2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

22 April 2012

It puts the ‘sport’ in sport utility. Dynamic new front- and rear-end styling. Standard 200-horsepower 2.0-liter TSI® engine and six-speed manual transmission. Head-turning available 19-inch alloy wheels from Volkswagen’s R GmbH division.

Comprehensively re-designed and updated, the 2012 Tiguan brings new standards of design aesthetics, driving dynamics, safety features, and precision German engineering to one of the fastest-growing segments of the market.

And the 2102 Tiguan balances its performance focus with noteworthy gains in fuel economy. An array of detail technical enhancements—in line with Volkswagen’s Think Blue.® strategy—sees highway fuel economy gains from 25 mpg to an EPA-estimated 27 mpg for automatic transmission models.

New for 2012

The Tiguan’s major design refresh sees its front end updated to incorporate the new, horizontal Volkswagen brand ‘face’ in line with the Tiguan’s larger sibling, the Touareg.

The Tiguan bears familial design elements to the Touareg, including a redesigned grille that features two horizontal blades each featuring twin chrome strips. In the center is a prominent VW badge, while at each end are new, swept-back headlights housed behind tough, polycarbonate covers.

Standard on the range-topping SEL models are Bi-Xenon headlights with advanced lighting system (AFS) illumination that conforms with the steering wheel to turn up to 15 degrees for increased visibility. Adding a new dimension is the U-shaped band of 14 LEDs around the AFS lenses that not only act as Daytime Running Lights, but add a striking visual element to the front of the new Tiguan.

To heighten the 2012 Tiguan’s new style, there’s a new honeycomb grille section beneath the redesigned bumper, and beneath that a gray, skid-plate-style panel with three distinctive openings. Integrated into the new bumper at each side are honeycomb-backed panels housing stylish new foglights. Below them are new black air-flow guides. It’s a tough new look for the urban jungle.

At the rear, distinctive new two-part taillights echo those of the latest Touareg and feature signature L-shaped lighting elements. The design of the lights is also sleeker and more compact.

A dramatic new feature of the 2012 Tiguan is its new 19-inch ‘Savannah’ alloy wheels that come standard on the SEL mode. These stylish, 10-spoke alloys have been developed by Volkswagen’s recently-renamed R GmbH performance division, which was also responsible for the new Golf R.

Exterior
The 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan combines the style and sophistication of a sporty, urban compact SUV that caters to an active lifestyle.

At 174.3 inches nose-to-tail, 71.2 inches wide and 66.3 inches tall, it’s the perfect size for city dwelling and country living.

The design of the original Tiguan was based on the Concept A styling study created by designers at Volkswagen’s North American Design Studio in Santa Monica, California, and unveiled at the 2006 Geneva auto show.

In profile, the 2012 Tiguan is distinguished by its raked-back windscreen, rising waistline, large side windows, and an unmistakable, trademark C-pillar at the rear. On SE and SEL trims, a distinctive ring of chrome around the side windows, coupled with black-painted window frames, works to visually enhance the car.

Engineered to accommodate 4Motion all-wheel drive, the Tiguan’s design reflects its ability to conquer all weather conditions. The squared-off wheelarches feature plastic surrounds to protect the paintwork, while the short overhang at the front allows a 28-degree approach angle.

Always ready for an active lifestyle, the 2012 Tiguan is designed to be a carry-all for fun gear. The robust roof rails can accommodate an array of accessories such as bike holders, or kayak and surfboard carriers. The available towing hitch accepts an attachment to carry up to four bikes, or can be used to pull 2200 pounds of jet skis, dirt bikes or ATVs.

Interior
Cabin designs don’t come much more flexible than the 2012 Tiguan’s. There is spacious seating for five adults, easy step-in through the wide-opening doors and generous legroom and headroom.

But the versatility of the Tiguan’s seating sets it apart and makes it the perfect lifestyle vehicle. The rear seat has a 40/20/40 split to fit an owner’s load-carrying needs. Fold down the wide center section and it can accommodate skis, or fishing gear, or rugs, while still having space for passengers on either side. With the rear seats in place, there is still an impressive 23.8 cubic feet of space in the load area. Fold the seats forward and it increases to no less than 56.1 cubic feet. And for the ultimate in load carrying, the front passenger seatback also folds forward and flat to accommodate loads up to 98 inches long.

The rear seat can also slide forward six inches to increase luggage space in the back, and for a little extra comfort on road trips, each of the rear seatbacks can be adjusted.

With the press of a button on the keyfob or on the switch located beneath the rear tailgate, the high-lifting rear door opens wide to accommodate large objects. In the cargo area, there are five tie-down hooks to keep ‘stuff’ in place, and a 12-volt outlet to power coolers or air pumps.

