SUV Comparison – Volkswagen Tiguan 103 TDI vs. Subaru Forester X vs. Honda CR-V

Model tested: 2008 Volkswagen Tiguan 103TDI

Recommended Retail Price: $35,990.

Options fitted: Satellite navigation – RNS510 ($3490)


plus.jpg Looks; impressive fuel efficiency; handling; RNS510

minus.jpg Boot space; short first gear

CarAdvice rating: rating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gif(4.25)

Model tested: 2008 Honda CR-V

Recommended Retail Price: $31,990

Options fitted: Five-speed automatic ($2000)

plus.jpg Space, quality, refinement, standard ESP

minus.jpg No Sat/Nav or Bluetooth, performance boost would help

CarAdvice rating: rating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gif(4.00)

Model tested: 2008 Subaru Forester X

Recommended Retail Price: $30,490.

Options fitted: None fitted.

plus.jpg Off road ability, space, utility

minus.jpg Interior styling, performance, urban utility

CarAdvice rating: rating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gif(3.50)

– Review by Paul Maric, David Twomey and Matt Brogan, photographs by Paul Maric.

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The Australian car market may be in a state of flux, thanks to see-sawing fuel prices, but that hasn’t stopped it booming.

One segment that certainly falls into the ‘full steam ahead’ category is compact SUVs and Volkswagen, one of the most aggressive players in our market has moved to again snatch a ‘European’ advantage with its Tiguan soft-roader.

SUV Comparo

It’s got some stiff competition, from the likes of Subuaru’s Forester and the Honda CR-V so we pitched them against each other, with some interesting results.

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2008 Subaru Forester X – Matt Brogan:

Forester’s outward appearance has changed slightly from previous examples with a more sleek front end, in keeping with Subaru’s new corporate look, perhaps the most evident of all alterations.

Proportions too have grown slightly in each direction to make this incarnation the longest, widest and tallest Forester yet. Despite these revisions, the car’s overall exterior presence has maintained much of its beloved shape which should help retain Forester’s army of loyal followers.

Underneath the skin Forester’s driving characteristics and personality too have maintained much of their integrity despite the increase in bulk.

In the performance stakes some of Forester’s weight gain can be felt, especially when the vehicle is loaded or laboured and once on-road the 2.5-litre’s athletic prowess can vary greatly depending on just how hard you’re willing to work for the 126kW reward.

Let the car labour, and the performance is mediocre at best, sluggish even, but keep the revs up and use the gears with a bit of energy and the boxer engine provides ample mid-range pull for most situations offering a middling 229Nm of torque at 4400rpm.

Subaru Forester X

Around town Forester does feel slightly heavier and more cumbersome than the two rivals, especially when manoeuvring through tight back streets and parking lots, and though I wouldn’t say it’s a huge problem, it is certainly evident when jumping from one vehicle to the next.

Open road driving sees Forester’s ability improve slightly and the all-wheel grip certainly feels confident through twisty country corners with a ride on par with expectation.

Again, throw up a challenge such as a steep incline or series of undulations and Forester’s legs feel a little short.

You really do need to keep on top of things so as to not lose pace. This may not prove an issue for many drivers who are happy to plod along, but it can also mean overtaking is a little more challenging than desirable with a lot of runway required when passing.

Subaru Forester XSubaru Forester X

So while is may seem that on-road the Forester is a little lack lustre, off-road it’s completely the opposite, in fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s brilliant. Whilst it’s no bush basher, it’s not intended to be, on gravel or unsealed roads Forester clearly rules the roost.

The viscous limited slip centre differential offers seamless power delivery to all four wheels and the combination of ride and handling offered from the McPherson strut front end and dual wish bone independent rear set up is superb and utterly reassuring when tackling more unforgiving terrain.

ABS and ESP calibration allow enough free play so as not to be a hindrance on the loose stuff and with adequate ground clearance (220mm) and low range mode (manual transmission only), Forester is the ideal choice for any one living in a rural area or for those who enjoy a more active recreational lifestyle.

Subaru Forester XSubaru Forester X

A large cargo area that is raked slightly downward at the rear could mean sacrificing loose grocery items to the road below but is a nifty idea that works in your favour when it comes to unloading heavier items or when draining your mountain bike or wetsuits.

My only qualms off-road would be that the Hill Start Assist set up is not as clever or absolute as the Brake Hold system offered in Tiguan and that the steering can in certain instances (such as at speed) feel a little over assisted.

The cabin is perhaps best described as decorously utilitarian rather than aesthetically pleasing and presents a robust finish suited to the vehicle’s intended application. Instrumentation is somewhat lacklustre but nonetheless is easy to read and the controls are simplistic, ergonomic and seemingly durable.

Subaru Forester X

A large lever-type low range selector, centrally positioned on the console, means a lot of otherwise usable space has been forfeited, though other storage bins and hidey holes do exist to compensate and with an array of standard features, adequate for a base model, includes air conditioning, cruise control, remote central locking, power mirrors and windows, and a single CD tuner with auxiliary (iPod) input jack, Forester a reasonably good package.

  • Engine: 2457cc SOHC horizontally opposed four cylinder
  • Power: 126kW@6000rpm
  • Torque: 229Nm@4400rpm
  • Transmission: Five Speed Manual (Dual Range)
  • Brakes: Disc with ABS, EBA & EBD
  • Driven Wheels: All Wheel Drive
  • Final Drive: 4.111 (High) / 1.196 (Low)
  • Top Speed: 184km/h
  • 0-100 km/h: 10.4 seconds
  • Fuel Type: 91RON Unleaded Petrol
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
  • Fuel Consumption: 9.3L/100km (Combined)*
  • ANCAP Rating: 5 star
  • Safety: ESP; TCS; Front, Side & Curtain Airbags
  • Service Interval: 6 month/12,500 kilometres
  • Spare Wheel: Steel 16 inch
  • Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
  • Towing Capacity: 1400kg (Braked)
  • Warranty: 3 year/Unlimited kilometre
  • Weight: 1475kg (Tare)
  • Wheels: 16 x 6 inch steel

*ADR tests are calculated on 95RON Unleaded Fuel


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2008 Honda CR-V – David Twomey:

Despite its polarising styling the Honda CR-V is enormously popular with those people at whom it is directly aimed – young families with active lifestyles. Why you may ask given that this is a market segment where buyers are spoiled for choice, well the answer we believe comes back to Honda’s solid reputation and reliability.

That and the fact that this little lugger can swallow a mountain of family orientated stuff, like strollers, sports gear and shopping.

And Honda isn’t confused about where the CR-V fits into our marketplace either, the company’s marketers will tell you “want to find the natural place for the CR-V, go to the parking lot of any childcare centre, you’ll find plenty of them and plenty of the people the car is aimed at.”

Honda CR-V

Despite falling away in the market a little this year it is currently selling at number three behind the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru’s new Forester, it still a strong value proposition for most buyers with the well equipped base model, tested here, costing just $31,990 , plus $2000 for the five-speed automatic in our test car.

It’s no secret that this current version of the CR-V is a better vehicle than the one it replaced, while adhering to the recipe that made it a success.

Coming from a factory in Thailand, so it’s pricing can exploit a Free Trade Agreement with that country, it’s well built, has tight tolerances and uses quality materials and production methods to ensure you’re getting value from every last cent of your purchase.

Honda CR-VHonda CR-V

To us the appearance of the CR-V is a little polarising, but the marketplace doesn’t seem to agree and many people actually like the double split grille and the arched side windows that sweep rearward to an all new top hinged tailgate.

The tailgate provides excellent access to the voluminous rear load area, which was by far the largest of the three cars on test and certainly scores the Honda many brownie points with its buyers. We heard criticism of the Tiguan, particularly, from families who said it couldn’t take a baby-stroller in the rear, but no such problems with the CR-V.

The obligatory 12V outlet has not been forgotten, for those planning on taking the fridge, and as if all that cargo space isn’t enough, CR-V can tow up to 1500kg (braked).

