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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Highlander are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Tiguan doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Highlander has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Tiguan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
To prevent power induced skids and loss of control on slick surfaces, the Toyota Highlander has standard full range traction control. The Tiguan’s traction control is for low speeds only. Low traction conditions at higher speeds are more dangerous, making the need for full range traction control important.
The Highlander’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Tiguan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Highlander and the Tiguan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Highlander 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Tiguan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Tiguan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Highlander’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Tiguan’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
There are over 89 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 27th.
The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 111 more horsepower (295 vs. 184) and 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 221) than the Tiguan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Tiguan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Highlander has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Tiguan FWD’s standard fuel tank (17.9 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Highlander has 2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Tiguan AWD’s standard fuel tank (17.9 vs. 15.9 gallons).
For better traction, the Highlander has larger tires than the Tiguan (235/65R18 vs. 215/65R17).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander L/LE/XLE has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Tiguan S/SE.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the Tiguan
(112.2 inches vs. 109.8 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander is 3.1 inches wider in the front and 3.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Tiguan.
For greater off-road capability the Highlander has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Tiguan (8 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the Highlander to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Tiguan can only carry up to 7.
The Highlander has 17.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Tiguan (141.3 vs. 123.9).
The Highlander has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front shoulder room,
.3 inches more rear headroom, 4.5 inches more rear legroom, 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.3 inches more third row headroom and 7.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the Tiguan.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander’s middle and third row seats recline. The Tiguan’s third row seats don’t recline.
The Highlander’s cargo area provides more volume than the Tiguan.
Behind Third Seat
16 cubic feet
12 cubic feet
Third Seat Folded
48.4 cubic feet
33 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
84.3 cubic feet
65.7 cubic feet
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Highlander. The Tiguan doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The Highlander’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Tiguan’s (5000 vs. 1500 pounds).
The Highlander has a much higher standard payload capacity than the Tiguan (1330 vs. 926 lbs.).
The Highlander has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the Tiguan (1330 vs. 1124 lbs.).
The Highlander Platinum has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Tiguan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
If the windows are left open on the Highlander the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Tiguan can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Highlander has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Tiguan only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
Both the Highlander and the Tiguan offer available heated front seats. The Highlander Platinum also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the Tiguan.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Highlander Limited/Platinum keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Tiguan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The Highlander has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium R-Line.
The Highlander Limited/Platinum has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Tiguan doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Toyota Highlander outsold the Volkswagen Tiguan by over two to one during the 2019 model year.
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