We have written about VW vs Subaru comparisons before, such as VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent, but we haven’t written about the VW Tiguan vs Subaru Forester, until now. In this article, we will be going over the few similarities and many differences between both vehicles. We’ll cover topics such as size, performance, common problems, reliability, and more. Both the Volkswagen Tiguan and Subaru Forester are classified as compact crossover SUVs.
VW Tiguan vs Subaru Forester – The Basics
The Volkswagen Tiguan was first introduced in 2007 and is still in production today. Positioned between the Atlas Cross Sport and the new Taos, the Tiguan quickly became the best-selling Volkswagen vehicle worldwide. Since its inception, there have been two generations: the 5N and AD. The First Generation Tiguan was built on the Volkswagen Group’s PQ46 platform, while the Second Generation Tiguan is built on the MQB platform. The VW Tiguan happens to be the best-selling SUV in Europe.
The Subaru Forester was first introduced, a decade before the Tiguan, in 1997 and is still in production today. The forester is a station wagon Impreza essentially and shares the same platform. Since its inception, there have been 5 different generations: SF, SG, SH, SJ, and SK. For the 2022 model year, the Forester has 6 trims: Base Forester, Premium Forester, Sport Forester, Wilderness Forester, Limited Forester, and Touring Forester.
Volkswagen Tiguan Generation
Subaru Forester Generations
- SF Forester (1997-2002)
- SG Forester (2003-2007)
- SH Forester (2008-2012)
- SJ Forester (2013-2018)
- SK Forester (2019-Present)
VW Tiguan vs Subaru Forester Price
In this portion, we will be going over brand new 2022, as of this writing, model prices and used prices for the VW Tiguan and Subaru Forester.
New Volkswagen Tiguan Price
In this section, we will be covering the new 2022 Tiguan, as of this writing, model year prices. The Volkswagen Tiguan has 4 different trims: S, SE, SE R-Line, and SEL R-Line. The Tiguan S, or the base Tiguan, is $27,685, and offers a 4motion, AWD, upgrade that is $29,185. A Tiguan SE is $31,315 and also offers a 4motion, AWD, upgrade that is $32,815. A Tiguan SE R-Line is $34,145 and also offers a 4motion, AWD, upgrade that is $35,645. Finally, the Tiguan SEL R-Line comes standard with 4motion and is $38,515.
New Subaru Forester Price
In this section, we will be covering the new Subaru Forester 2022 prices. There is only one engine option available in the current Forester and it is a 2.5L boxer engine. As mentioned above, there are 6 different trims we will be covering: Base Forester, Premium Forester, Sport Forester, Wilderness Forester, Limited Forester, and Touring Forester. The base Forester starts at $25,895, the Premium Forester starts at $28,895, the Sport Forester starts at $30,465, the Wilderness Forester starts at $33,520, the Limited Forester starts at $32,575, and, lastly, the Touring Forester starts at $35,995. Unlike many other brands, including VW, all trims come standard with AWD.
Used VW Tiguan & Subaru Forester Prices
When it comes to used VW Tiguans vs Subaru Foresters, since these are competing vehicles, new and used prices will be pretty similar. Also, since the Forester has been around a decade longer than the Tiguan, we will make sure to use similar model years for consistencies sake. A used Tiguans price ranges from $6,500 – $44,000* with an average price overall of $25,250, depending on model year and mileage. A used Foresters price ranges from $3,095 – $45,800* with an average price overall of $24,445, depending on model year and mileage. Based on this data, Subaru Foresters are generally cheaper on the new sales side and on the used side. So, is the Volkswagen Tiguan worth the extra money?
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are inflated, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
VW Tiguan & Subaru Forester Topics
VW Tiguan vs Subaru Forester Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan and the 2022 Subaru Forester.
VW Tiguan vs Subaru Forester
Surprisingly, the Tiguan is larger in most of the dimension specs, excluding wheelbase. Some specs that stood out to us were cargo space and seating capacity. The Subaru Forester, only being a two-row SUV, may have more initial cargo space, but doesn’t have more than the Tiguan. The Tiguan gets 12.0ft³ with all the seats up, 65.3ft³ with the third row down, and 73.4ft³ in the 5-seater Tiguan with the back row folded down. Yes, the Tiguan comes with a 5-seater or 7-seater option. But the Forester can only seat up to 5 passengers.
VW Tiguan vs Subaru Forester Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 VW Tiguan and 2022 Subaru Forester factory performance specs.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
VW Tiguan Performance
The Tiguan only has one engine option: a 2.0T TSI. This engine puts out 184hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. It offers an upgraded option for VW’s AWD 4motion technology and it features an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission. Gas mileage differs based on which drivetrain is chosen. The FWD 2.0T TSI engine gets 23mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 26 with a 15.3gal fuel tank. While the 4motion 2.0T TSI engine gets 22mpg in the city and 29mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 25 with a 15.3gal fuel tank.
Subaru Forester Performance
The Forester only has one engine option for all trims: a 2.5L NA boxer engine. This naturally aspirated engine puts out 182hp and 176 lb-ft of torque and comes standard with AWD. Depending on the trim, it features a Lineartronic CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission with adaptive control, Lineartronic CVT with adaptive control and 7-speed manual, or Lineartronic CVT with adaptive control and 8-speed manual. For gas mileage, one trim differs from the others: a Wilderness Forester. So a Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring get 26mpg in the city and 33mpg on the highway for a combined 29mpg with a 16.6gal fuel tank. And a Wilderness Forester gets 25mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway for a combined 237pg with a 16.6gal fuel tank.