Honda CR-VHonda CR-V

Getting in and out of the CR-V is also made easier by a lower seat height than the previous model, and while none of these cars were a challenge to enter the Honda was certainly amongst the easiest. The seating is remarkably comfortable and supportive, and the driving position is easily adaptable thanks to an excellent range of adjustment, and a steering wheel that’s adjustable for reach and rake.

The leather wrapped wheel also has cruise and audio controls within a thumbs reach, and to grip feels both elegant and sporty at the same time.

The dashboard is clean, functional and upmarket, both texturally and aesthetically with a blue/white backlit instrument cluster lending even more sophistication to what’s already a purposeful and presentable cluster of stylish yet easily read displays.

Honda CR-V

Visibility is good, despite the slightly odd shaped third rear window, although we feel that all vehicles of this type should be fitted with rear park sensors and a reversing camera.

Another big plus with the CR-V is its excellent safety credentials with a five-star ANCAP rating, plus four airbags, anti-lock brakes and, commendably, VSC stability control in the base model.

Both ABS and ESP allow a reasonable margin for error and even driving on loose gravel bush tracks they are up to the job, while not being too intrusive. As a part-time 4WD the CR-V is a reasonable compromise for anyone who wants the added confidence of grip at all four corners when the conditions are less than ideal.

Honda CR-VHonda CR-V

The CR-V defies the usual concept of four-wheel drive handling and ride with a well-judged compromise, lower centre of gravity and retention of hydraulic power steering that despite being a bit slow-reacting and light for keen drivers, delivers better weight and feel than most of its competitors.

Although it’s a dedicated understeerer through corners, the CR-V nevertheless grips surprisingly well, leans a lot less than you might imagine, and turns in with surprising eagerness.

The 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, petrol engine, is slightly more powerful at 125kW than its predecessor, and with a broader spread of torque, provides sufficient rather than exciting performance. Uphill or overtaking manoeuvres do require some careful thought, as the smooth-revving engine needs to build up power.

SUV ComparoSUV Comparo

It’s satisfactorily frugal in theses fuel sensitive days and although Honda quotes an official combined ADR figure of 10.0L/100km we actually achieved slightly better, over a wide ranging driving from country and city to bush tracks, with an average consumption of 9.43L/100km.

After a week experience all three of these vehicles I was more convinced of the Honda’s competence at the end, than at the beginning. The Tiguan is the new kid on the block, has European glamour and has the added cache of diesel power, but the Honda wins hands down when it comes to doing the job –providing reliable performance with family sized space and load lugging.

  • Engine: 2.4-litre, DOHC, i-VTEC, 4-cylinder
  • Power: 125kW@5800rpm
  • Torque: 218Nm@4200rpm
  • Transmission: optional five-speed auto
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs front/rear
  • Driven Wheels: part-time four-wheel drive
  • Final Drive: 4.500
  • Top Speed:
  • 0-100km/h:
  • Fuel Type: 91RON ULP
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 58 litres
  • Fuel Consumption: 9.43L/100km* actual
  • NCAP Rating: 5 Star
  • Safety: 4 airbags, ABS, EBD, VSA(stability control), active head restraints
  • Spare Wheel: 17×6.5J steel
  • Turning Circle: 11.8m
  • Towing Capacity: 1500kg (braked)
  • Weight: 1570kg
  • Wheels: 17×6.5J steel
  • Warranty: 3 years/100,000km


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Volkswagen Tiguan – Paul Maric:

Volkswagen is at it again. This time they plan on cutting Japan’s lunch – in a big way. Despite the fact only 1800 orders are coming into Australia this year, Volkswagen is confident the Tiguan will compete against its main Japanese rivals until the final count.

The Tiguan’s exterior design isn’t the only thing that strikes you at first glance. It doesn’t look as traditional in an SUV sense as its competitors. This makes it look smaller on the outside than it actually is. Inside the cabin, there is a generous amount of room on offer for adults and children.

Boot space is the Tiguan’s main letdown. The boot capacity is 50-litres short of its nearest competitor – the Subaru Forester X. You can’t blame the full-sized spare tyre for that one either – simply because it uses a space saver tyre instead. It’s quite a confusing trait when you consider the car will be primarily used by families.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Boot volume aside, the Tiguan’s ability to continually impress in most departments doesn’t seem to end. Our test vehicle – the 103TDI is powered by Volkswagen’s renowned 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine. Producing 103kW of power and 320Nm of torque, it was the quickest of our test bunch under full throttle acceleration – but I put that down to my exceptional driving skills, the others seemed to disagree somewhat though, not sure why.

At idle, the diesel motor makes a bit of a racket, likewise under hard acceleration. If the diesel noise doesn’t faze you, it’s impossible to fault the Tiguan’s drivetrain. The test vehicle was mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox which shifted with enthusiasm and was easy to operate. First gear ran out of puff very quickly though, often making 2nd gear starts the norm.

As you would expect from a ‘Sports Utility Vehicle’, the Tiguan handles and drives much like a car – a Jetta more or less. Built on a mix of Golf and Passat chassis, the Tiguan really caters for the best of both worlds – comfort and sharp handling.

Volkswagen TiguanVolkswagen Tiguan

The Tiguan is also the second car in Australia to offer a feature called ‘Park Assist’. The Tiguan is capable of parallel parking your vehicle in a car space with only seconds worth of input required to line up the space. The impressive system was demonstrated at the vehicle’s launch and was raved about by Editor David Twomey, after several demonstrations.

RNS510 was also fitted to our Tiguan test vehicle. RNS510 is Volkswagen’s latest iteration of user interface. It integrates satellite navigation, audio management and traffic announcements. The new touch screen is very easy to use and caters for all sorts of individuals.

Audiophiles will also be drawn by the brilliant sound system and audio management system. A hard drive is used to store 10GB worth of DVD information for the satellite navigation with up to an additional 20GB for music.

Volkswagen TiguanVolkswagen Tiguan

Off the beaten track, the Tiguan remains competent but is trumped by the Subaru’s constant all-wheel-drive system. The Tiguan’s part time all-wheel-drive system only sends power to the rear wheels when it detects slippage at the front end.

Although styling is subjective, I believe the Tiguan is the best looking of the bunch. The stylish front end features unique headlights and grille, while the rear is rounded off to feature a great rear light cluster.

Tiguan comes standard with a electro-hydraulic park brake. The feature also includes a hill-hold function which applies the brakes while the car is sits on an incline, going hand in hand with the manual gearbox, allowing the driver to get sufficient revs before releasing the parking brake.

SUV ComparoSUV Comparo

Tiguan’s pricing begins at $33,990 for the (yet to be released) 125TSI and climbs to $35,990 for the 103TDI, while finishing at $42,990 for the range topping 147TSI. All models come standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox but can be upgraded to a 6-speed automatic for an additional $2300.

Standard features include: Rear fog lamp; central locking; electric windows; electric mirrors; alloy wheels; air conditioning; 6 cup holders; MP3 compatible CD player; steering wheel audio controls; 8 speakers front and rear; leather wrapped steering wheel and trip computer.

Safety features include: ABS brakes with EBD, BA and ESP (Electronic Stability Control); driver and front passenger airbags; driver and passenger side airbags; front and rear curtain airbags.

All in all, the new Volkswagen Tiguan is a brilliant machine. It’s let down by a small boot, but makes up for it in a superb drive, modern styling and competent handling. The price point is also very competitive, watch out for options pricing though!

  • Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder
  • Power: 103kW@4200rpm
  • Torque: 320Nm@1700rpm
  • Transmission: six-speed manual, optional six-speed auto
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs front/rear
  • Driven Wheels: part-time four-wheel drive
  • 0-100km/h: 10.5-seconds
  • Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 64 litres
  • Fuel Consumption: 7.4L/100km actual
  • NCAP Rating: 5 Star
  • Safety: 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, ESP(stability control), active head restraints
  • Spare Wheel: space saver steel
  • Turning Circle: 12m
  • Towing Capacity: 2000kg (braked)
  • Weight: 1630kg
  • Wheels: 16×6.5 alloy


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She Says – Miranda Simpson:

After looking at all three vehicles, I believe the Tiguan to be the best from my point of view, and here’s why.

