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Is The Volkswagen Tiguan a Good Car?

Volkswagen Tiguan a Good Car?
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The Volkswagen Tiguan has become a familiar sight on Canadian roads, its sleek European styling and Volkswagen badge lending an air of sophistication to the compact SUV segment. With its blend of practicality, technology, and driving dynamics, the Tiguan appeals to families and urban professionals alike. But does this popular import truly make a wise choice for Canadian drivers? This in-depth analysis will examine the Tiguan’s strengths and weaknesses to determine if it’s a smart buy.

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Tiguan Overview

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact SUV that brings a touch of European sophistication to the segment. Positioned as a premium offering, the Tiguan stands out with its sleek and modern styling, blending Volkswagen’s signature clean lines with a rugged, SUV-inspired aesthetic.

Under the hood, the Tiguan packs a punch with two engine options. The standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, providing ample power for daily driving and highway cruising. For those seeking an extra dose of performance, the available 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the Tiguan R-Line pumps out an impressive 315 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, transforming the SUV into a true hot hatch on wheels.

Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which seamlessly manages the power delivery for a smooth and responsive driving experience. Front-wheel drive is standard, but Volkswagen’s renowned 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is available for added traction and capability in challenging weather conditions.

Inside, the Tiguan’s cabin exudes a premium feel with high-quality materials, meticulous attention to detail, and a thoughtful layout. Designed with both style and practicality in mind, the interior offers a comfortable and spacious environment for up to seven passengers with the available third-row seating.

 

Reliability Ratings

When it comes to evaluating a vehicle’s long-term dependability, reliability ratings from respected sources like Consumer Reports and RepairPal offer valuable insights. In the case of the Volkswagen Tiguan, these ratings paint a generally positive picture, though with some caveats.

According to Consumer Reports’ latest reliability survey, the Tiguan earned a respectable 4 out of 5 rating, placing it above average in the compact SUV segment. This score is based on data collected from thousands of Tiguan owners, taking into account issues encountered over the past few years.

RepairPal, another trusted authority on vehicle reliability, gives the Tiguan an above-average reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5. This score is derived from factors such as the frequency and severity of reported problems, repair costs, and overall ownership experiences shared by Tiguan owners.

When compared to rivals like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Mazda CX-5, the Tiguan holds its ground reasonably well. These competitors tend to score slightly higher in reliability ratings, but the gap is not substantial. It’s worth noting that the Tiguan has improved its reliability over recent model years, narrowing the gap with segment leaders.

 

Repair Costs and Frequency

While the Volkswagen Tiguan may boast German engineering and a premium badge, it’s important to consider the potential repair costs and frequency of unscheduled repairs when evaluating its overall ownership experience. According to RepairPal, the Tiguan requires an average of 0.92 unscheduled repairs per year, which is slightly better than the average for compact SUVs.

However, the average annual repair cost for the Tiguan is estimated to be around $730, which is higher than the average of $521 for compact SUVs and $652 for all vehicle models. This higher repair cost can be attributed to the complexity of the Tiguan’s engineering and the use of specialized parts and labor.

It’s worth noting that the Tiguan has a 12% chance of encountering a severe repair issue, which is on par with the segment average. While this may not seem overly concerning, it’s essential to factor in the potential for costly repairs when considering the overall ownership costs of the Tiguan.

To mitigate these repair costs, it’s crucial to follow the recommended maintenance schedule and address any issues promptly. Regular maintenance can help prevent more significant problems down the line and potentially extend the lifespan of the vehicle.

 

Scheduled Maintenance Costs

Beyond repairs, the Volkswagen Tiguan requires routine scheduled maintenance like any vehicle. These are services that owners must budget for to keep their Tiguan running in top shape. According to RepairPal data, the estimated annual maintenance cost for the Tiguan is $730, which is higher than the $521 average for compact SUVs.

Some common scheduled maintenance items for the Tiguan include:

 

  • Oil Changes: Volkswagen recommends oil changes every 10,000 miles or 12 months for the Tiguan. Expect to pay around $100-$150 for this service at a dealer.
  • Brake Pad Replacement: Front brake pads may need replacing every 30,000-50,000 miles, costing $300-$500 at a shop.
  • Air Filter Replacement: The engine air filter should be swapped every 20,000-30,000 miles for $30-$70.
  • Timing Belt: Models with the 2.0T engine require timing belt replacement around 115,000 miles at $700-$1,000.

