2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site

Volkswagen Canada

Review and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery:
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan

I could’ve sworn that a Tiguan was the slang name for the inquisitive lizard that crawled up my leg in Ixtapa. Turns out its just another clever VW naming ploy, bent on causing brain cramps amongst those folks still undergoing speech therapy for trying to pronounce ‘Touareg’. Apparently, the Tiguan name is the combo of tiger and iguana, which according to Napoleon Dynamite, would be bred for its powers of magic. That’s not too far off of a description for this week’s tester, a Comfortline 4MOTION Tiggy, which weighs in at an MSRP of $33,975. (Prices do not reflect freight or regional incentives.)

The cockpit

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline. Click image to enlarge

The Tiguan’s three-spoke steering wheel achieves good positioning, via a manual tilt/telescope lever. Audio control and driver information readings are easily accessed by the spoke-mounted tabs. There is also a provision for a handshake with your wireless phone, which appears to require the installation of a dealer-supplied control module. Cruise control is mounted on the turn signal stalk, with delay wiper control for front and rear windscreens found on the right-hand of the column. Power windows are full-auto for descent/ascent, while power-heated exterior mirrors boast breakaway protection, as well as external turn signal lamps.

The six-speed Tiptronic automatic has a sporting nature, with a floor-mount manu-gate. Shift action and gear transition times yielded no complaints, other than my secret wish for steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. The parking brake is an electrical lock, found to the left of the shifter. It works exceptionally well, as proven by a day of absent-minded blunders.

The centre stack

Audio controls are easy to understand and manipulate, as well as the HVAC dials. The traction control cancel switch is found in front of the shifter, along with the rear hatch release switch, and the set key for the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). There are four unique card holder slots; two up top, and two found below the traction/hatch/TPMS switchery.

Cubbies!

There’s a slot that’s not, as in seen by prying eyes, below the HVAC controls. One would be hard pressed to notice a cell phone or iPod within this open stealth box. Further down, a flip-up door reveals the first 12-volt DC powerpoint. The forward cupholder has a two-step height, with four ultra-sprung grip cinchers per cavity, and a removable rubber bed that reveals… holes? One would hope that the rubber pad would provide adequate sealing, unless you truly want your vehicle to be saturated in Venti non-fat, light foam, caramel-scented goodness.

To the left of the driver is a Rabbit-inspired drop-down tray, for coins and other diminutive items. Flip the lid of the centre console, to reveal a 12-volt powerpoint, and the auxiliary audio input jack. The console lid can also ratchet into the perfect position for weary inboard elbows. The locking glovebox gets ample depth, and HVAC-fed climate control. The rear cupholder array in the centre armrest has minimal depth, and no cinchers. There is a rear seat floor-mount dual cupholder, with C-clamp tension, and another 12-volt powerpoint above. Both of the front seatbacks receive handy storage pockets. While the front doors incorporate an impressive bottle holder cubby, the rear door real estate has no such luck.

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline. Click image to enlarge
The overhead

The Tiggy uses a dial control for sunroof void sizing, with a unique power mesh screen that can keep the creepy-crawlies out, while sunlight and fresh air get in. The mesh wind deflector is an entomologist’s dream, capturing all manner of slow-moving insects. The sunglasses holder is far too small for today’s big shade movement. Both visors can extend for sunblock, and incorporate dual backlit vanity mirrors.

Seats

There’s a wee bit of power on the driver’s side, for rear seatback positioning. The rest is manual, including lumbar support levers for driver and front passenger. Front seats include five-step dial-in heating.

Cargo

The flanks are deceiving for the Tiggy’s rear cavern. The seatbacks fold relatively flat, with flip-up panels designed to cover the gap that occurs on the cargo floor. Cargo cleats are built into the walls of the cargo area, near the fourth and final 12-volt powerpoint. The rear cargo area cover is of good construction, not afraid to be a foundation for bobble-headed dogs.

Spare care

The temporary-use rubber biscuit is held in place with a Styrofoam-ish biscuit. Primary tools are found in the side wall panels. Vee-Dub will change it for you, during the first four years of ownership, with no mileage restrictions.

The mill

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline. Click image to enlarge

I decided to make a few stops to visit some of my Volks-folks, the kind who fix the People’s Car for a living. The consensus was unanimous; the Tiguan’s 2.0 litre TSI mill should be a treat for future service items over the long ownership haul. Even headlamp bulbs are easily accessible. The only fill point issue was associated with the low neck of the master cylinder reservoir.

The verdict

The cute-ute segment continues to burn as hot as any 1960’s era seat belt buckle on your leg in mid-July. While some manufacturers have been tweaking their models with tenure, there are others who are right fresh, such as VW. The Tiguan is by far one of the most impressive newcomers to the compact SUV/crossover segment, with true ‘live-with’ features and functionality within. Five stars, with all the fixin’s.

Next week: 2009 Toyota Matrix

Connect with Autos.ca