Volkswagen Tiguan
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Overall

Volkswagen’s underrated, but all-road-/all-weather-competent small tall wagon adds a new top-level R-Line content package for 2014.

Drivetrain

A 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with your choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions; still no turbo-diesel option, but VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive is offered on all but the base model.

It’s impossible not to like the Tiguan, but with competitors offering similar style and comfort for the same or less money, this VW plays to a tough audience. Physically, the Tiguan (the splicing of the words tiger and iguana) competes in the same class as the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape and Kia Sportage, to name just a few. Equally sharp looking is the interior that carries with the high-end-style dash, cleanly tailored seats and premium carpeting. Rear passengers will appreciate the six inches of fore/aft travel as well as the reclining 60/40 split seat back. For more cargo space, the rear seat back, as well as the front passenger bucket, can fold flat. The space is made even more generous due to the extra-low load floor. Tiguan is powered by a 200-horse 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder connected to a six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic. Tiguan runs the spectrum with four trim levels and plenty of base equipment of the air/cruise/power variety as well as an electronic parking brake — no more reefing on an old-fashioned hand lever — and hill hold control for manual-transmission Tiguans that keeps you from rolling backward as you transition from the brake to the gas pedal. Along with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive (which is only available with the automatic transmission), the options list includes rear-seat side-impact airbags, a 300-watt premium audio package, touch-screen navigation system, rear-view park assist, bigger wheels and an oversized moonroof. The new-for-2014 R-Line sits atop the Tiguan pecking order and includes unique 19-inch wheels, sport suspension, power front seats with lumbar support, rain-sensing wipers and other fancy stuff.

Base price (incl. destination): $23,900
Type: Four-door tall wagon
Engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (200)
Layout: Front engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 19/26 (MT)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; rear side-impact airbags (opt.); anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,430