CRV is quite stylish to look at, and is lovely inside. I like the space, it’s very comfortable and is very easy to drive but it seems to have a blind spot (through the C pillar), which is not very good when reversing from angle parks or when changing lanes. It also seems to me that the way baby capsules connect to the roof is a hindrance with straps (across the load space). It’s just very inconvenient and limits the amount of usable room in the boot for other things such as a pram and luggage.

Volkswagen TiguanVolkswagen Tiguan

The Forester is not as good looking as the other cars, not as stylish. It’s also quite basic inside and is a little rough to drive. It is however the larger of the three and has plenty of room for shopping, the pram and other things for our weekends away like camping gear, bikes, etc. The only real issue is that I find it slightly too big to live with day-to-day and found it a little bulky for just driving down to the shops or to school.

Tiguan is my favorite, I love the look, it’s spacious, comfortable, has many compartments to put my things in, which is great if you have young children and is very smooth and easy to drive. I also found this one the easiest to park. It has a slightly smaller boot, but it’s still adequate for the pram and gear and best of all you can connect the baby capsules to the back of the seat without limiting space in the back. I also like the way that you are able to pull the back seats down without undoing everything. It’s great.

If I was to buy on looks alone, I’d go with the CR-V, but after driving each and utilising them for a period of time, the Tiguan is for me.

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Despite the Forester’s interior shortcomings (the multitude of plastic), it dominated in dirt road driving, proving to be quite competent on loose surfaces. While the Forester dominated off-road, the Tiguan shone brightest on the tarmac.

The diesel engine provided exceptional pulling power, while the handling was on par with the best SUVs. When it comes to practicality though, the CR-V had it in the bag. The boot was the biggest of the three, but the CR-V was let down by a hunting gearbox and lack of get-up-and-go. So now it comes down to the decision.


SUV Comparo

We spent a lot of time deliberating but couldn’t give the win to anything other than the Tiguan, it really is an exceptional machine. The surprise of the bunch was certainly the CR-V though, falling just short due to its engine – bring on a diesel. Either way, you would be pleased with either the CR-V or Tiguan. The Forester is also a good choice, but is let down by questionable build materials and an engine that revs, but doesn’t really move the car with any enthusiasm.

  • Casey

    Great story guys and good to hear a chick’s point of view for a change – nice work!

  • Duck

    Where’s the Rav4 CarAdvice?

  • http://evo Frugal One

    VW is diesel, mighty X Trail has a choice of 2 diesels, [unlike haonda and subaru]




  • Martin

    I agree, the X-Trail needed to be compared as well.

  • Richo

    since when has the X Trail had a choice of 2 diesels Frugal One? It doesn’t even have one diesel. Maybe in europe, but we don’t live in europe, we live in australia, where there isn’t a diesel

  • http://evo Frugal One

    Richo –

    OLD NEWS……

    Days away from release, all the PR etc done months ago =

    www nissan com au/xtrail/turbodiesel asp



  • Camski

    I saw my first Tiguan on the streets about 2 weeks ago. Indeed it is a very nice looking thing. It’s definately got a lot of cool factor behind it. Not quite something like a BMW (think X3) image but definately a grade up from the competition as it gives you the refined feel of the German’s with the pricing of the Japenese.

  • jbot

    Frugal, if it is days away from release, how could CarAdvice possibly road test it??

  • lolcake?

    The X3 is a shocking looking vehicle. Did they just find the boot of it on the side of the road and hoped it would fit?
    Love the forester, hate the new shape.
    CRV, looks the best, pitty it is made in Thailand.
    Tiguan – boring (seen a few on the road all ready) and the wheels look stupid.

  • trackdaze

    “She says” the CRV is a good looker.

    Perhaps at a cleft lip convention.

  • robbo

    VW will not go the distance with its shoddy reliability and quality. Watch the electrics play up after the warranty. I’ll take the Subie thanks.

  • Golfschwein

    That was too good, Trackdaze. With your permission, I shall ensure to entwine that phrase into general conversation with friends in the near future.

    And, yes, it’s pig ugly.

  • Golfschwein

    What happens with the electrics, Robbo, specifically?

  • http://evo Frugal One

    JBOT –

    The media [inc. this fair website] get to test/review vehicles weeks if not months before they are released to JoePublic.

    UNLESS its a MAZDA CX7! :-)



  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    LOL…………..seriously funny and unreal!

  • Reckless1

    Go the (s)tig.

  • Reckless1

    Yeah, robbo, what happens with the electrics?

    Now that we all know (because you said so) that they are programmed to fail as soon as 3 yrs go by, or 100,000ks, whichever comes first.

    But what exactly happens? Come on, tell us.

  • freddy

    All seem to have a few flaws to me, with no standout. Shall be interested to see the new diesel Ford Kuga when it arrives (have read October, but dealers seem to know nothing about it). 5.6l/100km. Several reviews in Europe have placed it higher than the Tiguan. But it has a big flaw too – it’s a Ford .. plus if the interior is anything like the Mondeo .. bleeurghh .. hate the big silver panel in the centre. Shame the new Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 will be too exxy for me when they arrive ..

  • Steve

    Just to clarify, the Honda CR-V is only rated as a 4 star vehicle by ANCAP, not 5 as stated in the review.

  • Prince

    Why would you wanna compare an orange with an apple. European car Vs Japanes car = No race. The finishing of the VW would’ve been heaps better than the other 2 SUV’s. This review would just make the 2 Jap’s SUV look as bad. Like the video on youtube “comparing a Toyota camry with the VW Passat” That’s hilarious.

  • lolcake?

    How about we compare them over say….3-5 years….on maintanance, reliability, servicing and parts cost?
    I think I know who would win that one.

  • Greg

    Agree with the previous post.
    Had a V6 Touareg, absolute lemon. Had it back at the dealer constantly. Eventually got fed up and left it at the dealer.
    After a month, was replaced with a V8. About a year on now and had some major problem in it (im not technical AT ALL, so couldn’t tell you exactly what it was, or did, or meant)
    Anyway I was informed that only 2 people in NSW were able to fix it. 2 people, what the hell? All good for the time being, still wish I had the old camry I sold. 9 years on and it is still running without a problem (sold it to a friend).

  • David

    Robbo, I think you are thinking of the 1970 VW Beetle having electrical problems… and Greg, you can’t decide the fate of an entire range of cars simply because you were unlucky enough to be given a “lemon”. I had a Camry wagon and got rid of it after its second head, so go figure!!!
    The Tiguan is awesome to drive, but what is with the 12month waiting list for cars ordered now (and not tkaing into account the hail storm in Germany over the weekend which has now wiped out their stock).. I will wait for the x-trail which is due in the next week or two..

  • Nat

    In my hunt for an SUV I have driven both the Tiguan and the Forester and ended up buying the Forester. Tiguan had the better quality interior and felt a little more refined on the road but add to that the extra price premium (around 4 grand) and VW’s recent reliability issues and it was the Forester all the way. A little research would also show that the Forester in general is a stand out performer when it comes to safety and reliability. Maybe in 3 – 5 years when VW has proven itself highly I might consider one but until then I would definately go the Forester for now. CRV too ugly!

  • realcars

    Tiguan looks/dynamics/interior probably the pick but Euros always price themselves out of the market as in this case with higher entry price and more expensive options list.

    It’s almost like they don’t want to sell them.

  • The Advocate

    What ?!

    A VW winning a comparison on !?

    Now THERE’S* a suprise….

    *(to be spoken with absolute sarcasm)

  • Craig

    I was looking at buying a 147KW Tiguan with sunroof and leather. The on road cost for this vehicle is $53K. I also looked at a Subaru XT premium (manual) which is $49K (on road). They are both expensive and have good and bad features. I have a 04 Forester XS luxury at present which is a good car, but it has a cheap feel in some of its fit out. The new Forester has the same with hard plastic dash and components. I have had a Polo and a Golf in the past and they were both great quality products. The Tiguan has a high quality feel to it but has a high quality price to match. The big killer for the Tiguan is the boot space for a family vehicle. It would be alright around town but a family holiday would test its carrying capacity. With that sort of cost I could consider a CX7 luxury which is the right size for my family. The joys of buying a new car????

