VW still insists on building the Tiguan as an off-road-capable vehicle. The Track and Sport model, as it's know in Europe, or the Only One We Get, as it will be known in the States, offers higher cut bumpers allowing greater approach angles and skid-plates under the drive train for protection. In the States, we will continue to get the 200-horspower 2.0-liter turbo. The low-end torque and smooth delivery make it a good choice for the smaller SUV. Our tester rolls itself along with a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-diesel, which won't be seen in our dealerships for another year or two. Our Tiguan was also fitted with a DSG and 4-motion all wheel drive. We get the 4-motion as an option, but likely won't see the DSG until it comes mated to the TDI. The DSG in the Tiguan fires off shifts and holds gears for descents, but because it doesn't "feel" like a traditional automatic, U.S. consumers aren't ready for it to replace the standard automatic.
VW has gone to great effort to improve the current six-speed torque convertor transmission for the U.S. market. With the use of taller gearing, a torque convertor that decouples during coasting, and a few other tweaks, the 2012 Tiguan now gets 15-percent better fuel mileage than the previous model. Sadly, none of the cars available was equipped with the reworked transmission, so it is difficult to comment on how well it works. We can say the Tiguan's interior is even quieter and more comfortable than the last version. It will take a trained eye to spot the differences, but the big standouts are a new steering wheel and a dark rhodium finish for the dash surrounds.
The seats are comfortable and supportive for a full day's drive. On some of the twistier mountain stretches between Munich and Kitzbuhel the seats provided lateral support completely unexpected in an SUV. The dash and door panel materials are traditional VW and definite cut above any of the competition in this price range.
VW really optimized the space inside the vehicle when it was first designed, and luckily that hasn't changed. While the footprint of the Tiguan doesn't seem much larger than a midsize sedan, the interior volume does, partly because the rear seats are slightly raised, allowing for more legroom. Those rear seats also adjust forward and backward, and recline. The rear bench is split 60/40 so it is possible to still carry a passenger or maybe even two with room for larger cargo. The front passenger seat also folds flat for even longer cargo. When the Tiguan was first designed, one of the criteria was to be able to fit the longest box from IKEA inside the vehicle. With the right side rear seat plus the front passenger seat folded, it is possible to get your Swedish Flat-Pack home and still have room for several cases of cinnamon rolls and lingonberry jam. For those less decoratively inclined, the long load area allows for things like surfboards or even ladders.