 

Sticking to the recommended maintenance schedule helps ensure long-term reliability. While Volkswagen maintenance is pricier than mainstream brands, it’s in line with other European makes. Budgeting $700-$800 annually for services can prevent surprise repair bills down the road.

 

Powertrain Performance

The Volkswagen Tiguan delivers a well-rounded powertrain experience suited for Canadian drivers. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, providing ample acceleration and passing power. The Tiguan can sprint from 0-100 km/h in around 8 seconds, which is respectable for the compact SUV segment.

While not overtly quick, the Tiguan’s turbo engine ensures you’ll never feel underpowered in daily driving situations. Merging onto highways and overtaking slower traffic is a breeze thanks to the generous low-end torque. The standard 8-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and responds promptly to throttle inputs.

In terms of fuel economy, the front-wheel-drive Tiguan earns an estimated 10.6 L/100km in the city and 8.0 L/100km on the highway based on Natural Resources Canada’s testing. Opting for the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system drops those figures slightly to 11.0 L/100km city and 8.4 L/100km highway. These ratings are about average compared to other compact SUVs powered by turbocharged four-cylinder engines.

 

Ride and Handling

One of the Volkswagen Tiguan’s standout qualities is its composed ride and engaging handling dynamics. Despite its compact SUV footprint, the Tiguan delivers a driving experience that feels decidedly premium and more akin to a well-tuned European sedan.

The suspension soaks up bumps and road imperfections with aplomb, providing a smooth, insulated ride quality that cossets occupants in comfort. Even on rougher surfaces like poorly maintained city streets, the Tiguan maintains its composure without becoming overly jarring or unsettled. This level of ride refinement is rare among mainstream compact SUVs.

Yet the Tiguan isn’t just a one-trick pony when it comes to ride quality. It backs up its compliant suspension with precise, nicely-weighted steering and a planted, confidence-inspiring stance through corners. Body roll is well-controlled, and the Tiguan feels surprisingly agile for its size when hustling down a twisty backroad.

The R-Line trim takes things a step further with a sport-tuned suspension that delivers flatter cornering and sharper turn-in response. While the ride becomes slightly firmer as a result, it’s not overly harsh, and the R-Line manages to strike an appealing balance between handling prowess and daily comfort.

Whether navigating tight city streets or cruising on the highway, the Tiguan inspires confidence with its direct, precise steering feel. The compact SUV responds obediently to inputs without any delay or disconnected sensation from the road. It’s a level of steering communication that many mainstream competitors fail to achieve.

 

All-Wheel Drive Capability

For Canadians who brave the harsh winter conditions, the Volkswagen Tiguan’s available 4Motion all-wheel drive (AWD) system is a valuable asset. This advanced AWD system provides enhanced traction and control on slippery surfaces, ensuring confident driving when the roads are covered in snow or ice.

The 4Motion AWD system continuously monitors wheel slippage and automatically distributes power between the front and rear wheels as needed. When it detects a loss of traction, it can send up to 50% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels, improving grip and stability. This is particularly beneficial when accelerating from a stop or navigating treacherous winter conditions.

In addition to its impressive traction capabilities, the Tiguan’s 4Motion AWD system also features a variety of driving modes, including Snow Mode, which optimizes the vehicle’s settings for improved performance on slippery surfaces. This mode adjusts the throttle response, transmission shifting, and other parameters to maximize control and safety.

While the 4Motion AWD system is an optional feature on the Tiguan, it is a worthwhile investment for Canadians who frequently encounter challenging winter driving conditions. With its advanced traction management and specialized Snow Mode, the Tiguan’s AWD system provides peace of mind and confidence when tackling snowy or icy roads.

 

Interior Space and Versatility

When it comes to interior space and versatility, the Volkswagen Tiguan delivers a compelling package for Canadian families and active individuals. This compact SUV offers a surprisingly roomy cabin, with generous passenger space in both the front and rear rows.

Up front, the Tiguan provides ample head and legroom, even for taller occupants. The supportive seats offer a range of adjustments, making it easy to find the ideal driving position. In the second row, there’s enough legroom and foot space to accommodate adults comfortably, even on longer journeys.

One of the standout features of the Tiguan is its available third-row seating. While not as spacious as the first two rows, this optional third row offers the flexibility to carry up to seven passengers when needed. It’s a useful addition for families with occasional rear-seat guests or for carpooling duties.

