NOTE: Our guest writer Tim Esterdahl got to test drive the new 2015 VW Tiguan S and wanted to share his experiences with the car on our site. Hopefully you find it interesting.
The car market is in an interesting place these days. Once upon a time, it was all about reliability, then fuel economy and, just a few years ago, the driving experience was a big deal. Now, it is all about what fancy knobs, plush interior materials and how much technology you have in the cabin. For the 2015 VW Tiguan the driving experience is top-notch, sadly the interior isn’t.
Volkswagen has been fighting hard recently for a larger market share in the U.S. with a goal of reaching 1 million annual sales total for all brands. In order to do that, the company that brought the Beetle and bus has branched out and now includes SUV models like the compact crossover Tiguan.
The compact crossover is an important vehicle for VW in order to reach its goal. The segment is one of the fastest growing in the industry and it is seen as a great way to boost sales. Unfortunately for VW, it is also one of the most competitive with current leaders like the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V dominating the segment.
For VW, the Tiguan aims to reach these customers with a slightly different approach. While the top rivals are adding plush, soft-touch interiors, polarizing styling and premium technology in base packages, VW offers a simplistic design combined with really good driving dynamics.
On the outside and inside, the German influence of linear design is quite apparent through the front-end and belt line to the interior dash arrangement. While this styling isn’t for everyone, the driving performance is sure to be a big hit.
The performance was a bit of a surprise, as my 2015 VW Tiguan test model came equipped with the gasoline-powered 2.0L turbo-charged four-cylinder engine and not the diesel variant that VW is well known for. While the turbo-diesel engine is well known for its performance, the gasoline-powered engine surprised me. From a dead stop to full throttle, on city and highway roads, the 200 HP engine provided a lot of power for the small SUV. When this power is combined with the superb turning radius, smooth shifting and great driving dynamics, you have one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in the segment.
Take the fun-to-drive aspect, add in the EPA-estimated 20/26/23 MPG city/highway/combined for the 4Motion AWD vehicle and it works out to be a really good compact SUV for a little over $29k with destination.
However, if you’re interested in a more plush interior with a sharper design, you will need to move up to the Tiguan SEL model starting at $33,590 or you will have to look elsewhere.