  • OSU811

    Looking at the price of the vw the better featured forester xs and crv sport would have been a more fair comparison!!,, as they would of had more upmarket features and interiors to match the vw, then i believe the forester would win on features/price/safety/build quality/resale and interior space/quality..

  • ShaunL

    Watch out for the Kuga when in lands in Oz. It’s a great looking car, I’ve seen a few around London and it is a much better looker than the Tiguan. The big bonus is that it’s designed by Ford Europe, not the folks responsible for things like the Explorer or F-truck. Expect big things.

  • weirluo

    a lesson that I have learned from the Tiguan: don’t judge a car looking by pictures. the new forester looks as ugly as the Tiguan. A CRV is never a choice, it’s a real pretender. the previous forester model was a clean winner, well, for some people at least.

  • weirluo

    “but it can also mean overtaking is a little more challenging than desirable with a lot of runway required when passing.”

    Have to disagree with this, obviously, you guys haven’t driven the forester out its potential, either because you don’t how by not having the car long enough, or because you don’t care about it.

  • weirluo

    check out other reviews done by CARADICE for each of the three cars, the number of starts awarded is not consistent from what is given here, let alone the comments and conclusions.

    Em…, “can’t remember who sponsor me now…”

  • http://evo Frugal One


    Agree, C/A is on the payroll and a marketing arm of VW GmbH



  • trackdaze

    Golfschwein, permission granted.

    but only in reverence to the partly formed front end of the CRV and maybe the entire Ssangyong range.

  • Neo Utopia

    Firstly a message to Robbo and Lolcake:
    Yes it has been quantifiably proven that brands like Subaru, Toyota and Honda are more reliable than Volkswagen. However, many people, and i mean many people out their in the world (not just Australia) prefer to purchase vehicles to suit there life styles and tastes, not just because they want a vehicle which is very reliable.

    I think the Outback looks much better than the new Forester, it has a more refined appearance and is less awkward looking. I think the Tiguan’s appearance is quite good, similar level as the Honda’s. I think the smaller boot was an intentional design cue to attract the contemporary metro couples with one child, rather than to attract people with more than two children.

    I think this test, like so many others i have read, shows that no matter what the type of person you are there is usually a particular brand and model to suit one’s (individual) personality. I think thats why there are more vehicle brands in Auz now, because people are more inclined to drive around in a ‘different’ car from the masses to make them feel different and to make the whole driving experience more enjoyable, especially as the traffic conditions worsen one would want to! (but ironically contributing to the traffic problem)

    In all a pretty good test, no i don’t think CS are getting tips from VW, read Dogs and Lemons car guide and i still think those guys are getting tips from Toyota, but they have confirmed in their book they don’t have shares in the company. Just to educate people who are too myopic and see reliability as the wholly grail, the female reviewer in the end of her review stated that the Tiguan is the easiest to use, and thats what the majority of potential buyers are looking for in a small SUV for a (small) family.

  • Neo Utopia

    Post Script,

    I think the Tiguan is slightly better looking than the CRV, however i think the Mazda CX7 maybe slightly better looking than the Tiguan, I think though I would still prefer the Tiguan though because it is the underdog amongst the pack and I don’t want to be one of the masses who buy small Japanese SUVs, even if some would have better reliability.

  • Juraj

    The RAV4 and X-Trail (diesel) should have joined the party.

  • freddy

    I see Wheels mag have just done a comparison of the top 5 selling compact 4x4s. Tiguan not included (too new to make the top 5 sellers). Verdict not on the site – will have to check the mag. All well and good to do such a comparison, but CA’s comparison is of too few vehicles and as Wheels failed to include new or soon to be released vehicles from major manufactuers (like the VW Tiguan, Ford Kuga, Volvo XC60 & Audi Q5), their review is already old news for people looking to buy in the next 6 months (though the last 2 vehicles I mentioned are probably too exxy for a fair class comparison). BTW, saw a BMW X3 at lunch time today .. agree with an ealrier poster .. freaking ugly backside. Looks like something off a 15yr old Lada. What were they thinking?

  • GTR

    All are good cars, taken each one for a test drive! CR-V does have sat-nav, but only in the lurury version.

  • geoff

    “Had a V6 Touareg, absolute lemon. Had it back at the dealer constantly. Eventually got fed up and left it at the dealer…”

    Surprising as general consensus runs contrary to that.
    I have one and absolutely love it.

  • observer

    We went to have a look at a Forester XS luxury and a Tiguan today as we need a bigger car with a growing toddler.

    After reading Caradvice and Miranda Simpsons sumation we had big expectations for the Tiguan. We get to the VW dealer and the first problem is when my wife wasnt able to fit my 3 year old sons pram into the boot flat on the floor, actually it only just squeezed in by rolling it to the side and then positioning it on a 45 degree angle across the boot.

    We fit our Maxi-Rider booster seat in the centre rear position, strap our son in ready to go for a test drive position the front seats appropriately only to find that the rear seat space is appauling, in fact there was so little leg space left that my son could not even extend his legs out as they would have hit the back of the front seats. Miranda it’s not “all great” and you obviously do not have small children to commute. Also whats with the 12m turning circle.

    It drove well and felt solid but seriously lacking in space in all directions.

    We ended up purchasing the Forester it was spacious without being oversized like the Rav 4. Felt very stable and the security of the constant All Wheel Drive is what I expect from a vehicle that is meant to be designed for recreational and family use.

  • peteH

    There are just so many SUV’s around these days. A good quick comparison and n enjoyed the comments. If I recall Wheels rated the X-Trail marginally, followed by Outlander and then the Forester. RACV tells us that the CRV is the least expensive to run based on yearly figures. Diesels arent so cheap to run as you think, watch for that. I saw the VW the other day it looked cute. Maybe its too small esp in the luggage area. If you want to be different, have the $$ like the size, check it out. In the end its what suits your needs.

  • Nat

    Just to let everybody know. I have had the forester XS about a month now and it is growing on me more and more each day that I drive it. Any review that claims there is a shortfall in pulling power just havnt given the boxer a chance to break in. Our other car is a Honda Accord Euro and the acceleration and pulling power of the non turbo Forester is well on par with the Euro (one of the better reviewed cars ever). Also I am averaging about 8 litres per hundred kms combined and not the 9.3 claimed so pretty good there too. I can highly recommend this car to anybody however its one shortfall is the lack or centre arm rest on the manual. Currently sourcing and arm rest extender from Subaru America originaly designed for the 2008 Impreza which will also fit the 2009 Forester, given they are the same interior.

  • Locky

    I drove the tiguan and the Forester ( have always been a fan of subaru- even though I am a deticated VW owner)

    I have to say that i preferred the feel of the VW on the road.

    While the subaru does have more space, but the VW’s better fuel economy, styling, extra features and kit and more responsive engine ( both cars were under 100kms run in) was a winner for me and my wife)

    Tiguan- don’t mind the lack of space ( might look at rear door tire rack and revert the space back to storage in the car-as with Euro models). Won me on on road comfort, awesome torque, quiet ride, steering, sound system(with sat nav), all over package is great.

    Forester- overall is a very nice package, but interior felt dated and engine sluggish.(might consider the XT turbo)

    CRV- out of the question, dont like the Honda’s styling as much and used to own a lemon civic.

