparts a quiet sense of satisfaction. A brace of 6-footers can sit in tandem without difficulty and the rear seat can be reclined by up to 23 degrees, which is a nice touch. The cargo area is a good size, too, ranging from 16.6 cubic feet to 53.3, and, by folding the passenger seat flat, you can accommodate loads up to 8 feet 2 inches long.
2012 Tiguan models will come with Bluetooth, an auxiliary port, power heated sideview mirrors and six airbags. An eight-speaker audio system is standard, and a touch-screen audio system will be available on the Tiguan SE. Also available are two color touch-screen navigation systems, the RNS 315 or the RNS 510 system with a rearview camera. Tiguan SEL models will feature a Dynaudio 300-watt sound system, alloy wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. The Tiguan will offer a 19-inch wheel option.
To be sure, the compact SUV has undergone a refresh, rather than a full-fledged redesign. Most notable among the Tiguan’s changes are a pair of new front-bumper designs, headlights with LED running lights, and the two-bar grille that has come to define current VW products. At the back, the tailgate wears sharper creases, and the light housings are smaller and more squared-off. Updates to the interior are minimal, with new HVAC controls and a new multifunction steering wheel being the most obvious.
The prices are likely to continue unchanged from the old model, so expect an entry sticker of around $24,000. Those parting with this sum will receive a thoroughly capable machine, and anyone wishing to downsize from a larger SUV will be able to do so without feeling the pinch. There is nothing about the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan that’s truly exceptional, but it is also hard to criticize and goes about its business with minimal fuss.