The Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 4Motion is a compact SUV that flies under the radar.
You won’t see them in droves at the grocery store or the school pickup line because people don’t think Volkswagen when they think crossover, but they should.
The sporty Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 4Motion is true to the current compact-crossover formula, with SUV height combined with the styling and drive experience you’d expect of a small hatchback.
It’s apparent the second you look at the Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 4Motion that this is not like every other crossover. Where most resemble large SUVs in a smaller size, the Tiguan looks more like a hot little hatchback.
The design is upright with few long curves, so the Tiguan looks smaller than the other guys.
It’s also shorter than most of its competitors, which makes the Tiguan easy to maneuver in tight parking lots. This is a big benefit for those who drive in cities where bigger is definitely not better when it comes time to park.
There are several different trim levels starting with the base S, which can be had for $24,890. Move on up through the trims and you’ll get more convenience and comfort features along with pricing of up to $36,420.
Sitting in the middle is the R-Line trim, available with front-wheel drive or 4Motion all-wheel drive. The R-Line has a performance aesthetic you can see at a glance and feel when you’re behind the wheel.
There are larger wheel arches, a special rear bumper and side skirts, R-line badging, and metal door sill scuff plates and pedals. A rear spoiler completes the look.
Sport suspension and 19-inch alloy wheels make the drive match the styling, and there are paddle shifters for more control. Power comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that has just the slightest bit of lag when accelerating.
That lag is quickly overcome as the Tiguan fairly leaps into traffic. With 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Tiguan easily stays ahead of the pack, and it’s especially fun during highway driving.
The sport suspension keeps the ride rough, absorbing the bumps and dips to make it comfortable on longer drives while still providing responsive feedback to the driver. This is complemented by tight steering that makes it easy to toss the Tiguan through sharp corners.
Although a comfortable place to be, the interior can be loud. At highway speeds, wind noise can be intrusive, and road noise can be noticeable.
The interior of the Tiguan is comfortable and roomy. The leatherette seats are heated up front and power adjustable with lumbar for the driver. The front passenger gets a manually adjustable seat with power recline. Bolstering keeps you in place on the corners without simultaneously squishing you.
The leather-wrapped, multifunction, R-line sport steering wheel is height adjustable and telescopic to accommodate drivers of just about any size. The buttons on the steering wheel help keep your eyes on the road, but we found them difficult to use.
It was too easy to accidentally call someone, which we did several times when trying to scroll through the radio presets. There’s not enough room between the buttons and they’re too small. The combination makes it easy to hit the wrong button.
Those in back will find plenty of room on supportive seats that are 40/20/40 split-folding with sliding bench adjustment. The Tiguan’s more upright design means even the taller set won’t be bumping their heads.
Connectivity comes from Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect with Bluetooth, AM/FM/HD Radio, and a 6.3-inch touchscreen. The system is easy to use with a responsive touchscreen and intuitive menus. A rearview camera is standard, and there’s a USB port for charging.
The Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 4Motion isn’t the first car that pops into your mind when you think of crossovers. It’s probably not the second car either, but it deserves your notice. Particularly in the R-Line trim we tested, the Tiguan offers a complete package.
It provides the utility and flexibility of a small crossover along with the performance drive experience similar to hot hatchbacks. It does this at a price just over $30,000, making it a serious competitor in the crossover market.
2016 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 4Motion
Base price: $30,675
Destination charge: $865
Price as tested: $31,540
- Competitive pricing
- Comfortable interior
- Steering wheel audio controls
- Wind and road noise