Review: 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan

Written by: Calvin Chan

Photography by: Calvin Chan


Ahh the Tiguan, the German’s way of compounding a tiger and an iguana. Not only is this popular compact SUV reaching the end of its seven-year long tenure, but it’s surprisingly keeping up with the more modern competition with a handsome face and undeniable refinement.

Debuted all the way back in 2009, the Tiguan is surely an aging vehicle. 2016 marks a rollover year for the crossover despite many rumours last year predicting it would be an entirely new model by now – that honour is saved for 2017.

The Tiguan rides on Volkswagen’s old platform, not the ingenious MQB platform used in all the new Golfs and Passats you’ll see rolling into the showrooms today. Think of the Tiguan as a taller, heavier, and bulkier Golf wearing high heels. Now it’s no question that we loved that GTI hatchback: it’s turbocharged engine, zippy handling, and unmatched utility, and you can read all about our unbiased love here. But does this love spread over to this animalistic crossover?


Despite a lack of any exterior changes this year, the Tiguan has matured fairly well, a compliment that can’t be said for many SUVs on the road today. We can’t help but love the corporate double-lined grille and the fresh coat of Krypton Grey Metallic, even though it gives off a purple-ish hue in certain lighting conditions.

The exterior follows a clean design like its brothers in arms, the Tourareg and CC, but the Tiguan falls short in the interior. The cabin is simplistic and all the buttons are in thoughtful places with a tasteful arrangement. However it can’t help but feel a bit 1990s in here.

The steering wheel is a good grippy size but beginning to look incredibly dated. And I can’t understand why the Tiguan needs so many air vents cluttering the dashboard – it looks like one of those motorized gun drones from Call of Duty. Drivers will love the high seating position though. You sit way up there with a commanding view over the road and it invokes an appealing sense of safety.

The interior cabin space is pleasing and spacious – I don’t feel cramped in the back seats and they offer 60/40 split folding and a sliding and reclining feature as well.

The Tiguan is trying hard to stay modern, and new for 2016 is the updated infotainment unit that now supports App-Connect (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink). Simply hook up your smartphone through USB and the display will mirror your phone’s homescreen and applicable apps such as Maps, Messaging, Spotify, and your Music Player. The touchscreen is straightforward to use and Volkswagen owners will find comfort in the interface’s simplicity.


The Tiguan receives a standard rear view camera for 2016, a welcome feature on any SUV, no matter the size or skill of the driver. However, no safety avoidance features are available here. Examples like blind spot warning, forward collision alert, and emergency autonomous braking are notably missing.

The hidden gem of the Tiguan however is not in the looks department, but in its driving dynamics. It’s a tough feat to pull off but there’s a reason why people refer to the Tiguan as the GTI of crossovers.

There’s only one engine choice available and that’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Tiguan delivers a respectable 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. All-wheel drive or what VW calls 4MOTION, is available on every trim except the base model.

The real fun starts when you turn the wheel. It’s a marriage of a punchy engine and direct steering feel, resulting in quite an exhilarating driving experience, one that you certainly wouldn’t expect a Tiguan to deliver. Floor the pedal and the German crossover launches vigorous acceleration that puts it as one of the quickest in the segment. Aim around the corner and the Tiguan tucks in like a fox and bullets out like a .50 cal.

There’s a bountiful amount of low-end torque where it’s needed. All 207 lb-ft is available starting at a mere 1,700 rpm and despite its age, the Tiguan’s got a lot of kick. The brakes feel bulletproof, its wits are sharp, and it performs like a larger, though not-as-nimble Mazda CX-3. There’s virtually zero body roll or lean in the tightest of corners. The Tiguan is such a dynamic crossover that it’s the last thing I would have expected it to be. What a well-sorted chassis.


Volkswagen makes shopping for a Tiguan incredibly easy. There’s only one engine choice, two transmissions (a manual is only available on the base model), a handful of colours and four trims. Easy peasy.

Sitting at the bottom of the ladder is Trendline ($24,990) and comes standard with 16-inch wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, and a much-appreciated rear view camera. This is as standard as it gets. You have an option of a manual transmission, or you can fork over an extra $1,400 for the automatic.

Next up is the Special Edition ($29,998) as seen on our tester here. Here you’re in the realm of 4MOTION (all-wheel drive), dinky 17-inch wheels, heated front seats, keyless access and a few other creature comforts. Cloths seats come standard here, but at least they don’t get as cold as leather in the winter. However the Special Edition trim never feels like a complete package and it leaves me wanting more. To get the aforementioned App-Connect smartphone integration, you would have to fork over an extra $995 for the Navigation Package. A sunroof costs a further $1,400.

Comfortline ($33,998) is the best compromise between cost and features, and is my pick of the litter. It’s loaded with stylish 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, auto dimming rear view mirror, App-Connect, panoramic sunroof, power adjustable driver’s seat, and leatherette seating surfaces. I know it’s asking nearly $10k above the base model but it makes a huge difference in cabin comfort and driver satisfaction.

If full leather is more up your alley, then the top-trim Highline ($36,998) might tickle your fancy. You also get bigger 18-inch shoes and the option of the R-line Package as well that adds on even larger 19-inch wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights, a sport suspension, and tweaked exterior bumpers and badging.

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a befitting crossover if you plan on hauling a few passengers and demand a spicy little engine for your everyday plunge onto the highway. Handling is ace, as is the timeless look. If you can tolerate the less than inviting interior and the pricier options, then the 2016 Tiguan will keep you content with a fun and willing crossover. However, it’s hard to recommend it when the all-new 2017 Tiguan is just on the horizon, promising to be larger, more modern, and equipped with better features.


Photo Gallery:


tiguan special edition 2016 tiguan special edition tiguan krypton grey metallic


tiguan tsi 4motion tiguan front view tiguan black roof rails


tiguan tsi badge tiguan interior tiguan gauges


tiguan drone fans tiguan apple carplay tiguan apple maps display



型号 Model: 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

顏色 Paint Type: Krypton Grey Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $24,990

試車售價 Price as Tested: $30,993
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,604
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,432 / 1,808 / 1,704

車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,629
引擎 Engine: 2.0L turbocharged TSI four-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 200 hp @ 5,100 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4MOTION AWD

油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 11.6 / 9.3
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.8

輪胎尺碼 Tires: Continental ContiProContact; P235/55R17



Search C.A.R.






    2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI


    2016 Honda HR-V


    2016 Ford Escape