2019 Volkswagen Tiguan vs Subaru Forester

SAFETY 

The Tiguan has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Forester doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Tiguan SEL Premium has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Forester only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Tiguan and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Tiguan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Forester has not been tested, yet.

WARRANTY 

The Tiguan comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The Forester’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Tiguan’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Forester’s (10 vs. 5 years).

RELIABILITY 

The Volkswagen Tiguan’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Forester’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 24th in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 19th in reliability. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

ENGINE 

The Tiguan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (184 vs. 182) and 45 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

BRAKES AND STOPPING 

For better stopping power the Tiguan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:

Tiguan

Forester Base/Premium

Forester Sport/Limited/Touring

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

TIRES AND WHEELS 

For better traction, the Tiguan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forester (255/45R19 vs. 225/60R17).

The Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line has standard 20-inch wheels. The Forester’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

SUSPENSION AND HANDLING 

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Tiguan’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Forester (109.8 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

PASSENGER SPACE 

The Tiguan offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Forester can only carry 5.

The Tiguan has 12 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Forester (123.9 vs. 111.9).

CARGO CAPACITY 

The Tiguan’s cargo area provides more volume than the Forester.

Tiguan

Forester

Third Seat Removed

37.6 cubic feet

35.4 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Tiguan SEL Premium’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

ERGONOMICS 

The Tiguan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Forester’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Forester Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Forester can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Tiguan SEL Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Forester doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Tiguan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Forester and aren’t offered on the Forester Base.

MODEL AVAILABILITY 

The Tiguan is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

RECOMMENDATIONS 

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Tiguan, based on reliability, safety and performance.