To be honest I didn’t have high expectations for the new 2016 VW Tiguan R-Line, knowing that typically a small SUV does not go hand in hand with sportiness and also that the Tiguan is due for a major refresh, one that is already available in Europe and should hit our shores as a 2017 model. That said VW has cleverly reduced pricing by nearly $1,400 making our out the door R-Line a bargain. A couple of folks in the office guessed the sticker to be in the high $30k’s,……way off… our loaded tester came in at $29,565. New standard features include V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, heated seats and Keyless access with push-button start.

VW seems to be moving more Tiguans so far in 2016 than last year so things are looking good for the rest of the 1st Gen’s life.

Volkswagen Tiguan U.S. Sales 2016 2528 through April Volkswagen Tiguan U.S. Sales 2015 35843


The 2016 VW Tiguan comes with Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter TSI® turbocharged four-cylinder engine, one that is common to a number different models and brands. The turbo 4 produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque from just 1700 rpm. Standard is a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting, Sport mode, and Dynamic Shift Program . The R-Line includes steering wheel mounted-paddle shifters, which we didn’t use as Sport Mode handles it all just fine. Our tester was a front driver, which made it a tad lighter than the all wheel drive model. For all 2016 Tiguan models, the Volkswagen 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is offered on all trims. The system helps deliver drive to all four wheels without any buttons to press or levers to pull. A Haldex® center differential can continuously vary the drive between the front and rear axles, depending on the traction available.

We were just fine with front wheel drive seeing as the 19″ Mallory alloy wheels were shod with 255/40 tires. During performance testing with the traction control off there was some spin but easing off a little then stomping on the go pedal gave us a 0-60 time of 7.59 secs. I doubt many owners will try this but we did it anyway.


The Tiguan has strut-type front suspension with lower control arms and long-travel coil springs. At the rear, a four-link system was designed for off-roading, something most won’t do but we did. Our tester spec is aimed squarely at the driver looking for even sportier handling, so it has a sport-tuned suspension with much firmer settings. It certainly was noticeably firm and a bit crashy on poor quality pavement, but this is offset by pretty flat cornering. The front scrabbles a bit and some under-steer is present in tight turns but it all remains very controllable, unlike the Ford Escape we drove recently which pitched around like a dingy in rough water.

The electro-mechanical power steering comes with variable assistance and is precise and has moderate steering feel. At highway speeds, the steering becomes firm and direct, increasing its assistance at parking speeds.

To match the Tiguan’s sporty performance is a pretty good 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 drying feature to help remove water from the rotors to optimize wet-weather braking, something we wouldn’t be using here in Southern California, where water is as rare as a “good hair day” for Donald Trump.


As in the 2016 VW Passat the addition of a new infotainment system for 2016 provides a comprehensive suite of connectivity features. Both Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are now standard and the new MIB II system offers USB and VW-Car Net® App-Connect, allowing owners with these systems to access select apps from their smartphones directly through the vehicle’s head unit.

The V-Tex works on a car of this type, no need to worry about feeding the hide, it wipes clean easily and it probably has a half life of 50 years. Seats are comfortable but firm and there is enough side bolstering to keep you in place should you get a little crazy. The rear seat has a 40/20/40 split and has more room than it’s Audi Q3 brother….significantly as it happens….the Audi has 16.71 cu ft and 48.2 cu ft with the seats folded wheareas VW offers 23.8 cu ft and 56.1 respectively.

Most of the interior features rich, soft-touch plastics on the fascia, and a brushed-metal-style trim surrounding the eight dash-mounted air vents and shift lever. It could use more of this as the interior is very dark.


Until the new model arrives this is a great pick, now VW has lowered prices. It’s a tough segment with Ford, Mazda, Honda etc competing but if you want to put a little sport in your SUV, then this works.

2016 VW Tiguan R-Line Numbers

BASE PRICE $28,700
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, Front wheel-drive, 5 seater SUV
ENGINE 2.0L TSI DOHC 16V Turbo 4, direct injection
POWER 200 hp @ 5,100 rpm
TORQUE 207 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
CURB WEIGHT 3,404 lb
0-60 MPH 7.59 secs

Read more: Behind the Wheel of a Volkswagen Tiguan