To let the outside into the Tiguan’s cabin, there’s an available huge panoramic glass tilt/slide sunroof that is 300 percent bigger than the average-sized sunroof fitted to, say, the Volkswagen Golf. The aerodynamically and acoustically optimized panoramic roof comprises one glass segment for opening, and one fixed glass panel at the rear. It features pinch protection and an electrically-operated sunshade that covers the inside of the entire glass area.

The sunroof comes standard with the new 2.0T S with Sunroof model, the SE with Sunroof and Navigation, and as part of the long list of standard equipment on the Tiguan SEL model.

As with the previous Tiguan, the fascia is beautifully designed with a clear focus on incorporating instruments and controls that are crisply and intuitively laid-out, easy to navigate and easy to reach. The speedometer and tachometer are oversized and have clear markings that can be read at a glance. Between them is a multi-function trip computer that monitors everything from fuel consumption, to trip distance, to setting the clock.

The 2012 Tiguan also features standard Bluetooth® connectivity, aux-in for portable audio players, and an eight-speaker audio system with an MP3 and WMA-compatible in-dash CD player. The mid-range SE model features Volkswagen’s acclaimed Premium VIII touchscreen audio system with a six-disc CD changer, SD memory-card reader, and Media Device Interface (MDI) with an iPod® cable.

For a so-called utility vehicle, there is little that’s utilitarian about the 2012 Tiguan. The interior features rich, soft-touch plastics on the fascia, beautifully-stitched cloth on the seats, and crisp, brushed-metal-style trim surrounding the eight dash-mounted air vents and gear shift.

For 2012, the Tiguan S offers new, high-quality cloth seating surfaces in black; the Tiguan LE and SE feature Volkswagen’s perforated V-Tex leatherette, available in black or beige; and the Tiguan SEL offers rich leather seating surfaces in black or beige.

Engine and Transmission

The 2012 Tiguan comes with the soul of the iconic Volkswagen GTI—the award-winning 2.0-liter TSI® turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This technically-sophisticated powerplant features double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, direct fuel injection, and variable intake timing. Turbocharged and intercooled, the compact, inline 1984cc four-cylinder produces an impressive 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. from just 1700 rpm.

As in the GTI, the 2.0T is mated to a precise-shifting six-speed manual transmission, which is standard on the Tiguan S model. The rest of the Tiguan line-up comes standard with a six-speed automatic with Tiptronic® manual shifting, Sport mode, and Dynamic Shift Program (DSP).

To support its far-reaching Think Blue.® initiative, Volkswagen engineers have optimized the new 2012 Tiguan to give worthwhile fuel economy improvements.

Changes to the six-speed automatic transmission include the addition of a second overdrive gear to reduce engine revs at cruising speeds. The transmission in non-Sport mode now shifts at slightly lower revs, making greater use of the turbo engine’s considerable torque. And the idle speed of the 2.0T engine has also been lowered to 600 rpm. Doing this has achieved an improvement in EPA-estimated highway economy from 25 mpg to 27 mpg.

To provide added traction for the 2012 Tiguan, Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system is offered on all models. The electro-hydraulic system delivers drive to all four wheels without any buttons to press or levers to pull. A Haldex® center differential can continuously vary the driveforce between the front and rear axles, depending on the traction available.

In most driving conditions, 90 percent of the drive goes to the front wheels, which saves fuel. But when accelerating hard from standstill, for example, front-wheel slip is controlled by the Haldex® coupling’s ability to progressively direct nearly 100 percent of the drive torque to the rear wheels.

The 4Motion system also offers a high standard of active safety, providing sure-footed traction over virtually all surfaces—that rough road to the lake or a snow-covered driveway in winter—as well as optimum straight-line stability, even in crosswinds.

Suspension
Mounted in a lightweight, one-piece aluminum subframe, the Tiguan’s strut-type front suspension has long-travel coil springs and lower control arms. At the rear, the robust four-link system was designed to cope with the rigors of off-roading and accommodating the Tiguan’s available 4Motion all-wheel drive. So it is mounted in a high-strength steel subframe and features a broad lower wishbone on each side, located by a trailing link, with the coil spring bearing directly on the trailing link and the damper on the wheel hub assembly. Among the benefits of this almost neutral layout are excellent straight-running stability on highly-uneven surfaces, and reduced tire wear.

For the driver looking for even sportier handling, the Tiguan SEL model features a sport-tuned suspension with firmer settings together with 19-inch Savannah wheels shod with lower-profile 255/40 R19 all-season tires.

