2023 Volkswagen 2.0T SE R-Line Black
Class: Compact Crossover
Color: Opal White Pearl
Miles driven: 293
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A-|
|Power and Performance||C+|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||184-hp 2.0-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbocharged 4-cylinder|
|Drive Wheels||Front-wheel drive|
Observed fuel economy: 24.8 mpg
Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/30/26 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Snow Performance: N/A
Base price: $32,950 (not including $1295 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Special paint ($395)
Price as tested: $34,640
The great: Roomy and modern-looking cabin, sporty handling and refined ride quality
The good: R-Line Black trim serves up sporty and upscale character, better-than-average warranty
The not so good: Drivetrain disappoints with non-linear power delivery and occasionally harsh shifts at low speed
5 Cool Things About the 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line Black
The vast scale of the compact-crossover market in the U.S. makes it possible for even a relatively slow selling example of the type to do some serious volume here. Depending on how you count your crossovers, roughly 1.7 million small SUVs were sold in American last year. That’s a lot of crossovers.
And, of the 15 most-popular small crossovers, the Volkswagen Tiguan ranked 12th in total sales, placing somewhere between the Ford Escape and GMC Terrain in total U.S. volume. While that may sound a little grim, we’re still talking about almost 90,000 units, which is meaningful volume.
Consumer Guide recently spent a week with a 2023 Tiguan, and found ourselves scratching our collective heads wondering about why Americans haven’t warmed up to this sporty and tidy Germanic crossover.
While we have our complaints—throttle response at low speed is less than linear, and the engine isn’t especially refined—we found plenty to like about VW’s second-smallest crossover. (The subcompact Taos, new for the 2022 model year, is the smallest crossover in the VW lineup.)
Our impressions, shared below, are based on the 2023 Tiguan SE R-Line Black, which in terms of price and content falls above the entry-level S and midlevel SE, but below the well-equipped SEL R-Line in the Tiguan lineup. The SE R-Line Black is basically an SE equipped with sporty “Black” trim, including a unique grille and front fascia, black lower-body trim, special badges, and specific 19-inch black alloy wheels. At about $2700, the Black equipment group brings with it no meaningful comfort or safety content, but does class things up a bit. We’d argue that that stepping up to the black from the standard SE is worth the extra money, especially as it will likely have an impact on resale value.
Presented here are five cool things about the 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan in SE R-Line Black trim:
Modern and Airy Cabin
Volkswagen designer deserve a lot of credit for building a compact crossover the looks and feels wide open. There’s plenty of glass area, and outward visibility is excellent in every direction. Which brings us to our next point…
The Tiguan cabin is roomy, with plenty of adult space in the first two seating rows. Entering and exiting this compact VW is made easy thanks to large door openings and roomy rear-seat foot wells. Our Tiguan was not equipped with the available 3rd-row seat, but past experience suggests that it is best reserved for emergencies or the smallest of passengers.
Spirited Ride and Handling
While we’re not thrilled with the drivetrain, Tiguan boasts some athletic moves underway. Few crossovers at any price combine sporty steering/handling with premium-level ride comfort as well as this compact VW. Tiguan also settles in nicely on the highway, though road and wind noise levels are somewhat higher than in most vehicles in this class.
While Hyundai and Kia claim the compact-crossover warranty crown, boasting a standard, 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper plan, most other vehicles in the class are offered only with standard 3-year/36,000-mile basic coverage. Volkswagen splits the difference, with a 4-year/48,000-mile bumper-to-bumper plan. That extra coverage can be handy should some major system fail, and at resale time, when the extra coverage could appeal to a would-be buyer, and help close the deal.
At $34,640 all in, the Tiguan SE R-Line Black feels like a strong value. If you’re unmoved by the Black trim, you can save almost $3000 by stepping down to the standard SE. Note that our test car was not equipped with AWD. That popular-in-the-Snowbelt feature adds $1500 to the bottom line.
2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line Gallery
Click below for enlarged images.