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New R-Line for 2014 VW Tiguan

By Sue Mead, November 16th, 2013

Volkswagen's little SUV, Tiguan, is lightly refreshed for 2014 and has a new R-Line trim option, along with a few additions to the technology and optional feature lineup.

This affordable compact utility is somewhere between boxy and curvy, with a slightly protruding nose; a wide, horizontally-slatted grille; and piercing, upward-slanting headlamps. The side is marked by a rising waistline and low character lines across the bottom third of the doors, which are topped by large windows. The rear is dominated by a little bulb of a rear liftgate and integrated spoiler. Roof rails are standard, as are 16-inch alloy wheels (17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels are available on various trim lines).

The 2014 VW Tiguan starts at $22,995 and competes with turbocharged versions of the Kia Sportage and Mazda CX-7, as well as more upmarket offerings like the GMC Terrain and Acura RDX.

We drove the Tiguan R on a recent ride-and-drive in California. This small SUV is sporty in its other trims, but the "R" version punctuates its German engineering with more performance and more styling that make it hotted-up with side skirts, fender flares and a rear spoiler, as well as bigger wheels, low-profile tires, a lowered suspension and paddle shifters, plus other distinguishing interior trim features and Fender audio system. The R-Line sport trim version starts at $36,535.

The Tiguan is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (VW's signature GTI). The motor makes 200 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque and it's mounted to a six-speed manual transmission. Higher end models come with a six-speed Tiptronic automatic tranny. The 2014 Tiguan R-Line versions have steering wheel mounted shifter paddles. All Tiguans with automatic transmissions can be ordered with all-wheel drive.

Front strut and rear multi-link suspension with coil springs and anti-roll bars keep things tight on the road. All trims get vented front and solid rear discs with four-wheel ABS as standard, along with stability and traction control and six airbags.

Inside, the cabin has the looks of a scaled-down Touareg, the bigger sibling in the VW stable. The overall layout is as symmetrical and as inviting as the bigger sport-ute, though the fit-and-finish is less luxurious. Fabric seats are standard with faux leather available (and leather on the highest trim line), and there's brushed metal around the soft-touch plastic dash.

A big tach and speedometer gauges flank the vehicle information display for data on fuel consumption and other details; this display sits behind a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated controls. The stereo is an eight-speaker in-dash CD/AM/FM/audio aux-in MP3 system with Bluetooth; a 6-disc system with touchscreen is available on top-of-the-line Tiguans.

The five-passenger Tiguan has rear seats that fold 40/20/40, which can easily make room for skis and other long items thanks to a cargo area pass-through. The overall cargo space is 56.1 cubic feet (with rear seats folded); there's an optional flat-folding front passenger seat and the rear seat slides forward and back 6 inches.

All 2014 Tiguan models have available VW's Car-Net infotainment system that integrates entertainment, navigation and climate control systems and provides crash notification, roadside assistance and stolen vehicle loan assistance. Features also include remote vehicle access, speed and boundary alerts and an available vehicle health report, with most features accessed via remote smartphone.

Specifications

Base price $36,535 (as tested: $37,430)
Curb weight 3,404 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Epa mileage rating 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 16.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 200 at 5100 rpm
Motor type 16-valve turbo 4-cyl. TSI
Overall length 174.5 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 207 at 1700 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger compact FWD SUV
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