Cargo capacity is another strong suit for the Tiguan. With the third row folded flat, the Tiguan boasts a generous 33.9 cubic feet of cargo space, making it easy to accommodate luggage, sports equipment, or even a large stroller. Fold down the second row as well, and you’ll have a cavernous 73.4 cubic feet of cargo room at your disposal – perfect for hauling larger items or packing for a weekend getaway.

Beyond its spacious interior, the Tiguan also offers several mechanical versatility features that enhance its practicality. The available 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, for instance, provides added traction and control on slippery or off-road surfaces, making it a capable companion for light outdoor adventures or navigating Canadian winters with confidence.

 

Comfort and Convenience Features

When it comes to comfort, the Volkswagen Tiguan delivers a refined and well-appointed cabin experience. The front seats are generously sized and offer ample support, making them ideal for long drives or daily commutes. The available leather upholstery and power adjustments further enhance the comfort level. In the rear, the Tiguan provides a surprising amount of legroom and headroom, ensuring that adult passengers can ride in comfort.

Convenience is a strong suit for the Tiguan, with numerous thoughtful features designed to make life easier. The interior boasts an abundance of storage cubbies, including a sizeable center console bin and door pockets, providing ample space for stowing smaller items. Cupholders are plentiful, with two in the front and two in the rear, ensuring that everyone has a place to keep their beverages secure.

For those who need to stay connected on the go, the Tiguan offers multiple USB ports throughout the cabin, allowing passengers to charge their devices with ease. The available panoramic sunroof adds an airy and open feel to the interior, while the hands-free liftgate makes loading and unloading cargo a breeze.

 

Tech and Infotainment

The Volkswagen Tiguan offers a well-rounded infotainment experience that keeps you connected and entertained on Canadian roads. The centerpiece is VW’s Composition Media or Discover Media touchscreen system, with intuitive menus, crisp graphics, and responsive inputs.

Standard models feature a 6.5-inch touchscreen, while higher trims upgrade to an 8.0-inch display with navigation. Both systems include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone integration. You can access your apps, messages, music, and maps directly through the touchscreen or via voice commands.

The available Fender premium audio system delivers concert-quality sound, with rich bass and crystal-clear highs. It transforms the Tiguan’s cabin into an immersive acoustic experience, whether you’re streaming music or catching up on podcasts.

For those who frequently use their vehicle as a mobile office, the Tiguan offers an available Wi-Fi hotspot to keep your devices connected on the go. You can also add VW’s Digital Cockpit Pro, a fully digital and customizable instrument cluster that provides vital information right in your line of sight.

Overall, the Tiguan’s infotainment offerings are impressive for its class. The intuitive interfaces, smartphone mirroring, and premium audio options create a tech-savvy and enjoyable driving environment befitting of Volkswagen’s European heritage.

 

Safety Ratings and Driver Assistance

When it comes to protecting occupants in a collision, the Volkswagen Tiguan earns top marks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2023 Tiguan its highest rating of Top Safety Pick+, thanks to top “Good” scores across all crash test evaluations. These include the challenging small overlap front crash test, which simulates hitting a tree or utility pole.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is equally impressed, giving the Tiguan a full 5-star overall safety rating. Within the areas tested, the compact SUV received 5 stars for frontal and side crash protection.

Volkswagen offers a generous suite of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to help avoid accidents in the first place. Standard equipment on all Tiguans includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a rear-view camera.

Available aids include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automatic high beam control, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, and semi-autonomous parking assist. The top Tiguan trims can be optioned with VW’s Travel Assist system, which combines the adaptive cruise and lane centering to enable Level 2 semi-autonomous highway driving.

Overall, the Tiguan provides outstanding crash protection along with cutting-edge driver assistance technology. Families can feel secure knowing this compact SUV prioritizes safety without compromise.

 

Model Trims and Pricing

The 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan is offered in four trim levels in Canada: Trendline, Comfortline, Highline, and Comfortline R-Line Black. Prices range from $34,495 for the entry-level Trendline to $45,495 for the top Highline model.

The base Trendline comes well-equipped with LED headlights, heated front seats, a digital instrument cluster, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Moving up to the $38,995 Comfortline adds leatherette upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, and driver assistance features like blind-spot monitoring.

The $42,495 Highline trim brings premium touches like a Fender audio system, ambient interior lighting, and remote start. For a sportier look and feel, the $42,995 Comfortline R-Line Black features unique styling cues, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a sport-tuned suspension.

