First Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

As The Exterior Goes, So Goes The Interior
The cabin of the previous Tiguan had a roomy, well-arranged cabin, so the interior is largely carried over for 2012. However, some of the materials that were previously used- especially on areas frequently touched by passengers - left a little to be desired, so the application of soft-touch materials has been increased, particularly on the upper door panels and dash trim.

Because the Tiguan's 102.5-inch wheelbase and 174.3-inch overall length are slightly smaller than most of its competition, it's not surprising that its interior dimensions are also eclipsed by other compact SUVs. Both front and rear head and legroom figures are roughly an inch shy of competitors such as the Chevrolet Equinox, the Honda CR-V, and the Ford Escape. With the rear seats up, the Tiguan's cargo volume (23.8 cubic feet) trails the segment, but with seats down, the space grows to 56.1 cubic feet.

As was previously the case, cloth seating is standard on entry-level S models, while the SE steps up to leatherette and the SEL to real leather. SEL models also receive a push-button keyless ignition, plus aluminum-look trim on the door panels. Tiguans sold in Europe offer a striking two-tone cabin scheme that merges black trim with rich chocolate-hued leather. For now it's not available in North America, but it will be on the option books for the 2013 model year.

Plenty of Gadgets, But Few For the U.S.
Tiguans sold within the European Economic Community will likely have a number of goodies not available in North America. The mid-cycle update introduces a number of new features (including adaptive ride control, active park assist, lane detection assist, and a stop/start function) that aren't making the voyage across the Atlantic. Cost, we're told, is partly to blame, but VW says U.S. buyers in this segment simply aren't interested in ponying up for these rather advanced add-ons.

That said, U.S.-spec Tiguans aren't completely lacking premium content. Bluetooth hands-free phone pairing, for instance, is now standard across the board, even on the base-level S trim. A new S+ model also tosses in a panoramic sunroof, which was previously available only on SE+ and SEL trims. SE and SEL models receive USB audio inputs and multifunction steering wheels, while navigation is added to the SE+, SEL, and SEL+ trims.

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