  • Vegas

    I read all the comments and must say I am intrigued. Without doubt, there are a few comments here from various self interest opposition dealerships however; some appear to be quite genuine. Let’s put a few things into perspective but before we start, I’ll make it clear that I am not biased towards any makes nor am I employed by dealerships – I am an Engineer in the public infrastructure and one that does some research before investing my hard earned dollars into any product, tools, vehicles or otherwise. Let us begin and get some things into perspective:
    1. I have researched the Volkswagen Tiguan on the internet (and there are a many – just go to goggle and type in Tiguan Road Test) and have been hard pressed to find a world wide motoring editor critic who had serious negative comments to make here, most give it a glowing report, 4.5 to 5 star ratings (including Top Gear).
    2. The unquantifiable comments about quality, reliability (see lemons used) – started looking with the wife for a compact SUV, saw them all – X-trail, outlander, CRV, Forester, CX7, X3, Freelander, etc – must say, in my and the wife’s opinion, the Tiguan topped them all and I must say, our looking stopped here. It is in many ways on par with Audi and we all know that Audi has a reputation for build quality, attention to detail and rates in the worlds best.
    3. Further to the above, Volkswagen has currently a Tiguan production/build capacity of approximately 150,000 vehicles per annum. As of a few months ago, the motoring editors advised that waiting list for this vehicle world wide was 80,000 – I know read that this (needs to be confirmed) has multiplied to 120, 000 and growing (even the Germans now have to wait for it). Now this is phenomenal – this is a waiting list that Honda, Subaru, Mazda, Toyota, etc can only dream off. In fact and to my knowledge, there has been one other car with such waiting list – the Golf GTI (and guess what, another Volkswagen).
    4. Now when we talk about resale value – what sort of resale value would you expect from a vehicle with such a huge waiting list – expect it to be very high. By the way, has anyone tried to buy a second hand Golf V series lately (even with high Kilometers)?
    5. One more thing to add. A friend of mine is now on his 4th Touareg (changes them every 2 years or so) and swears by them – just love his latest, the R50.

    So there we go, personally I think that the Tiguan is now the benchmark for compact SUV’s however, only one problem for Volkswagen – it has been once again caught with it’s pants down with regards to production and this will give plenty time to the opposition manufacturers in playing catch up.

  • Julie

    A little experience for everybody. My husband and I recently bought a Tiguan, we were lucky to secure one. Yes we love the looks and love the interior however we are now struggling to fit anything in it. We tend to go camping a lot, thus the reason for going diesel, and as long as you keep the speed uround 90k’s you wont get the fuel economy rated. Also we have had to purchase a roof pod to make up for the tiny space of the boot. Please don’t get me wrong, I love our new Tiguan but if you are an outdoors person like us, keep in mind you will really be struggling to fit a weekends worth of gear in the back, even with the seat slid forward. My husband is already getting frustrated with the car so has decided to keep our older SUV, lol an 04 Forester.

    • http://nil Pete Roper

      Seversl year ago my company car options included SUVs so I took cardboard boxes (folded down) scaled to represtent the items we always take camping. No good looking good, or performing briliantly if the car won’t carry what we need. The dealers faces were very amusing as I rocked up and asked “Can I tru loading it first?” Amused sniggers then affirmative grunts>” One even had several colleagues watch my antics. Of course when my boxes and guitar case didn’t fit I walked! They stopped smirking. The forester, despite its theoretiaclly poorer space took it all. Now Some things can ve packed in different containers, even I know this. However, some things are fixed such as fridges etc.
      I upgraded, eventually, to a Disco 2004 TDi. Same routine same satisfaction. Being diesel I get a better furel economy when towing than the forester and it is more rugged.
      It all comes down to what do you want and what do you really need. Now, can you afford wht’s available?
      Enjoy the Tiguan.Forester, CV whatever, its your love.

  • Artemiy

    There is a mistake in the review: it’s absolutely not true that the Tiguan has a part-time all-wheel drive. It has a full-time AWD which is similar to the one found in Subarus with automatic gearboxes (active AWD as they call it). It sends torque 50/50 when accelerating, 90/10 at constant speed for fuel efficiency, and when on bad terrain it can send up to 100/0 or 0/100 when needed. Watch videos on YouTube, it’s a very capable off-roader, quite possible that it will be on par with an automatic gearbox Subie.

  • observer

    Go to You Tube and watch “All Whhel Drives Are Not Created Equal”. Dyno testing of Subaru,VW,Honda and Toyota which will dispel any myths and dispertions on which AWD systems actually work on varied slip conditions.

    The VW Passat 4motion Haldex AWD is basically the same as the system used in the Tiguan.

    Again the Subaru Symetrical All Wheel Drive System shows why it really is the most capable On/Off road system.

  • Linnaeb

    I have just bought a Tiguan, pick it up on Friday, and it will be interesting to see if i can put up with the itty bitty boot space long enough to see if the electrics play up after my warraty runs out?!?!?!?Lol.
    I could of just bought a CRV and driven it with a paper bag over my head-but could’ve fit twice as much shopping in the back. At least now I will save money!

  • Poida

    Personally, the interior quality, feel and ride quality make the CRV a winner for the young family (as boring as this might be). While the front styling is akward, it does have a unique look to it. Honda seems to have this right in a number of their models. True, the engine is a bit gutless, but having driven both auto and manual Accord Euro’s, the manual offers a far more powerful and flexible option in relation to overtaking, so I’m not expecting an auto CRV to be an issue.

  • Luc

    What a crap review!

    Here are the facts (after shopping around in person and having driven the Forester and the Tiguan.

    The Forester is a great $33,000 (on road) car.

    The Tiguan is a great $43,000 (on road) car. Yes, an extra $10,000.

    The Honda was too weird looking to give a try.

    The Forester is packed full of features for its price and in my opinion cannot be beaten when considered for price.
    The Tiguan is a damn fine car to drive, however the actual on-road price is a rip compared to the rivals and this review certainly doesn’t reflect that. Comparing the the Tiguan against the Forester XT would have been a fairer review.

    All I can say is that after talking to 2 VW dealers i was left with a sour taste in my mouth. The above $35,990 RRP for the tiguan is only a lure to get you to look at the car. VW’s dealer delivery chargers are through the roof compared to Subaru’s.

    I really think there is some responsibility on the reviewers part to compare apples with apples and give the manufacturers a fair review for their intended markets.

    What next Golf GTI vs Hyundai Getz, who’s the winner?

  • Benjie

    Luc, can you even read?

    The Tiguan is $4,000 more than the Forester and is about infinitely better.

  • Luc

    Benjie… do I really have to repeat myself?

  • Benjie

    No Luc, I think you have already proven your lack of intelligence.

  • Nat

    Sorry Benjie, have to agree with Luc. I have gone through the same thing with VW. Some of our friends have actually purchased a Tiguan 103TDI, manual with a couple of small extras and I believe the final on road price was $45.000, well above the $35.000 ‘lure’ amount You can save a few grand if you are prepared to wait 11 months apparently. These amounts do put the Tiguan in a different league and price range and almost voids this UNFAIR review. Benjie, nobody is disputing that the Tiguan is a better car, I have driven one and yes, it is better to drive and the interior is better built being european. I guess I have to agree with Luc though, there is a responsibility on the reviewers part to compare apples with apples. I have no doubt that if Subaru put more dollars into their interior it would review better to those who are into European style interiors and higher budgets. Subaru have their market and VW have theirs. My personal feeling about VW is that they do lure potential buyers in with low RRP’s and then hit them with high delivery fees and excessive charges for extra’s.

  • Luc

    Well said Nat! Benjie I respect your VW enthusiasm. Let me know if it’s still there after you go buy your first $35.000 Tiguan for $43.000.

  • Benjie

    Luc, your partner Nat seems just as daft as you are!

    Feel free to visit the Volkswagen website where you will find the exact equivalent to the Forester is $33,990 – the 125TSI.

    But please, don’t let me get in the way of you two making up figures.

