2009 VW Tiguan: Daddy Driven

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Here’s a recent test car that I know a lot of dads out there might be interested in. And if the dad in the family isn’t, the mom probably is. VW’s first compact SUV — which is grossly late to the party — is definitely a winner in the driving department, but parents beware, while there’s plenty of space in the backseat, the cargo area is a narrow affair.

OK first the good stuff. The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder is one of my favorite engines on the market and is used in a lot of VW and Audi models. If you don’t mind driving a manual transmission, I would say that dads who are into "driving" will want to go that route as the turbo is much more responsive. I tested the automatic a while back and was much less impressed.


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The back seat is also nicely done because it is pretty tall back there. You won’t bump any heads getting in and out of the car seats and the seats themselves won’t intrude on the front passenger area like in most small sedans and wagons I’ve tested like the Audi A4 or the VW Jetta. It’s really that backseat room that sold me on the Tiguan for dads. 

But beware, the cargo area is narrow. Our umbrella stroller fit fine back there but if you’re packing a full-size stroller it won’t be pretty. However, because the back seats are so tall, you could probably stack it back there with a good tie-down pretty easily, although I did not try that out. If you want to see me comically try and fill the Tiguan with a bunch of stuff from Costco check out this video.

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The other bad news is that the Tiguan is about $1,500 more than the equivalent Honda CR-V or Ford Escape. So, if you love VW design and sweet German turbo engines, you’re going to pay for it. My front-wheel drive tester had basically no extras, cloth seats, manual trans and was still over $24,000. Ouch. Still, a new Audi Q5 starts at $37,500.