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2014 Volkswagen Tiguan Overview
Compact and cosmetically gifted, the 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan lineup gains an added trim in the semi-sport-oriented R-Line. Added to this smallish 5-seat SUV’s traditional 3 trims, the base S, the up-featured SE and the now-second-fiddle SEL, the R-Line contributes little to the Tiguan practicality factor but, with its standard sport-tuned suspension, might make the morning commute a little more enjoyable. Alas, this latest addition to the stable also doesn’t do much for this allegedly family-leaning mall-hopper’s heftier-than-ordinary MSRP, nor does it add significantly to what some in the media perceive to be a lack of true utilitarian advantage, unlike its larger, and therefore roomier, Touareg cousin.
Nevertheless, a few tweaks in 2012 gave this compact ute a more modern look, while a revised transmission gave it a bit more fuel efficiency. Except for the new R-Line trim, however, no significant changes have taken place since. Many reviewers, furthermore, claim that the Tiguan is a mini-ute designed for the masses, with lots of style and a comparatively overachieving cabin ambiance, but lacking the expected German precision.
The modified Passat chassis gives this little hauler a sedan-like quality that’s high on ride comfort, but light on agility and driving pizzazz, while cargo area, lineup-wide, returns at a somewhat paltry 56.1 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded. To its credit, however, this latest Tiguan iteration again offers full-time all-wheel drive (AWD), known in VW-land as 4Motion, that can be selected in place of the standard front-wheel drivetrain (FWD).
In any case, the standard turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) powerplant remains the Tiguan’s only engine offering again in 2014. Mated with the standard 6-speed manual transmission found in the S and the R-Line, or the 6-speed shiftable automatic that manages the SE and SEL trims (and that can be selected as an option on both the others) the four-banger puts out 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. That’s good enough to tow up to 2,200 pounds with the proper equipment, but again, drivers are encouraged to fill up with premium gas to keep this undersized unit running right. Speaking of gasoline, variable valve timing (VVT) keeps mileage in FWD stick-shift-equipped versions a respectable 18 mpg city/26 highway, while FWD automatic-packing trims get 21/26 and AWD trims, which tote only the shiftable automatic, are estimated to get 20/26.
The AWD/4Motion system, as is typical, allows cruising in FWD under normal conditions, with power automatically and instantly transferred from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip, whether front or rear, when things get dicey.
Bells-and-whistles-wise, the Tiguan S offers such standard appearance goodies as 16-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, heated power-adjustable mirrors and trailer wiring aboard its spiffy profile. Inside, look for cloth upholstery, a fold-flat front passenger seat, height-adjustable front bucket seats, and leather and simulated alloy cabin trim accents. Additionally, cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, air conditioning and Bluetooth hands-free communications also grace this base trim. Entertainment features, meanwhile, remain a single-CD player with 8 speakers.
The lower-midlevel SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, leatherette upholstery and VW’s touted Car-Net infotainment/communications technology, while the SEL offers tire-kickers 18-inch wheels, a roof rack, power-adjustable front seats, a rear-view camera, flash-memory-based navigation, satellite radio and 8 Fender premium speakers.
The brand new R-Line, meantime, throws 19-inch alloy wheels, power-folding outside mirrors, the sport-tuned suspension, leather upholstery, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters (automatic-equipped versions only), and memory for driver's settings onto the pile.
Options, or rather accessories, lineup-wide, include a ball-type trailer hitch, upgraded floor mats, splash guards and side steps, while an available Appearance Package decorates the SE trim with 18-inch New York alloy wheels and a Premium VIII sound system with HD radio.
Finally, notable standard safety equipment adorning the classy 2014 Tiguan line includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, and front and rear head airbags. All trims also get standard daytime running lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm. SE and higher trims also sport standard front fog/driving lights, with the SEL and R-Line also boasting standard cornering lights. Rounding things out, the R-Line flaunts adaptive xenon high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights as part of its complement of standard safety features.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.