Entry Price: $24,295
Price as Tested: $39,890
This week we’re behind the wheel of Volkswagen’s new generation 2019 Tiguan SEL Premium, listed as a small sport utility vehicle (SUV) by the EPA. In reality, it’s more like a smaller midsize SUV that is sure to attract potential consumers shopping this popular class.
Tiguans start at $24,295 for the front drive S, and then escalate in price through five more trim levels of SE, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium and SEL Premium R-Line, the latter our tester for the week. Our Tiguan came with VW’s famous 4Motion all-wheel-drive mechanicals assuring traction and enhanced safety when weather turns nasty.
Updates for ’19 include an alarm system that is now standard on the SE, and a “digital cockpit” SEL trim upgrade that features park distance control. Also, expect a June release for an SEL R-Line Jet Black edition, which adds special trim and wheels and takes the place of the SEL R-Line Premium. Last year, it was simply the SEL R-Line Black.
Most impressive is the fact that this is Volkswagen’s “really new” generation of Tiguan, which debuted in 2018. Engineers stretched the wheelbase 7.3 inches and expanded the overall length by nearly 11 inches, resulting in the largest compact SUV in class.
Introduced in 2007 and now in its second generation, the 2019 VW Tiguan offers way more room inside. Specifics include a huge cargo and passenger volume increase and thanks to the aforementioned wheelbase stretch. There’s also a standard third row seat on front drive models good for children and pets. Third-row seating is more common on the mid-size SUVs, but not so on compact models sans the Mitsubishi Outlander. If you order a Tiguan AWD 4Motion in any trim, the third row is a $595 option. My 6-foot-2 friend sat in the back seat of our tester and noted he had more than enough leg room for long trip comfort. Noted, too, is a second row center console fold-down for added cargo access even with two rear passengers.
Staying in the cabin you’ll find very comfortable and firm leather seating and a new digital dashboard. Other notables include an impressive Discover Media eight-inch touchscreen with Fender Premium Stereo, SiriusXM, beautiful panoramic sunroof and all of today’s high-tech gadgetry from Navigation to CD player to all the smartphone apps and attachments one expects. Power everything, two-zone air conditioning and push button start is also noted, as are all expected traction controls, heated seats and steering wheel.
Outside, VW Tiguan features an impressive exterior design that is more conservative compared to some of the more aerodynamic motifs the competitors feature. Volkswagen is noted for timeless, enduring designs like the Golf and Beetle, the latter now in its final year of availability.
Under the hood sits VW’s 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged engine that delivers 184 horsepower and 221 lb. ft. of torque. It moves fairly well but isn’t as quick as the lighter and smaller previous generation it replaces. Specifically, when you design a successor that is larger and 300 pounds heavier, you’re going to need more horsepower to accelerate quicker. However, the 2.0 turbo-4 that powers the new Tiguan is 16 horsepower less than the lighter first generation although it does deliver 14 lb. ft. more of torque. This is a perplexing situation when it comes to introducing a new generation as acceleration to 60 mph on our tester came in at about nine seconds. With these facts in hand, a few more horsepower in 2020 would be welcome.
Tiguan’s improved eight-speed automatic shifts well and assists in acceleration and highway cruising. Still, the overall power just isn’t there even with the turbo assist. Fuel mileage numbers are decent but not superior as the front drive Tiguan comes in at 22 city and 29 highway while the AWD models are nearly identical at 21 and 29, respectfully.
Concerning crash worthiness, VW scores high with Four and Five Star government ratings and Tiguan’s added weight and larger dimensions are a plus when compared to the other compact SUVs. Overall, you’re driving in a very safe smaller to midsize vehicle.
Every Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line features a start/stop driving feature as the engine shuts off at the stop signs and red lights. You can turn this feature off if inclined although it does save gas. All SEL Premiums include front collision warning and braking, lane departure assist, park distance control front and rear, adaptive cruise, overhead view cameras, blind spot monitors and much more. Your Volkswagen dealer will explain all standard features the Tiguan trims offer when you visit.
Underneath, Volkswagen’s four-wheel independent suspension offers good ride and traction abilities thanks to 20-inch Hankook Ventus high-performance all-season tires on nice alloy wheels. As our tester is fully loaded and the top Tiguan 4Motion all-wheel-drive trim available, not a single option appeared on the retail price sticker with a bottom line of $39,890 with $995 delivery included.
Remember again, however, that the 2019 Tiguan starts at $24,295 for the S and arrives with the exact same drivetrain and suspension as the top line SEL models. The 4Motion AWD costs $1,300 more than the front-drive and remember the advanced safety items start with the SE trim that starts at $26,695, followed by the SEL at $31,795.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 109.8-inches, 3,858 lb. curb weight, 7.9-inch ground clearance, up to 73.5 cu. ft. of cargo space with seats down, 15.9-gallon fuel tank and a 37.7 ft. turn circle.
If you want one of the largest compact SUVs in class with excellent interior room, parking 2019 Tiguan in your driveway might be the best choice.
Likes: Best roomy interior in class, new design, near midsize specs, great looks.
Dislikes: Low end power, pricey when you get to Premium class, fuel mileage could be better.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Test Drive: 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium
Entry Price: $24,295