Volkswagen has always been really good about making interesting little cars, so the fact that they make cars to compete with SUVs at all deserves more than a passing glance. The Tiguan, specifically, is designed as a direct competitor of the kicky Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, and VW says it combines the best of an on-road sports car with more off-road ability than its competitors offer.
With an MSRP that ranges from $23,200 - $33,500 depending on the trim level - S, SE, or SEL - the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan does have a price point than similar vehicles from other cars, but then, that's typical of VW, and the Passat and Jetta follow a similar trend. As other reviewers have pointed out, some of the cushier options available on the Tiguan (heated leather seats, a nifty navigation system, and dual-zone climate control) allow this machine to edge toward the luxury end of the SUV market and give Land Rover's LR2 and Acura's RDX a run for their money.
From the front, the exterior of the Tiguan gives every appearance of being a scaled-down version of its stablemate, the Touareg 2, but from the back it blends into something similar to the Golf hatchback. This isn't a heavy vehicle, either - it's built on a car chassis, and its heft is appropriate for that. The rear spoiler is a standard feature, as are the chrome exhaust tip and grille, wheel locks and sixteen-inch wheels.
Inside the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan there's an updated instrument cluster, and a touch-screen radio is available as an option. Other options include a touch-screen navigation system (see, I told you it was nifty) that comes with 30GB of storage space for music, a rear-view camera, and a panoramic moon-roof, while the 60/40 split back seat is standard, as are the backrests with tilt adjustments in the front and rear seats.
The Tiguan is powered by a 200-hp, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine used in many other Volkswagen and Audi cars, and comes with a choice of transmissions (6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic) and the option for front- or 4Motion all-wheel drive. It's also got a full complement of safety features, including the standard six-airbag package, all-disc antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system. Side-impact rear-seat airbags are available as an optional upgrade.
The 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan has good fuel economy, getting 18-19 mpg in the city, and 24-26 mpg on the highway, but the car prefers premium gasoline, so what you save in mpg, you'll spend in fancy fuel.