  • Luc

    Benjie this is not a battle ego’s. It’s about the biased and unfair review and the actual on-road costs of the dealers. $31.990 ($33.000 I was quoted on road) for the Forester X vs $35.990 ($43.000 on-road I was quoted)for the Tiguan 103TDI. You accuse me of not being intelligent but you yourself find it impossible to understand what im trying to say, “THIS REVIEW IS CRAP”. If it were a battle of the $33.990 SUV’s then that would be different. Benjie your not wrong regarding there being a cheaper Tiguan, but you are wrong about it being an exact equivalent to the Forester X. Again the prices differ, $33.990 for the Tiguan 125TSI vs $31.990 for the Forester X . Oh, and there is the point that you have just unintelligently contradicted yourself by stating “exact equivalent”, I thought the Tiguan was “infinitely better”. I’m sure Nat is one of many people here who intelligently told VW to go shove their on road costs and is now using the $10,000 saved on having a life, like all other Subaru owners.

  • Nat

    Actually Luc – I’m using about $7,500 on having a life. I ended up buying the $33,990 RRP Forester XS – LOL

  • Benjie

    Well said Nat – Forester XS, LOL.

  • Nat

    Unintelligent answer from unintelligent Benjie. I bet your still trying to work out Luc’s point.

  • David

    I test drove the forester, rav4 V6, Xtrail and Tiguan today. While the base prices seem very similar I found that the Tiguan, on road, is about $7000-10000 more than the others, on road. The Tiguan is very nice. I have nothing against it (it would be our fourth VW: 71 Bus, 74 Beetle, 02 Golf) but for me, the Tiguan would mean needing car finance versus purchase outright. The reasons are that VW is charging a lot for options that might be standard on others (leather $4000, sunroof $2000 etc compared to say standard leather and sunroof on XTrail Ti. Even the off road pack with features standard on some of the others is an extra $290. The VW tiguan dealer delivery charge is $2499. The other issue is that the Tiguan drive is nice and supply so limited that VW do not need to negotiate whereas I found all the others the dealers would waive dealer delivery to make a sale, in fact, the others (rav, xtrail, forester) were willing to offer the car for, or very near, rrp as ‘on road’ (with the exception of the diesel XTrail). So I found today that there is a huge difference in cost like some others have reported. The VW dealer even admitted that their cars are more expensive than the competition and that there are no discounts. A diesel Tiguan optioned like a top spec Xtrail could easily hit >$50K versus a $40K for the similar spec’d Ti XTrail. The difference is less on the diesel XTrail. Both are quite noisy little engines by the way if you are used to petrol.

    Also the cars are not directly comparable in room. The Tiguan is small on boot space. As we have one child only it would be OK for our 2nd monthly trip bush to visit the inlaws but I might have to include cost of a roof capsule in the purchase price which the others don’t need. However, I did really like the Tiguan despite the cost and its still on the short list.

  • Frugal One

    Drive and TheAge done a test on these said diesel vehicles.

    THE X TRAIL won by miles, killed the VW and all the others

    Well done TeamNissan!



  • Benjie

    The Age and Drive are the same publication Frugal One.

  • justin

    The on-road costs are ridiculous for this nice mini SUV.

    I have a quote in my hand here, january delivery. I tried to keep the options down but was talked into leather (wears better with kids), sunroof, park assist and the integrated satnav RNS510. I declined a whole host of other options and accessories such as metallic, rims, off road pack, etc etc.

    The total ON ROAD costs rose from the list of 34,890, to 57,889

    The options total $15384 more
    The dealer delivery fees $2722
    The rego fees $819
    The GST on all that $5019
    The Stamp duty $1865

    This is as near as dammit to a $60k car, and one that I have to wait for Jan+ to get..

  • Nat

    Justin, a word of advice if you have kids, dont get leather. I have gone down this road before with the preconception that leather would be easier to clean. Leather is easier to clean however it scratches easily and you innevitably find yourself playing the proactive role of leather nazi. Also in summer it is hot, damn hot. I have recently given up leather and gone back to cloth and don’t think I will ever look back again. Hope this helps.

  • observer

    Justin, we experienced the same outrageous VW overpriced pre-delivery and options when we test drove the auto diesel 2 months ago. We decided on the Subaru Forester Premium and couldnt be happier with the spacious interior, handling/ride and exeptional value for money.

    The Total on Road Costs driveaway were for an Auto was $43,050. The salesperson reduced the price to $39,500 and we picked it up 3 days later. It has a generous list of features including,

    Alloy Wheels
    Climatic Contral Air/Cond
    6 Airbags
    Constant Symetrical All Wheel Drive
    6 Stacker Cd
    Fog Lights
    Self Levelling Rear Suspension
    Leather Seats/Steering Wheel
    Electric Sunroof
    8 Way Power drivers seat
    Stability Control/ABS/Traction Control
    5 Star Crash Safety rating
    Cruise Control
    Multi Information Display
    FULL Size Spare Tyre (I cant tolorate a crappy spacesaver as we get away on country runs a fair bit)

    The list goes on further so you may want to check it out.
    Ooh also Subaru Dont charge any extra for Metallic Paint. Cheers.

  • Kerry

    I was very keen on the Tiguan initially, as it looked a great car. We are changing from a 2000 Forester which has been brilliant, but has done 260000kms, and were considering the new Forester and the Tiguan.
    Sorry, but as a family car there is no comparison. Finally Subaru have sorted out the rear leg room in the Forester, making it great for teenage kids. The new Forester also has great boot space and a full sized spare tyre. It has excellent vision all around and is nice to drive. Also we can fit our bikes and canoes and lots of stuff in and on it!!

    Tiguan is probably a better looking car, but it is way too small, and despite being diesel and more economic, the price of diesel at the moment means it’s not really cheaper to run.

    So the Forester XS for me (and its cheaper too!)

  • Carl Mc, Taree

    Has anyone noticed the difference in the fuel used.

    The review has it at 91 RON, but the catalogue says 95-98 RON, the ADR tests are based on 95 RON.
    While the Forester can run on unleaded, it is not advisable according to their mechanics,for better economy they say use 95 RON

    Now, if your at the pumps, While unleaded was selling for

    $1.22 litre, 95 RON was priced at $1.37 litre, on March 14th 09, thats 15 cents more per litre, now diesel is cheaper than unleaded, so the world has turned once again to diesel, Bring on the Forester Diesel and watch sales sky-rocket.

  • Cacatous

    When is the diesel Forrester getting to Australia? I hope they don’t charge a ridiculous premium for it.

    Apparently it’s a gem of an engine.

  • Clever1

    … choices, choices; the Mrs and I went shopping for a new vehicle (originally a sedan i.e. Liberty 3ltr V6, or B<X 3 series) to be disappointed on a couple of fronts, whilst waiting for a salesmen we had a quick look at a compact SUV, our journey resulted us in narrowing down the search to the following:
    – Subaru Forester XT Premium, size adequate for a growing family, sufficent grunt with the Turbo, interior finishes OK (would prefer increased quality), exterior finish acceptable though not what I would call sexy. Subaru realiability adds confidence. Blue tooth would be handy, though readily available in the aftermarket.
    – Land Rover Freelander 2, this car stands out as a true 4WD with an improved build qualty and finishes all round, boot space appears smaller than the Forester though with the floor child seat restraints this could prove a good move, against is the higher cost for the HSE (TD)of $65k on road or the SE (Petrol)$62k on road, both nice plus sunroom, sat nav (aftermarket and bluetooth), $1,800 for metallic paint is a rip off with white being the only non metallic colour. A few nice gadgets. Question mark over realiability?
    – VW Tiguan, researched this tonight, looks quite stylish from the outside, though by all accounts rear passengers and boot space may be a cosy.

    I welcome others thoughts.


  • aus_tig

    The Tiguan is an incredible car! there is no comparison for it. Whereas the BMW X3 is not upto the mark, in my pov. The tig is a very high quality vehicle. Subaru? don’t even think about comparing it with the tig. I am amazed by the way the tig drives. I dont see a problem with the boot space either. Tig is a very hi-tech car. I got a 125 TSI, auto, comfort pack and pirellis (comes standard).

  • mum deb

    Whilst I have spent last few months reading reviews and test driving a number of Suvs, I am still confused as to what to buy,loved the drive on the VW Tiguan,but am concerned that my 4 kids may quickly out grow it.Although one heads of to Uni next year, I am not wanting a 7 seater and prefer a diesal. I drive mainly soft road and local driving. I havent driven the forester but loved my Liberty 10 years ago. Any suggestions??

