“Good Vibrations” 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

VW Tiguan

    I drove around in a VW Tiguan this last week and experienced some vibrations (more on that later), but overall found the vehicle to be very good, so therefore the Beach Boys megahit came to mind.  Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote it, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Good Vibrations” at number 6 on “The 500 Greatest Songs of all Time” list in their 2004 special issue.  That lofty perch is higher than any Beatles hit (“Hey Jude” is number 8,) and bandleader Wilson took seven months, four studios, and $50,000.00 to piece together the song for its late-1966 introduction.  Reportedly Wilson got the idea to write the song because his mother, Audree, taught him that dogs picked up “vibrations” from people, therefore choosing to bark at some, but not at others.

Is this article about a car, or about music?  It’s about a car; specifically the Volkswagen Tiguan (name = tiger + iguana.)  The unit came in Night Blue Metallic and featured a beige leather interior.  M.S.R.P. was $33,300.00, including freight, and the SE 4Motion (all-wheel drive) model came handsomely equipped.  The drive train consisted of a 200 hp, turbocharged, 4 cylinder, 2 liter engine with 207 lb. ft. of torque.  And behind it was a 6 speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic shifting and sport mode.  I mentioned vibrations earlier, and here’s the deal.  To enhance fuel economy, Volkswagen has elected to direct the transmission to move into the higher gears at lower rpm (perhaps 1,350.)  So in residential areas, for instance, the drive train tended to vibrate somewhat.  Stepping on the throttle quickly put the transmission in a lower gear, and off you would go.  I thought perhaps it was a dealer adjustment, but upon visiting the blogosphere, I found quite a bit of discussion about the tendency.  The car reminded me a little bit of a diesel city bus – they jump into their higher gear ratios the same way.  I’m writing quite a bit about this, so let’s move on.

Highway driving and manners of the Tiguan were par excellence, to be sure.  The interior had that Teutonic luxury look that you would have expected, and on hand were the navigation system, satellite radio, tilt/telescope, heated buckets, fold down rear seat, Bluetooth and media device interface, and a huge panoramic power sunroof that extended over the back seats.  It was a lot of fun around town, especially so if you employed the Tiptronic transmission.  And doing so involved a city fuel economy rating of 21 mpg (27 city).  I observed 23.5 during my week with the car, and it required premium unleaded gasoline.  Weight of the Tiguan was 3,434 lbs. and its wheelbase was 102.5”.  Styling was sleek and European, and the car rode on attractive, 18” alloy wheels.

I enjoyed the “good vibrations” of spending a week with the Tiguan, and if I was in the market for a small SUV such as this VW, Toyota’s RAV4, or Honda’s CRV, I would be taking a long look at the Volkswagen.