Compared to key rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the Tiguan sits in the higher end of the pricing spectrum. A base CR-V LX starts at $32,355, while a RAV4 LE is $30,298. However, the Tiguan aims to justify its premium with a more upscale interior and driving experience.

 

The Verdict

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a well-rounded compact SUV that offers a compelling blend of driving enjoyment, practicality, and upscale refinement for Canadian buyers. Its strengths lie in its sharp handling and steering precision, making it one of the more engaging vehicles in its class. The available 4Motion all-wheel drive system also provides capable traction in winter conditions across the country.

While not a class-leader in reliability, the Tiguan scores decently and has improved over the years. Owners can expect average repair frequencies and costs for the segment. Where it falls a bit behind is higher-than-average maintenance expenses, something to factor into long-term ownership costs.

In terms of interior packaging, the Tiguan shines with ample passenger space in the first two rows, plenty of cargo room, and an upscale cabin ambiance. The optional third row is very tight, however, making it better suited for occasional use. Tech features and the available digital cockpit also give it a modern, premium vibe.

For Canadian buyers who want a compact SUV with a premium look and feel, composed road manners, and a dose of driving fun, the Volkswagen Tiguan is an excellent choice. Its reasonable pricing, available all-wheel drive traction, and versatile cabin make it well-suited for active families. Those on tighter budgets prioritizing low operating costs may want to look elsewhere, but the Tiguan remains a compelling all-around package for its market position.

 

Conclusion

The Volkswagen Tiguan presents a compelling case as a premium choice in the compact SUV segment for Canadian drivers. While it may not top the charts in any single area, the Tiguan’s well-rounded nature and blend of driving dynamics, utility, and refinement make it a smart pick for those seeking an engaging yet practical vehicle.

From its responsive steering and confident handling to its spacious interior and available all-wheel drive traction, the Tiguan excels as a versatile family hauler that doesn’t sacrifice driver enjoyment. Its above-average predicted reliability and decent ownership costs further solidify its position as a solid long-term investment.

Of course, the Tiguan isn’t without its drawbacks. Higher maintenance expenses and a lack of standout fuel efficiency may give some buyers pause. And while its available third row expands seating capacity, the rearmost seats are best reserved for children on short trips.

Ultimately, the Volkswagen Tiguan hits a sweet spot by delivering European driving manners and upscale appointments in a practical, right-sized package. For Canadians who value a premium experience without the premium pricing of a luxury badge, the well-equipped and engaging Tiguan is absolutely worth a look.

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Questions About The Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan is an excellent compact SUV for the Canadian market. It offers a refined and comfortable ride, lots of interior space, good fuel economy, and available AWD. The Tiguan also has a higher-quality interior compared to other vehicles in its class. Overall, it strikes a nice balance between practicality, comfort, driving dynamics, and value.

The Volkswagen Tiguan has proven to be a reliable compact SUV in Canada. In a recent J.D. Power dependability study, the Tiguan scored above average with a reliability rating of 83/100. Owners report few major issues, outside of some minor electrical gremlins. Proper maintenance is key for longevity, but overall the Tiguan has better reliability than most VW models.

Yes, the Volkswagen Tiguan holds its value very well compared to other compact SUVs sold in Canada. According to Canadian Black Book data, the Tiguan retains over 50% of its value after 5 years which is strong for the segment. Strong demand for used Tiguans helps resale value. Those looking to sell or trade in their Tiguan down the road can expect a good return.

With available all-wheel drive, the Tiguan performs very well in Canadian winters and snowy conditions. The AWD system offers excellent traction and control, while still returning decent fuel economy. Ground clearance is sufficient for most situations and advanced driver aids like traction control help in slippery conditions. The Tiguan is a great year-round vehicle for Canada.

Fuel economy for the front-wheel drive Tiguan is rated at 9.5 L/100 km in the city and 7.8 L/100 km on the highway. Going with all-wheel drive only slightly reduces efficiency to 9.7 city and 8.0 highway. These numbers are very good for a compact SUV. Real world economy will vary depending on driving style. The Tiguan runs fine on regular 87 octane fuel.

Insurance rates for the Tiguan are very reasonable and on par with other compact SUVs. Average annual premiums range from $1,200 – $1,800 depending on the province, coverage, driving history and other factors. The Tiguan has above average safety ratings which help lower insurance costs. It’s considered an affordable vehicle to insure for most Canadian drivers.