  • Smokey

    Done 9,000kms in my Tiguan. Average consumption 7.1 l/100kms. The park assist is magic and use it everytime. The full length sunroof is nice to have but wouldnt bother with the New York mags again- prefering the higher profile tyres. The car is bulletproof, not one complaint.

  • Andrew

    Hi All,

    I don’t have to test drive the Tiguan to know that it’s likely to be the nicer car to drive. I own a VW Golf but I’m unlikely to buy a new Tuguan due to price, plus I’ve decided to keep the cost under $30k so we are looking at a 2 year old car (current model) with under 30,000kms. That said, the hatch in my Golf is roughly the same size as the Tiguan, so it wouldn’t be the car I’d purchase if I needed more boot space than the Golf, which makes it more of a fun choice than a practical one in my opinion.
    I’m actually leaning towards the Honda CR-V despite some of the comments here re the looks. I’m not in love with it (the front that is) but I don’t mind it and the rear is nice enough. The luggage space is great (larger than the Mazda CX-7 which is also on our short list) and it drives well. It doesn’t have the Mazda’s performance, but it doesn’t have the mazda’s fuel consumption either. That said, the new CX-7 due out in October would be worth a consideration for those buying new and are happy with the performance like the CR-V or Foreter as they will have the 2.5 litre from the mazda 6 slotted in to a price point. The reason I haven’t gove the Forester is 2 fold. 1. The current car has not dropped into my price point. 2. I personally preferred the feel of the CR-V when talking about the overall drive, quality of interior and luggage space.
    I’m sure the patrol would be another good option but my wife isn’t a fan of the styling. Guess if we all liked the same thing, we would all be driving the same boring cars!!! Got to love choice……..

  • Alanna

    We were in the market for an SUV, and were set on getting a Tiguan, having read the great reviews and seen them on the road. We were ready to spend the dollars, and buy a car. We don’t know much about cars, are terrible at negotiating, so we would have been easy to sell to! However we found the VW dealership service in Brookvale to be atrocious. They gave us the keys, didn’t bother to talk us through the car features, and sent us on our way for a test drive. When we returned, the sales guy had disappeared, and the manager grabbed the keys from us and asked what we wanted to do. We asked him if he could tell us more about the car, and he rolled his eyes and shoved us a price list and told us to go away and have a read….needless to say we were unimpressed.
    Sure, the VW is in demand, but they aren’t so fantastic that they can sell themselves – particularly at the price they are! We tried another VW dealership thinking it was just Brookvale, but they weren’t overly helpful either. Subaru in Petersham and Lindfield on the other hand were extremely helpful, and today we bought a Forester XS Premium. I must say, for $43K for 2010 model, we got roof racks, auto, leather, sun roof, rear sensors, dealer delivery, compared to the price VW quoted us($50) for the base model with just leather and no other extra’s …..combined with awful service, it was an easy decision. Also, I was rather disappointed by the VW’s interior compared to the Subaru’s after all the hype. I personally preferred the Subaru’s interior, boot space, and thoughtful features – I’m sure the Tiguan had it’s own features…if only a salesperson had bothered to point them out, but from where we were standing, the Subaru seem to be a much smoother drive, better turning circle, better interior, more space, more standard offerings – and all round much better value. We were already breathing a sigh of relief at the RRP (45K) just because of all the standard features included in the XS premium like the sunroof and leather seats….If you are in the market for a Tiguan, I urge you to try the Subaru or another SUV before you commit, as we were absolutely set on a Tiguan, but luckily ended up getting the tried and trusted Subaru.

    • Alex

      The Forester may be good value, but you’ll regret it when it comes time to sell it. Foresters lose value very quickly while Tiguans will be in high demand on the used market for a long time yet, not to mention the better engines that won’t sound as rattly as a Subaru one will in five years.
      I don’t know how you can think the Forester has a nicer interior. The design is so dated and the materials are cheap to say the least. The Tiguan may have a slightly plain interior, but it’s well laid out and very high quality.
      However, I don’t doubt what you wrote about dealers. It just depends on where you go. I went with a friend to order a Golf GTI in London a few years ago and I’ve also been to Solitaire Volkswagen in Adelaide when a friend was interested in the Tiguan and they were both brilliant dealers. Great service even before they knew we were any more than browsing and that’s what you want. I hate feeling like I’m making them go out of their way to do their job. It’s so hard to hand over so much money to horrid uninterested people, so I wouldn’t have either. I probably would have shopped around until I found a better Volkswagen dealer if I were you, but you seem happy with your Forester. Best wishes.

      • AW

        Foresters do not lose value quickly Alex, in fact, they hold their value better than some of the other vehicles in it’s class. I quote Glass’s guide here: “Compact SUV segment for Subaru, with Forester and Outback filling 9 of the top 10 spots at 12 months, 7 of the top 10 spots at, 24, 36, and 60 months and 6 of the top 10 spots at 48 months”. Pretty good resale in my books.

        While we are at it, how can you say a Subaru Engine sounds rattly in 5 years? I myself drive a 5 year old Forester, and it’s as good as it was the day I took delivery. The engine isn’t even rattly as you think they become. Or look at the Impreza I had before that, had that for 6 years, not rattly. Or the Leone I had for 11 years, that wasn’t rattly either. I bought an MY09 XS in April this year, and have been thoroughly impressed with it, and it is now parked alongside my 5 year old Forester. Congratulations to Alanna on the purchase of her new Forester.

        • Alanna

          I must say that even I (with my very limited car knowledge!) know that Foresters definitely are known to have excellent resale value, which is mentioned in a few of the car guides I have read. Also, it was pointed out that given the Tiguan is new to the market, it’s abit of an unknown quantity in terms of its resale value compared to the proven track record of the Forester….
          Also, as for the diesel Tiguan – if you like the sounds a truck makes when driving, then definitely go for the diesel option….

  • ?

    I had a test drive both Tiguan and a next generation Hyundai Tucson…Buy a Tucson..It is miles miles better than Tiguan in every aspects…Quieter, Smoother, Roomier, much cheaper, more reliable and provide longer warranty

  • chan

    the Tiguan is a clear winner, no need even to compare in details…

    better looking, Turbo high performance engine yet low on consumption, and don’t forget the 6 speed Tiptronic automanual transmission, which, till very lately, only 100k plus sport cars used to have and which is now STANDARD in ALL VW cars !

    but on the other hand, with the CR-V you get the “its gotta be reliable since it is a Honda” attitude with a cheap designed uncomfortable inside, a weak engine that cant even pull the heavy “mini van like” chassis of the CRV forward correctly and outdated features. if you’re fine with all that than it is the way to go 😉 it is clear that a featureless car has no features to worry about and thus, fewer trips to the garage 😉

    Honda and Toyota Tactics:
    1- wait till German and American car makers test a new feature for 5 years, include it as standard and claim ultimate reliability.
    2-downsize the engine till its only enough to move the car and claim ultimate gas savings.
    3-cut on all electronic features and claim ultimate cost reduction and less driver worries.

    its kind of funny actually, and whats funnier is that those tricks only work in the USA, they cant claim that even in Japan !

  • http://unknown grace

    we are thinking about purchasing the Tiguan, today we test drove the suberu forrester which is a nice practicle, sensible vehicle. However the Tiguan whilst a little small in boot space is by far an easier car to use and also looks better. I guess it is the typically european styling & quality finish that gives it the edge. My 2 children are also in favour of the Tiguan, However whilst my husband appreciates the vehicle he thinks it is a girls car! What do think?

    • VV

      Hi Grace,

      I ordered a Tiguan on Dec 09 and am awaiting an April 2010 delivery for it. I have got the Tiguan 147 with Leather and Sunroof for 49k drive away.
      I have a 2 year old and a dog and I chose this over the Subaru XT Premium (did not like interrior finish), Mazda CX-7 (brilliant car but fuel economy let it down), Toyota RAV4 ZR6 (nice engine, plain Jane interiors), Nissan Murano (good interiors, crap engine), Subaru Outback (engine did not have much guts).

