Last post on Dec 01, 2011 at 3:11 PM
You are in the Volkswagen Tiguan
What is this discussion about?
Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Car Comparisons, SUV
#106 of 115 Test Drives: Tiguan / Forester / CRV
Jun 05, 2011 (5:17 am)
I have an old Forester and have test driven the 2011. I test drove the CRV overnight. And I finally got around to test driving the Tiguan (altho the mileage isn't really good enough, it suited me in other respects).
I test drove the Forester and Tiguan on the "road from hell" that I live near. One of the worst, bumpy roads you can imagine. I'm familiar with it, and drive down it a lot, so I know very well how a Forester handles it. The Forester handles it pretty well. It's bumpy, but doesn't knock the breath out of you or knock you around the car. Not so with the Tiguan. The salesman was with me, and despite my efforts at going down the road gently, the salesman had trouble talking because the breath was getting knocked out of him. Very rough ride, to say the least. Unacceptably so.
I didn't go down the road from hell in the CRV, but on other roads, it was a pretty choppy ride. But it was acceptable. The CRV still has a van-like feel to it (I drove it years ago, and thought it was more like a van than a car then). It feels much roomier than it actually is (that Honda designing...no one does that better). The CRV interior was the nicest. Good quality cloth upholstery, good inside door handles, good stereo.
Despite reviews that the Tiguan interior is upscale, I thought it looked cheap. That's okay for a budget car, but the Tiguan, as I recall, cost a bit much for its size. (I don't buy leather seats, so I'm talking about cloth upholstery.)
The new Forester upholstery was likewise cheap looking. The upholstery I have in my old Forester isn't what you'd call pretty, but it looks almost the same as it did when I bought it, and what's more, it looks like good quality and at least has a funkiness to it. The 2011 Forester upholstery looked lower quality, bland, and cheap. Reviewers have mentioned the cheap looking plastic, but I thought the plastic looked fine in the Forester (all the cars have a plastic dash, whether it's soft or hard). I don't care if the dash is "soft," something that reviewers rave over. You don't even know that unless you touch it. My old Forester has hard, grained plastics that look as upscale as plastic is ever gonna look. I think it looks better than the non-grained soft touch dashes that are so common these days. The 2011 Forester drove like a dream. Handled bumps. Reasonably quiet. Good acceleration. Good view out of the rear windows (something that the bubble-shaped SUVs lack). I loved it. But I just couldn't go for that cheap upholstery, the 4-gear AT, and the mediocre stereo. That car costs too much to be that mediocre in those areas. It's clear they put the efforts into the ride, engine, and noise factor. But how much would it cost to have a more decent stereo system?
Seems to me that the Forester is made to drive. It rides well, handles bumps about as well as a small Suv/wagon is going to, is reasonably quiet. That's what the Forester is for. It's not a luxury experience, to be sure. The stereo has only 4 speakers; my biggest complaint in my old Forester is that the stereo is merely adequate and nothing more. The reliability record of Subaru is second only to Honda, so if you keep your car a long time, this would be important. My old '98 Forester doesn't have any rattles, loose seats, or odd sounds. Solid little car.
There was nothing compelling about the Tiguan that would make me want to buy it. In fact, as soon as I felt the harsh ride, I couldn't wait to get out of it. Coupled with the cheap looking upholstery, there's just no way I would buy that car unless they were having a fire sale and practically giving it away. (This was not my experience test driving the Jetta Sportwagen TDI and the gas Golf, though; those were the BEST riding cars of all my test drives, to my surprise! They took that "road to hell" and left it in the dust!)
The CRV is a nicer environment to ride in. The headrests are awful, though. Something about the seat backs and shape and size of the headrests all come together to make them unacceptable to me. But even if that had been okay with me, the ride was generally a bit van-like for me. Sitting a tad too high, too bubbly a look and feel, a tad rough and choppy like a van. Noisy cabin. Still, most SUVs ride that way, so it's not that the CRV is a lot worse than the others. Honda has a great reliability record, and the car was comfortable. The stereo sounded great! Very nice vehicle that I would've considered buying, if not for the headrests. I probably would've gotten used to the van-like feel of it.
#107 of 115 Re: Test Drives: Tiguan / Forester / CRV [bpollen]
Aug 19, 2011 (9:13 am)
Great post! It addresses a lot of the questions I had about each of these vehicles. The other thing I'm considering is the cost to maintain these. I tend to keep the car as long as it's in good running condition, so I still need to research maintenance costs as the car ages. I'm currently driving a 94 Celica, but want to "upgrade" to a crossover and was considering these 3, leaning towards the Subaru.
#108 of 115 Re: Test Drives: Tiguan / Forester / CRV [bpollen]
Sep 10, 2011 (8:06 pm)
Interesting perspective; it's a bit of apples and oranges comparison, though, as the Tiguan is more a crossover. I went through a similar comparison but when I got to the twisty roads, the Tiguan's abilities became apparent by providing a good balance of engine and suspension and yielding a significant grin factor. It's certainly no GTI, but in my instance the six speed manual tranny, the turbo's ability to compensate for altitude, and its ability to handle a dirt road and twisty paved mountain roads, provided an optimal solution. I had a normally aspirated Sube, but there is just no way it would be able to "hang" with the Tiguan on a twisty road nor maintain comparable stability at highway speeds. I believe the buyer really needs to decide on the application as there is considerable design difference between a more tautly sprung crossover and an suv, such as the Sube, designed for considerably slower, and more harsh surface conditions.
#109 of 115 Re: Test Drives: Tiguan / Forester
Sep 18, 2011 (5:31 am)
I drove a 2009 Tiguan Sport and hated it. The interior colours and seat looked depressing and dull. The ride was also very choppy.
