Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line — Exterior, interior enhancements

By David Finkelstein

Since Volkswagen first introduced the compact Tiguan SUV in 2009 it has gained traction with consumers seeking a reliable vehicle that competes with the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Chevy Equinox, Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Rogue, among others in this popular cross-shopped segment.

Tiguan's already impressive list of standard equipment is enhanced by the premium R-Line top of the line model. The R-Line adds an all around sporty flair to the vehicle's inspiring exterior as well as enhancements including premium interior treatments throughout the cabin.

And by the way, VW also makes available its CC Sports Coupe, Beetle and Beetle Convertible and the larger Touareg SUV with the R-Line badging.

The R-Line Tiguan is available in front-wheel-drive (as standard) or with a durable and sophisticated 4Motion all-wheel-drive configuration as an option. While operating the Tiguan in 4WD, under most driving conditions, 90 percent of the driving force goes to the front wheels. This helps save fuel. But when accelerating from a stand still, for example, front-wheel slip is controlled by the coupling system with the ability to progressively direct nearly 100 percent of the drive torque to the rear wheels.

The seamless 4Motion system also aids helps provide sure-footed traction over virtually all surfaces. This product is featured with an award winning 2.0-liter TSI turbo charged four-cylinder engine. This technically sophisticated powerplant features double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, direct fuel injection and variable intake timing. The turbo charged intercooled setup in this compact four-cylinder engine produces an impressive 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque.

On all versions of the 2015 Tiguan, the engine is matched with a six speed automatic transmission. This 2.0-liter is recommended from the factory to operate on premium grade "high octane" fuel and it gets 21 mpg with city driving and 26-mpg on the highway.

Regarding the exterior, the R-Line for instance features unique eye pleasing 19-inch aluminum alloy type wheels which are mounted with low profile all-season type tires. When paired with a sport-tuned steering and suspension system, this combination allows for more dynamic driving characteristics than compared to the standard version of Tiguan.

Additional enhancements include body colored side-skirts featuring chrome trim, wheel arch extensions, R-Line rear roof mounted wind spoiler, LED license plate illumination and a front grille mounted R-Line badge. Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights are also standard on this model.

Once inside the passenger compartment, the Tiguan R-Line features an attractive metallic finish dash assembly and premium door trim panels as well as keyless entry/access and keyless push button start system and R-Line entry door sill kick plates. Also standard is their Climatronic automatic heating and air conditioning system, an iPod connect cable and rearview camera.

There are spacious leather seating surfaces for five adults and generous leg room and head room with easy step-in through the wide opening doors. The rear seat has a 40/20/40 split design. When the center section is folded down, it can accommodate skis, fishing gear or even long handle garden tools.

With the rear seats in place, there is still an impressive 23.8 cubic feet of space in the load area. Fold the second row seats forward and it increases to 56.1 cubic feet. And for the ultimate in load carrying, the available front passenger seat back also folds "forward and flat" to accommodate loads up to 98 inches long.

The sporty flat bottom R-Line multi-function steering wheel (with transmission paddle shifters) further sets this model apart from the base version of Tiguan. This flat bottom steering wheel design is very unique in the auto industry. One of its dividends is that it assists when four wheeling, allowing the driver to know the precise position of the vehicles front wheels, telegraphing if they are on center or not, without having to take your eyes off the path you're negotiating.

On the vehicle's underside, VW includes the durable stainless steel R-Line protective scuff plates. They are engineered to protect steering and related components. This trim level includes aluminum designed sport pedals and a black overhead interior headliner.

Volkswagen also makes available its globally recognized Fender Premium Audio System. The system features a 10-channel, 400 watt audio amplifier with eight speciality engineered speakers and a rear subwoofer for concert-like sound reproduction. This is the fourth Volkswagen model to be sold with the Fender Audio upgrade feature.

VW also offers the VW Car-Net connectivity option across all trim lines. This telematics feature is a “must have” for the tech savvy motorist, in order to make the daily commute that much more pleasurable. Also suggested is the huge optional panoramic overhead glass tilt/slide sunroof.

The V W Tiguan SUV is sold in five trim levels: S, SE, SE with Appearance, SEL and the R-Line. The S model has a MSRP of $26,255 while their R-Line has a sticker price of $37,650 not including the $865 shipping and handling charges.