Electro-mechanical power steering with variable assistance contributes to the Tiguan’s fun-to-drive character. At speed, the steering becomes firm and direct, increasing its assistance at parking speeds. Between curbs, the Tiguan has a turning radius of 39 feet with 2.7 turns lock to lock.

To match the Tiguan’s athletic performance is an impressive braking system. At the front there are 12.3-inch vented discs, with 11.3-inch solid discs at the rear. The system features a Brake Disc Wipe feature to remove water from the rotors to optimize wet-weather braking, as well as Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA).

All Tiguan models also feature an electronic parking brake to help when starting off on an incline.

Safety and Security
The Tiguan’s suite of active and passive safety features earned it a coveted Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick rating for 2012. The annual rating recognizes those vehicles that perform best in protecting passengers in the Institute’s front, side and rear crash test evaluations, and the newly-required roof-strength test evaluations.

Safety and security in the 2012 Tiguan starts with a strong, rigid laser-seam-welded bodyshell, crash-optimized, energy-absorbing front end, and features like heat-formed steel center B-pillars for added roll-over protection.

The driver and front-seat passenger are protected by front, and side-thorax airbags, while must-have Side Curtain Protection® head airbags protect those in the front and rear seats. And pyrotechnic safety belt pretensions cinch-tight the safety belts of the front-seat and rear-outboard-seat occupants in a collision.

Electronic guardian angels include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Tire Pressure Monitor (TPS).

And all Tiguan models features the advanced Volkswagen Intelligent Crash Response System that automatically shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and even switches on the hazard warning lights if the vehicle is involved in certain types of collision.

For real peace of mind, the Tiguan, like every Volkswagen, is covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty—three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Model Line-up

There are eight models in the 2012 Tiguan model line-up, powered by the 2.0T turbocharged four-cylinder engine. All models except the LE have the option of 4Motion all-wheel drive. The six-speed manual transmission is only offered on the front-wheel drive Tiguan S.

S
With a starting MSRP of $22,840, the 2.0T Tiguan S provides entry to the Tiguan range. Key standard features include a six-speed manual transmission; 16-inch Portland alloy wheels with 215/65 R16 98H all-season tires (16-inch steel wheels for manual model); tire-pressure monitoring; trip computer; Bluetooth®; trailer hitch prep; cloth seating; front manual lumbar support; split-folding rear seats with recline and center armrest; carpeted floor mats; cruise control; intermittent front windshield wipers; 40/20/40-split folding rear seat; and an eight-speaker sound system with in-dash CD player.

LE
This front-wheel-drive model gains additional content over the S trim, such as V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, tinted windows, heatable front seats, and a Media Device Interface (MDI) with an iPod® cable. This high-value offering is priced at $25,175

S with Sunroof
Priced at $25,940, it adds a power tilt/sliding panoramic glass sunroof and tinted windows to the S automatic.

SE
Priced from $28,635, the SE takes the S automatic specification and adds 18-inch New York alloy wheels with 235/50 R18 97H all-season tires; V-Tex leatherette seating; heated front seats; leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and gearshift knob; front-seat manual height adjust; driver seat power recline; silver roof rails; heated front washer nozzles; front fog and cornering lights, Premium VIII radio with SiriusXM™ satellite radio; multi-function display; and MDI with iPod® adapter.

SE With Sunroof and Navigation
Priced from $30,525, it adds the power tilt/sliding panoramic glass sunroof, and the RNS 315 navigation system with five-inch color touchscreen and SD memory card reader.

SEL
The most dynamic, sport-focused of the Tiguan line-up has a starting MSRP of $33,975. Its comprehensive list of standard features includes, in addition to the SE: 19-inch Savannah alloy wheels with 255/40 R19 96H all-season tires; sport suspension; leather seating surfaces; silver-metallic interior trim; power adjustable driver seat with memory and power lumbar; Climatronic air conditioning; intermittent front windshield wipers with rain sensor; Keyless entry with push-button start; power tilt/sliding panoramic glass sunroof; power foldable/adjustable/heated exterior mirrors; Bi-Xenon headlights with AFS and LED daytime running lights, low-beam assist and ‘coming home’ function; and navigation.

SEL with Premium Navigation

Priced from $34,995, it adds RNS 510 navigation system with a 6.5-inch color high-resolution touchscreen display, integrated 30GB hard drive, with voice control.

SEL with Premium Navigation and Dynaudio®
Priced from $38,080, it adds standard 4Motion all-wheel drive, RNS 510 navigation system with voice control, and a Dynaudio® 300W premium sound system with eight-channel amplifier and eight speakers.

COMPETITIVE SET
Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4

Claudia Tallone