Compact SUV; Built in Germany
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,200 – $29,100*

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Front

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Rear

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Interior

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Front-2

  • Cargo room
  • Carlike handling
  • Instruments/controls
  • Front/rear seat comfort
  • Occasional low-speed turbo lag
  • Road noise
  • Wind noise

Volkswagen’s Tiguan is assembled in Germany, and the strength of the euro versus the US dollar may be its biggest hurdle in the American market. Tiguan’s new-car prices have been higher than most compact sport-utility competitors, but resale values have come closer to average. Sporty-for-the-class road manners and a comfortable interior help earn Tiguan a Best Buy label. Don’t overlook the basic front-drive S model, which has the fewest frills but the lowest price-new or used.


Introduced for 2009, the new Volkswagen Tiguan was this German automaker’s first compact sport-utility vehicle, joining the larger Touareg. “Tiguan,” according to Volkswagen, signified tiger plus iguana. Seating five, this four-door wagon was powered by a turbocharged 200-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Built on a combination of Golf/Jetta and Passat platforms, Volkswagen’s Tiguan was available in S, SE, and SEL trim levels. All models were offered with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive was available only on the SE and SEL editions. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard on all but the S, where it was an option to that model’s standard six-speed manual gearbox. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags. Rear side airbags were optional. A fold-flat front passenger seat was standard, and reclining second-row seats slid fore and aft. Available features included a navigation system with a rearview camera, a sunroof, and a 30-gigabyte hard drive to store data and digital audio files. Rivals included the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, and Saturn Vue. Marketers even considered the more costly Acura RDX, Land Rover LR2, and BMW X3 as potential competitors.

Yearly Updates

2010 Tiguan
During the 2010 model year, the Tiguan lineup added a new Wolfsburg model to replace the mid-level SE.
2011 Tiguan
The 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan lineup revived the SE model to replace the Wolfsburg.
2012 Tiguan
The 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan got freshened styling and some added standard features.
2013 Tiguan
All 2013 Volkswagen Tiguans gained an electronic parking brake, leather shift knob, and a leather-rim multifunction steering wheel. The mid-level SE trim also added a partial power passenger seat (electric backrest adjustment), while the top-range SEL now included a full-power passenger seat with position memory, plus a rearview camera.
2014 Tiguan
The 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan added a new R-Line model with sport suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, and specific interior and exterior trim. SE models were now available with VW’s Car-Net communication system/smartphone app.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

All Tiguans use a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 200 horsepower, mated with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual



Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Road Test

Acceleration is a bit above average. In most situations, Tiguan has ample power, but some turbo lag is noticeable-particularly when exiting a slow corner. The manual transmission has smooth shift and clutch action. The automatic shifts smoothly, whether in automatic or manual mode.

Fuel economy scores best with manual shift. A manual-transmission S model averaged 24.5 mpg with slightly more highway driving than city use. AWD Tiguans have averaged 18.1 to 18.8 mpg in city/highway driving and 24.6 mpg with mostly highway use. Volkswagen recommends premium-grade gasoline.

Tiguan has a firm, stable ride that is well composed and quite comfortable, with good bump absorption. There’s little difference among trim levels and tire sizes, though some testers have said the SE doesn’t absorb bumps as well as the S model.

To its credit, Tiguan’s road manners are more like a car than a trucky SUV. Steering feels a bit light at low speeds, but it’s accurate on the road with little need for correction. Corners are handled with modest lean. Brakes offer strong stopping power and good pedal feel.

Tiguan is fairly quiet, but wind rush is evident at highway speeds, and road noise becomes more noticeable on coarse surfaces. Volkswagen’s refined, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is nearly silent while cruising and is never intrusive, even during rapid acceleration.

Gauges are clear and well-marked. Controls are easy to reach and use. The standard climate-control system is refreshingly simple, with only three knobs and two buttons. SEL models have automatic dual-zone climate control that’s also easy to operate. The optional navigation system has fewer buttons and is easier to learn than the system found in some other VW models. Tiguan’s well-assembled cabin is a handsome combination of soft-touch and textured hard plastics. The SE model’s cloth interior rivals that of class leaders such as the Saturn Vue for appearance. SEL’s standard leather upholstery adds to the ambiance.

Front seats are very comfortable, even for larger adults. Headroom is generous, even under the available panoramic sunroof. Note that some testers have found the mesh sunroof shade inadequate in blocking the sun on clear days. The standard tilt/telescopic steering wheel helps fine-tune a comfortable driving position, as does the multi-adjustable driver (and passenger) seats. Entry and exit are easy, too.

Rear-seat space/comfort is outstanding for the class-deceptively spacious for two adults. Tall riders will find ample headroom, even beneath the sunroof housing. Under-seat foot space also is quite good. The rear seat slides fore and aft 6 inches, to favor either passenger or cargo room.

Cargo space is a bonus. Tiguan is one of the smaller compact SUVs, yet provides good room behind the second row. The split rear seat folds nearly flat to increase cargo room. In-cabin storage is good, with numerous cubbies and bins, but most are uncovered. Additional covered storage is found under the center armrest, but that area is largely occupied by the CD changer on navigation-equipped Tiguans.


Model Tested: 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan SE w/AWD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 8
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 9

Total: 69


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.5 174.3 71.2 66.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
56.1 16.8 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 39.0 40.1 35.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Tiguan 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Keyless entry
Description: The remote keyless entry transmitter may work intermittently or quit working due to loss of synchronization with the vehicle. (2008-09)
Audio system
Description: If a Bluetooth device requires repeated pairing, audio streaming fails, or similar anomalies occur, the UHV-Low module in the vehicle may have to be replaced. (2009-10)
Vehicle noise
Description: Knocking under the hood when accelerating could be due to the high pressure A/C line contacting the inner fender, requiring a cushion on the pipe. (2009)
Description: Washer fluid may leak from the rear nozzle, requiring a check valve in the hose. (2009)
Electrical problem
Description: If the door ajar, trunk ajar, the electric warning lights come on (although everything is closed), or the parking brake fails to release after the hazard flashers have been used for awhile, the vehicle’s gateway control module must be reprogrammed. (2009)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on indicating a problem with the throttle valve, but it is actually due to a wiring harness that is too short and must be lengthened. (2008-09)

Recall History

2009 w/2.0T FSI ULEV II engine
Description: Engine control module could contain software that may not properly control engine idle with air conditioning turned on; in rare cases, this could unexpectedly increase engine rpm.
2009-14 Tiguan
Description: Under certain conditions, and when using winterized fuel, bubbles may form in the fuel system resulting in the vehicle stalling.
2011-14 Tiguan
Description: Debris may contaminate the air bag’s clock spring, a flat cable that maintains power to the air bag when the steering wheel is being turned. The contamination may cause the cable to tear, which prevents the air bag from deploying in a crash.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.