On The Road 11/27: 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL


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By Peter Perrotta

“What are you driving this week?” an old friend of mine asked – as a lot of my friends are apt to do these days when they know I write a weekly auto review column.

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“A Tiguan,” I replied.

“What’s that?,” she snapped.

“It’s a Volkswagen,” I said.

Well, I hate to admit it, but there are times when one has to cheat and revert to Wikipedia whether one likes it or not.

According to Wikipedia, “the name Tiguan is a portmanteau of the German words Tiger (tiger) and Leguan (iguana). The name was the result of a naming contest conducted by the German car magazine publisher Auto Bild.

It was selected from a field of names that also included Namib, Rockton, Samun and Nanuk.

OK, now that we’re all clear on that – portmanteau? A portmanteau is formed by combining two or more existing words.

While the Tiguan crossover SUV may not be on the tip of every American’s tongues these days, it certainly is a lot more popular in Europe.

Volkswagen introduced the Tiguan in 2007. I recently jumped behind the wheel of the 2020 Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line with 4 motion for one week to check out what VW brings to the table in this crowded and popular segment.

At first glance, I was impressed with the look and stance of this Tiguan model – a top of the line trim.

The pure white Exterior combined with the Saffrano and black leather interior makes for a very attractive package.

However, I must admit that I was a tad disappointed when I jumped behind the wheel of this Tiguan and punched the accelerator to take it for its first spin.

While there are a lot of positives to write about here – it’s got plenty of head, leg and cargo space room – tremendous speed and agility are not one of its strong suits – at least not in my book.

The turbo-charged four-cylinder engine makes 184 horsepower. This engine is coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The all wheel drive SEL Premium model runs from 0 to 60 miles per hour in an unimpressive 9.1 seconds.

There is a “sport” mode selection on the center console which affords this Tiguan a bit more zip, but not enough to make a tremendous difference.

The overall ride quality of the Tiguan is a bit stiff, which makes going over bumps a bit of an adventure at times. But there is enough of a quality feel to the ride to make this a quality choice for some in the SUV crossover segment.

My wife commented that she thought that the seats were a bit stiff and not comfortable. I would have to agree with her on that point.

Volkswagen offers up the Tiguan in six different trim levels, starting with the base S model ($25,965) and ending with top of the line SEL Premium R-Line – which I drove – with a base price of $38,795.

The bottom line sticker price on my tester came in at $39,815 after adding in $1,020 for destination and delivery.

The EPA fuel consumption ratings for the Tiguan come in at 23 miles per gallon overall – 27 miles per gallon in highway driving and 20 miles per gallon in city driving.

The EPA estimates that the annual fuel cost of running this Tiguan will come in at about $1,750 as it uses about 4.3 gallons of gas per every 100 miles driven.

The government’s 5-star safety ratings crash test were not completed all the way. The Tiguan did receive a 5-star rating for the front seat and rear seat side crash tests.

It got a 4-star rating on the overall rollover test.

The editors at Car and Driver gave the Tiguan high marks for “refined driving experience, available third row and excellent fuel economy.”

Car and Driver gave the Tiguan low marks for not being as quick as its rivals, and it has a firm ride with the larger optional wheels.

The SEL Premium model comes loaded with a ton of standard equipment including 20-inch alloy wheels; panoramic roof; heated seats and a heated leather wrapped steering wheel; remote start; 8-inch touch screen navigation and a whole lot more.

Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. For questions and or comments he can be reached at peter@capitalmotorcars.com.


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