2019 Volkswagen Tiguan vs. 2019 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Autonomous Emergency Braking in the Tiguan as “Superior.” The 500X scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Tiguan has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 500X 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Tiguan (except S/SE) offers optional Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The 500X doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Tiguan’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The 500X doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

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 500X only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Tiguan and the 500X 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Volkswagen Tiguan weighs 472 to 553 pounds more than the Fiat 500X. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The Tiguan comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The 500X’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The Tiguan’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the 500X’s (10 vs. 5 years).

There are over 55 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Tiguan’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen Tiguan’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the 500X’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Tiguan’s reliability 34 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 118 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Engine

The Tiguan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (184 vs. 177) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 210) than the 500X’s 1.3 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Tiguan FWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (15.3 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Tiguan AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (15.9 vs. 12.7 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Tiguan higher (7 out of 10) than the Fiat 500X (3 to 7). This means the Tiguan produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 500X every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Tiguan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500X:

Tiguan

500X

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

10.95 inches

The Tiguan stops shorter than the 500X:

Tiguan

500X

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Tiguan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500X (255/45R19 vs. 215/60R17).

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 500X AWD Trekking/Trekking Plus’ optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line has standard 20-inch wheels. The 500X’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Tiguan’s wheelbase is 8.6 inches longer than on the 500X (109.8 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Tiguan is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the 500X.

The Tiguan SEL 4Motion® handles at .82 G’s, while the 500X Trekking pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Tiguan SEL 4Motion® executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the 500X Trekking (28.1 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Tiguan offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the 500X can only carry 5.

The Tiguan has 32.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500X (123.9 vs. 91.7).

The Tiguan has .5 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom and 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500X.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Tiguan’s middle row seats recline. The 500X’s rear seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the Tiguan is 2 inches lower than the 500X (17.4” vs. 19.4”). The Tiguan’s rear step up height is 2.1 inches lower than the 500X’s (17.5” vs. 19.6”).

Cargo Capacity

The Tiguan’s cargo area provides more volume than the 500X.

Tiguan

500X

Third Seat Folded

33 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

37.6 cubic feet

12.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.7 cubic feet

32.1 cubic feet

Max Cargo Volume

73.5 cubic feet

32.1 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Tiguan easier. The Tiguan’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.4 inches, while the 500X’s liftover is 31.4 inches.

The Tiguan’s cargo area is larger than the 500X’s in every dimension:

Tiguan

500X

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

17.2”/39.7”/74.5”

n.a./n/a

Max Width

55”

41.3”

Min Width

39.8”

37.8”

Height

33.5”

28.8”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Tiguan’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The 500X doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Tiguan SEL/SEL Premium has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Tiguan SEL Premium, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The 500X doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The Tiguan’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the 500X’s (1500 vs. 0 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The Tiguan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 500X uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When three different drivers share the Tiguan SEL Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The 500X doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Tiguan’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 500X’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

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 500X can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The 500X Trekking/Trekking Plus’ cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Tiguan SEL Premium’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

When the Tiguan SEL Premium is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The 500X’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Tiguan has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Tiguan has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

Model Availability

The Tiguan is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The 500X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

The Tiguan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Tiguan will retain 46.47% to 52.31% of its original price after five years, while the 500X only retains 35.57% to 36.62%.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Tiguan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 500X isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Tiguan second among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 500X isn’t in the top three.

The Volkswagen Tiguan outsold the Fiat 500X by almost 20 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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