The Volkswagen Tiguan has longer routine maintenance intervals than most vehicles, with oil changes needed only once a year or every 10,000 – 20,000 kms. Brakes, tires, fluids and other wear items can easily last over 50,000 kms with proper care. There is no timing belt to replace. Overall maintenance costs are average. Using the proper VW specification oil is recommended.

With the rear seats up, maximum cargo capacity is 1,655 litres which is among the most spacious in the compact SUV segment. Rear seats also fold fully flat to open up even more room when needed. There is a good amount of storage throughout the cabin as well. Overall the Tiguan offers excellent utility and space for gear, luggage, and cargo – making it a practical family vehicle.

The Tiguan performs very well in safety crash testing with high scores from both IIHS and NHTSA, including a Top Safety Pick + rating. Standard active safety features include forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Upgrading to higher trims adds more advanced driver assistance systems.

Yes, the all-wheel drive Volkswagen Tiguan handles very well in snow and winter weather thanks to its advanced Haldex AWD system. The system automatically transfers power to maintain grip in slippery conditions. It works seamlessly to keep you moving through Canadian winters. Winter tires are still recommended for maximum snow and ice traction.

Ride quality in the Tiguan is very smooth and comfortable, even over rough pavement and bumps. Noise isolation is also impressive with minimal road, wind and engine noise entering the cabin. The supportive front seats stay comfortable over longer drives. Overall the Tiguan offers a quiet, refined and pleasant driving experience perfect for Canadian roads.

Yes, the Tiguan is an excellent compact SUV choice for families. With generous passenger and cargo space, available 3rd row seating, great safety scores, and user-friendly tech – it easily handles the needs of most families. Family-friendly options include integrated child seats, a panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, heated rear seats and more. Overall, it’s a very practical and versatile family vehicle.

Volkswagen’s latest MIB3 infotainment system comes standard, offering excellent responsiveness, crisp graphics and full smartphone integration. Higher trims add a digital cockpit display, wireless charging, Fender premium audio, and a surround view camera system. Active safety tech and driver aids are also well executed. Overall the tech is very modern and matches or beats the competition.

No, maintenance costs on the Tiguan are quite reasonable compared to other compact SUVs. Brakes, tires and other wear items will easily last over 50,000 kms with proper care. VW states oil changes are needed only once a year or every 10,000 – 20,000 kms. There is no timing belt that needs regular replacement either. Overall running costs are average.

Properly maintained Tiguans are very durable and reliable vehicles. Most examples will last between 200,000 – 300,000 kms or 10 – 15 years before major issues start occurring, assuming regular maintenance is performed. There are many Tiguans in Canada with over 150,000 kms still running strong. Lifespan ultimately comes down to care and maintenance.



The Tiguan makes sense to buy or lease depending on your situation. Buying is best if you plan to keep it long term as resale value is strong. Leasing could work if you want lower monthly payments and plan to switch vehicles more regularly. The Tiguan holds value well which helps minimize depreciation at lease turn in. Evaluate your budget and ownership plans to decide.

While not a serious off-roader, the all-wheel drive Tiguan can competently handle moderate off-road trails when equipped with proper tires. Decent ground clearance, optimal approach/departure angles, hill descent control allow you to explore forest roads and rural terrain. A locking rear differential further boosts capability. Overall it goes farther off-road than expected.

The 2024 Tiguan starts production in Q3 of 2023 and brings minor styling updates inside and out, new wheel designs, some new tech features, and a lower cost base Trendline trim. Most mechanical specs remain unchanged. If you find a good deal on an outgoing 2023, buy it and save some money. Otherwise the 2024 adds nice upgrades for a little more.

The most common VW Tiguan problems are minor in nature. Some owners report issues with the sunroof, power liftgate, and infotainment system glitches. The fuel pump, thermostat housing, and turbocharger may need premature replacement in some cases. Proper maintenance and repairs as soon as issues pop up is key to longevity and preventing major failures down the road.



When properly equipped with a factory towing package, the front-wheel drive Tiguan can tow up to 1,500 lbs (680 kg). Going with all-wheel drive boosts the rating to 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg). While not a serious tow vehicle, that’s enough capability to handle small trailers, boats, ATVs and more. Just be careful not to exceed the vehicle’s limits.

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