      This was my appraisal and am sure others will have their own points of view. I would also imagine the Tiguan to have a very good resale vale in 3 years time when I plan to change vehicles.

  • VV

    Also to add the Toyota Kluger was an amazing SUV and I would have bought it but my wife refused to drive something that ‘big’.

  • Fin

    G’day all,
    In terms of room, I’m 6’6 and I spent a whole day driving to a dealer getting the front seat comfy (if at all possible) and then sat in the back. Tiguan won hands down against most competitors.

    as far as the 43 000+ price tag, if you’re willing to bargain over a few weeks, you can knock that down, I got sub 40 000 with a nice swag of extras. (towbar 4wd fogs comfort).

    Space saver sucks, but a $30 sheet of mdf, a few screws and you can make a cavity to fit a regular one-easy.

    I know that brand loyalty is a big thing, I myself was a toyota man till I sat in the tiguan. But I love the tig diesel and can’t wait for it to arrive-if only VW could get ahead of the orders….

  • mark

    I’ve read all the above comments and am amazed no one has even mentioned, let alone test driven the Renault koleos. It may not have the ultimate dynamics of a tiguan, but hey, it doesn’t have the cheap forrester interior, has a much better engine and drivetrain than the CRV honda, and is cheaper than the tiguan by a country mile. I’m not saying its perfect, but I’ll bet if you tried one, you would agree the smoothness and comfort of the Renault is better than all these. And it has some really nice unique touches in the cabin. And the price…….it can be found for $36990 DRIVEAWAY. Thats a little more than the Forrester but its infinitely nicer to drive with its CVT transmission (Forrester persists with ancient four speed, or otherwise manual with the heaviest clutch pedal this side of a truck!). Honda only has 5 speed, but that wheezy engine is no match for the refined Renault. I know….I’ve driven all three. I went straight to buy the Honda, but had all afternoon, so thought why not try the Renault and Forrester just for the fun. And just as well I did. Honda, Subaru, have brainwashed us all. No, the Renault was infinetely nicer to drive, and is the better deal all round, otherwise I wouldn’t be deciding to buy one!!

  • Mark

    Overpriced tiguan is still the clear winner! Test drove all three and vw puts out the cleanest sharpest quality ride.

  • Mark S

    I have to agree with the article decision too but my reasons are different for buying the Tiguan

    The Honda was excluded due to the lack of a diesel.
    The Subaru because it looks too agricultural and it can only tow 1200KG (at the time I was looking). the servicing costs are greater than the Tiguan.

    Captiva LX too large and expensive for such poor materials and build.

    IX35 has all the bells and whistles but a cheap plastic interior and visibility was woeful out the back. I felt like asking if the white cane came as an option. Braking was poor too.

    CX-7. My first choice looks great with good build quality, handles well but unless your family is under three feet tall, the back seat shouldn’t even be considered. Also, the visibility was a shocker.

    The Tiguan won for me because the rear seat is adjustable fore and aft and the seat back can be reclined. We have a tall grand parent to get in so the rear seat room was paramount. Visibility is good allround and it performs almost as well as the CX-7 with better fuel economy. Servicing intervals are at 15K and are considerably cheaper than subaru’s

    Also, I can’t tow a decent load (Boat) with either the CRV or the Subaru (Tiguan has a 2000Kg towing capacity.
    Finally, the Tiguan is small enough for daily use and boot space is not an issue as we have a top box for holidays.

  • don

    Those who bought the MY07-08 Honda CRV will find a real sting in the tail when they go to sell – thay are worth next to nothing on the used market – real lemon for resale. Well made but a crappy design

  • mike

    A woman choosed the Tiguan but a man will choose Forester. Thre are two diferent expectations. First you have to compare the expectation and then make the choice.


    What a poor comparison test this is. Choose the correct models to compare to start with. Like so many have said, you cannot stack a base model Forrester against a big Golf, sorry, Tiguan. Also, CR-V’s have to be approached backwards for those with stomach complaints, even then when the interior carpets are sighted all control is lost. Been living with Forrester XT for 5 Months now and only fault was fixed with proper size rear sway bar. Even at 50k drive away mine would still have been cheaper than a Tiguan of equivalent spec WHEN delivered in identical time ie 6 weeks. To get a cheap Tig you gotta wait… and wait… and then when you get it and pull up at an intersection, you go to accelerate, AND YOU STILL GOTTA WAIT. Whats with the delay. Then the turbo kicks in and you gotta back off. AND Forrester is the ONLY real AWD, not a Front drive with rears that turn when all hell brakes loose. Are Tig’s cheaper to service, go and ask someone who’s owned one for 2 years and prepare to be shocked(no such thing as fixed price servicing). Do the homework, do the math, made in Japan wins every time. (CR-V is from Thailand remember)

    • Benjie

      Hah. You got totally ripped.

      Have you seen the amount of plastic in a Forester? It’s atrocious!

      I’d rather wait for a Tiguan than be bored to death by an oversized Impreza.

      • Realist

        Benjie, did you read my post, I OWN ONE, so therefore i have seen the amount of plastic in it and it is exactly the same amount as EVERY OTHER CAR BEING MADE TODAY. And have you ever driven a turbo Impreza, bored is a word one that never comes into your head. Your an F-ing moron, go fetch.

  • brand-junkie

    Poeple go a bit crazy over brands…
    My wife and i drove the CRV, the Forester and the Tiguan. I liked the interior of the CRV. It was young and stylish. The front was a bit ugly, but could have looked aside if it werent for the gutless engine. Im a Honda man. Love Honda’s. But i just knew my wife would complain eventually about “the hills”. Just too sluggish.

    The forester has a great exterior i really like it. Interior isn’t very nice in my opinion. Handling was great. power was acceptable (not the premium version). It seems like the practical mans choice.

    The Tiguan was the winner (its for my wife). Servicing was quoted at 295, 440, 295, then 1100 per 4 year cycle, which i thought was pretty reasonable. The fuel efficency will pay for the servicing alone. The power and DSG transmission is excellent. Heaps of b@lls. The handling was on par with the subaru. The interior felt well made. Exterior is a bit so-so, but my wife likes it. its more expensive. But alteast i can load it up, have the air conditioner on, and still go up a hill at the same time.
    Good luck.

  • Brett

    I own a current model forester XT Premium and agree that Subaru are reliable and perform well ( previously owned a Outback 3.0 and a Leone). However I will not be going back to subaru for the following reasons.
    Lots of rattles – traction control unit behind dash. Sunroof which was reinstalled and still rattles. Cheap foam cut out for spare wheel sqeaks going over bumps which I had to fix with blue tack. Roof rack rattles. Factory fitted blue tooth did not work with my phone from new. New mobile did not also work. Dealer would not give me my money back and took a year and a half to fix with software upgrade which has to be reinstalled every time battery is discoected.
    Four speed gear box is reliable but pittiful. Economy is pretty bad. The plastic interior is cheap. The silver paint on the plastic comes off if it makes contact with a scent card.
    I have ordered a tiguan with leather tinting and comfort pack in diesel for 45k all up. It does not have sat nav or blue tooth or a sunroof. At least thats one thing that wont rattle. After market sat nav has blue tooth – i can upgrade it it costs a lot less. Tiguan also has features not available on the forester.

  • Greg

    Driven many VWs in my life. I now own a Honda and a Toyota, LOL Hallelujah. The problem with a car review is they only last a few days. Take those cars on a 20,000 km trek and I’ll tell you the results.

    1. VW will break down first. Guarenteed. Reason. Probably the cooling system. Next the dash will become a rattle trap and start falling apart. (I’m having a good chuckle about the weekend warrior bozos buying the amarok ute. ) VW’s all test well. They never last long.
    2. Next Subaru will fall to pieces or the driver will commit suicide. Really a very primitive cramped vehicle.
    3. Honda . Might need it’s wiper fluid reservoir filled up. PS It is quite capable off road. You just need to know how to do it.