I recently went to see the new 2012 Tiguan SE and loved it. I only got to drive a 2011 TDI DSG as the 2012 was a manual. I loved the DSG, a great smooth shifting ride. It has a lot of the equipment I want but no rearview camera as they have supply problems. I'm not sure why but the 2012 looked so much better inside. The new cloth seats were comfortable and looked so much smarter than the 2009. As I will be driving long distances on roads regrettably I chose the Tiguan over the Forester. Subaru only offer a 6 speed manual diesel.
I also drove the Evoque Prestige diesel 6 speed auto and hated it. The ride was just too hard and shook me to bits over poor B roads in the UK. Not sure if the magneride would be better? The auto was also not as smooth as the VW and the cargo space was about the same size as the VW Golf. The Evoque also had some major blind spots.
I still love the Forester but for me the transmission was a deal breaker.
Anyway there is up to a 22 week wait the the Tiguan TDI DSG. It will make my 700 mile commute easier in the winter months.
#110 of 115 Re: Test Drives: Tiguan / Forester [unitedflyier]
Sep 18, 2011 (8:29 pm)
We just did the CRV / Forester / Tiguan hunt as well. I ended up picking the 2012 Tiguan. The deciding factors for me were:
- Exterior asthetics - the Forester already looks beyond dated imho, but the XT adds a bit of aggressive flair. In the end, though, the VW and the midnight blue was just stunning.
- Interior color combos - the one thing I despise about Subaru was that you can't pick your interior/exterior color combos. I got exactly what I wanted with the VW - I wanted a white forester XT with black leather interior, but it wasn't available. The suck thing is that if I'm paying 30k for a car, I want what I want!
- Interior quality - the Tiguan destroys the Subaru Forester interior. We looked at several used Foresters - for the sake of investigating how well the interior held up after use, and I didn't like what I was seeing in most of the used Foresters from 09 and 10 that I looked at. While I take very good care of my vehicles, it gives you a good indication of the quality by doing this. The interior also seemed bland and dull to me - nothing really stood out. Again, if I'm spending 30k, I want something that's going to be good quality and reliable INSIDE the car. I *know* Subaru's are solid mechanically elsewhere, but I live inside the car and want something that's not going to look beatup after a year.
- Transmission - prefer the 6SP transmission of the VW to the 4 of the Subaru.
- Warranty/Maintenance - Like the fact that the VW had the 3 years maintenance thrown in.
#111 of 115 Re: Test Drives: Tiguan / Forester [shemazar]
Sep 26, 2011 (4:36 pm)
Yes the Forester really needs a new transmission. Years behind.
Do you know anything about the XDS electronic diff lock option on the Tiguan? All I see on the site is it is meant to help with cornering?
Also the rearview camera is no longer an option because of the supply problems in Japan. If I get the RNS 510 or cheaper RNS315 nav option can I get a camera after market?
#112 of 115 Re: Tiguan's Reliability [vbbuilt]
Nov 05, 2011 (3:32 pm)
Strange that my comment disappeared. Balance due put down as downpayment but not deducted from agreed upon price. Numerous problems and the car is not even 2yrs old. Charged for oil and filter. Said belly pan is wear and tear and not covered by the warranty or the covered warranty. So much for buying the extended warranty which doesn't cover problems. This is the second VW I have had problems with.
Nov 05, 2011 (3:37 pm)
I disagree. Problems with two VW dealers. The vehicle would be good if it didn't have problems and had a competent honest service department.
#114 of 115 Re: Tiguan's Reliability [bridgettemarie]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Nov 05, 2011 (4:17 pm)
You may have hit the Preview button instead of the "post" one.
#115 of 115 Re: Test Drives: Tiguan / Forester [unitedflyier]
Dec 01, 2011 (3:11 pm)
When I started my crossover hunt, the first dealership I visited was Subaru/VW. I was interested in the Forester because it offered AWD, a manual and decent trim under $25K. Every other manufacturer seems to think that Americans who drive sticks only do so because we are too poor/cheap to spring for the AT. Thus, they only offer the MT in the barebones trim.
Anyway, the VW salesman tried to sell me on the base '11 Tiguan, the only one that offers a manual. But it's FWD and only has 6.8" of clearance (compared to 8.9" on the Forester). No thanks. What's the point of buying a small SUV that isn't a snow beast?
Also, I had my previous car ('99 Integra) for 12 years, and at least 10 of those were problem-free. I wanted the same out of my next car. Yes, VW interiors are sharper but but I've heard too many VW service/reliability/cost horror stories.
I ended up buying the only 2012 manual premium Forester in all of metro DC and I haven't regretted it one bit. It handles beautifully and the visibility is impressive. I'm even falling in love with the Boxer's growl.
Yeah, the stereo is lackluster but I primarily listen to my iPhone and it sounds better than the radio itself. The dash is laid out logically, the seats are comfy, are power-adjustable (at least on the driver's side and I drive alone most of the time) and heated. The sunroof is bigger than a freaking gunner's turret (plus, it doesn't go up and over the roof, which will come in handy should I ever put crossbars up there).
Bottom line: I would have had to pay at least $3K more for a comparable Tiguan S 4Motion (with less room) and I would have been forced to get a *shudder* slushbox and pay for premium gas. (I'd be willing to pay extra for diesel -- bring the 6spd diesel Forester here already, Subaru! -- but not 89 or 91.) And I'm willing to trade the Tiguan's extra 30 horses for the stick.
P.S. Even if I could afford an Evoque and it turned out to be more reliable than the average LR, I just can't drive a car designed by Victoria Beckham. (And I'm a girl.)