VW Tiguan 5N, the official car of the european middle class soccer mom. VW Tiguan 5N, that cross-over that goes by the motto “in life it matters to look good rather than to be good”. VW Tiguan 5N, one of the most popular cars among women with above average financial status.

I don’t necesarilly have something against the VW Tiguan 5N. It was somewhat natural and expected that VW would enter the cross-over pie and demand a slice. Cars that are slightly taller, that have an off-road look, that offer a high driving position that puts you above the rest in traffic. Without off-road skills, built for comfort and urban life, it’s easy to see why the women preferred this sector over the proper-sized SUVs.

Much like how the Mercedes ML started the hysteria of SUVs, the Toyota Rav4 and Nissan Qashqai started the hysteria of the crossover. And VW has gotten relatively quickly on the bandwagon in any relevant sector. It’s just that VW has always been a slow, reluctant to new type of company, so the VW Tiguan 5N has suffered.

Why do people buy VW Tiguan 5N as if it’s made out of Tom Jones?

VW Tiguan 5N offers all the pluses of a cross-over (you can climb up on the curbs) but it comes with maintenance costs comparable to Golf V. In fact, VW Tiguan 5N is built on the platform of Golf V. This means that it has inherited both the reliability and serious issues on the Golf 5, and the 4×4 system it received is modest system that is capable of driving on snow, but that’s about it. However, I don’t think VW Tiguan 5N owners will go off-road too often. Or ever.

And so there it is – if the VW Touareg is too big and expensive (both for purchase and maintenance) for you, then a Tiguan is just as good for the urban environment, maybe even better thanks to its smaller size.

VW Tiguan 5N Engines


  • 1.4  TSI of 122 horsepower – Tiguan’s entry-level petrol engine and one of the first turbocharged petrol engines from the VW group. Serious issues with the timing chain tensioner, which breaks down and sends the chain flying directly into the engine with the same intensity with which 5 beers send you off to the beloved land of puke and dreams. The facelift version from 2013 instead came with timing belt and increased reliability. A decent engine that will move your ass  even when you are hiding behind a 50 cm thick fur coat and sunglasses the size of Yanet Garcia’s buttocks, which you have to wear indoors by default.
  • 1.4 TSI of 150 horsepower “Twincharger” – The same engine as above, only that it’s both supercharged and turbocharged. A problematic engine, preferably to be avoided because we are pretty much at the bottom of VW’s reliability barrel. In 2011 he received 10 more horses and lost some of it’s issues but it was far too late.
  • 2.0 TSI of 170, 200 and 210 horsepower – The timeless 2.0 TSI that chuggs down as much oil as it does petrol. In fact, it’s very sporty, except that the VW Tiguan 5N doesn’t make much sense unless you have a bizarre fetish to haggle with corners at 150 km/h in a Tiguan.


2.0 TDI of 110, 140, 170 and 177 horsepower – 2.0 TDI is for VW what the razor is for an emo. She knows she’s not feeling well at all and that her behaviour it’s distructive, but she still can’t live without her razor. Fortunately for the VW Tiguan 5N, the 2.0 TDI is borrowed from the Golf and has fewer issues. The 110 horsepower is reliable but on the slow side, and the others are only sensitive to the quality of diesel. If it receives diesel brought from a random barrel on the ship, the 2.0 TDI will be contaminated with soot and may endanger the entire route of the diesel, from the fuel tank to the common rail ramp. Also, the high pressure pump occasionally drops dead like punk music, especially in the 140 and 170 horsepower versions.

VW Tiguan 5N General Issues

  • As with any 2010’s VW, the DSG automagic units are in trouble. Even if we are talking about DSG6 or DSG7, you have to test the car in the cold and make sure that there are no issues with the box and that it shifts perfectly. Also, the Mechatronic unit on the DQ200 units drops a little more than my IQ when I look at Cardi B. Yes, the oil and microfilter must be changed every 60,000 km.
  • The Haldex system causes issues from time to time in the rare situation where someone even uses the 4×4 system, possibly to get over a puddle of water or some snow.
  • Another mention for the 4×4 Tiguan is in the tires section. The Haldex system requires 4 identical fitted tires, both in size and manufacturer. If you use another type of tire, the system will break down faster than a stomach that has received watermelon and beer.
  • The 2.0 TDI’s double mass flywheel and clutch are short-lived, and in extreme cases both break down simultaneously. EGR and DPF are also reported to not be so loyal for the 2.0 TDI, but these are specific issues for any modern diesel.
  • You’d think that the interior is of the German quality that everyone imagines, but it’s not. So get ready to buy trim pieces, duct tape and buttons from aliexpress.
  • Following the Dieselgate scandal, many cars were recalled for service and the Tiguan was sucked into the choir. Many 2.0 TDI owners have complained about these recalls and complain that the engines are now noisier, lazier and thirstier. It is important to do a test drive beforehand to decide if you like how this oil burner that sounds like gravel falling from a wheelbarrow moves.

VW Tiguan 5N Verdict

A car assembled in a hurry with parts collected from the VW parts bin can’t impress me. VW wanted to catch the train of cross-over cars and planned a car in 5 minutes. They were just lucky, because in 2010 Europeans began to perceive VW as a luxury brand, a brand that impresses your neighbors and co-workers.

Yes, I do have a problem with the cross-over segment, but with VW Tiguan 5N I have a special problem due to it’s multiple reliability issues. The Tiguan proves that people can sometimes put status above anything else and are willing to get over any issues as long as the brand is the right one.

What engine do I recommend for the Tiguan?

The Tiguan is foremost an urban car, a city car. Even if everyone throws themselves at the 2.0 TDI, a crossover is essentially a city car that has a few elements borrowed from an SUV. Even if we are talking about a raised ground clearance or a soft-roader system, a real cross-over comes with a small petrol engine and a manual gearbox. The Tiguan is not a highway car. That’s what you have Jetta, Passat or Touareg for. So my recommendation is the 1.4 TSI engine with timing belt, tied to a manual gearbox. All haters will now flame me.