VW Tiguan & Subaru Forester Reliability and Common Problems
Is the Volkswagen Tiguan reliable? Unfortunately, it isn’t the best when it comes to reliability. RepairPal rated it 3 out of 5 on its reliability rating. This is below the average 4 out of 5 for other CUVs and puts the Tiguan dead last (26 out of 26) for all CUVs in reliability. The average annual ownership cost for a VW Tiguan is $730, which is above the average $521 seen in other CUVs. However, even though the Tiguans reliability is in question, customer satisfaction must be super high considering Volkswagen has sold 6,000,000 units worldwide.
Common problems seen in Tiguans are premature ignition coil and spark plug failure, VW subframe clunk, clock spring failure, plastic intake manifold issues, premature timing chain tensioner failure, and water pump failure. For used Tiguans, try to avoid the 2009-2012 model years as these are viewed as the least reliable. If you plan on buying a brand new Tiguan, get the best warranty package offered. Tiguans can easily last over 150,000 miles if maintained properly. Below is a more in-depth guide on the VW Tiguan’s common problems and reliability.
The 7 Most Common Volkswagen Tiguan Problems
Is the Subaru Forester Reliable? Unlike the Tiguan, the Forester’s reliability is above average. RepairPal rated it a 3.5 out of 5, which is below the 4 out of 5 average for all compact CUVs. But, this places the Forester 21st out of 26 in this category, which is 5 spots above the Tiguan. Annual ownership costs for Forester’s are $632, which is below the Tiguan, but above the average annual ownership cost of $521 for other compact SUVs. Used model years we advise avoiding are 1998-1999, 2000-2001, 2003, 2010-2011, and 2014.
Since there are many Forester generations, we compiled common problems seen across most of them: faulty head gaskets, A/C failure, excessive oil consumption, defective O2 sensors, common oil leaks, and engine knocking. If maintained properly, Foresters can easily last up to 200,000 miles.
VW Tiguan vs Subaru Forester – Which is Better?
The question everyone wants to know is, so which is better? We feel this is rather subjective because we know many consumers have different vehicle needs and lifestyles. So a matter of telling everyone which vehicle is best for everyone is just not realistic. We will provide our personal opinion and then provide facts for others to determine which vehicle suit their needs best. We would go with the Volkswagen Tiguan for a number of reasons: it can seat up to 7 passengers, has a more powerful engine, looks nicer, and is more spacious. However, the Subaru Forester provides an interesting argument: it gets better gas mileage, is more reliable, and is cheaper. Both have 5-star safety ratings and similar tech and safety features.
If you still happen to not have a decision, we always advise getting first-hand experience. So, schedule a test drive with your local VW and Subaru dealership to get behind the wheel. This is the best research you can possibly get when it comes to purchasing a vehicle.
VW Tiguan vs Subaru Forester Conclusion
To wrap up this article, we hope the information provided above assists anyone on the fence with either vehicle. We understand that purchasing any vehicle can be a daunting task, so we want to make sure we can help with any reader’s research. To summarize, the Tiguan has a more powerful engine, looks sleeker, is larger, and can seat up to 7 passengers. The forester is more reliable, gets better gas mileage, and is cheaper than the Tiguan. If you are a reader that has first-hand experience with either vehicle, please let us know your experience in the comments below. This will not only help with our research but will also assist future readers with their decisions.
If you happen to still be on the fence about a Volkswagen Tiguan, here is another comparison article with a different brand. VW Tiguan vs Honda CR-V.
Hi i really appreciate this run down. I’ve had an 07 forester since 2013 and it’s easily the most useful and reliable car I’ve had. It didn’t excite then or now but it’s been competent and more than adequate. Surprisingly well balanced to drive. Id prefer a tiguan if someone else was paying, but they’re quite expensive to buy and own in Australia. Depreciation is steep too but perhaps that is due to local factors? VW doesn’t have the best reputation for customer service here. This was a well written, even handed article I thought. cheers John
I have been a proud Subaru owner since 2006. I am currently in my 4th Forester and could not be happier. I have had these vehicles in Alaska, Seattle and now the UK. I was comparing the Tiguan to the Forester when shopping for my car after relocating to the UK, as I also love VW. After all my research, Subaru just, hands down, gave me more bang for my buck. They standard AWD is the best on the market and their gas mileage is wonderful too. The handling is excellent and I happen to love the way they look. I know from experience…if you love and faithfully maintain your Subi with regular oil changes, tire rotation, etc….they will last well past 200,000 miles. As someone who has owned both VW and Subaru….I choose Subaru.
Please check your stats. The numbers for capacities in the table are quite different from what you have in the narrative. Which are correct?
Thank you for pointing that out. We have corrected it and both are now consistent!
My wife and I bought a
2019 Forster Touring and have been so pleased with it that we bought a second one that is a 2022. Since we live in the mountains where we have snowfalls we appreciate the all wheel drive. We also like the many safety features, comfort and the best visibility of any of the vehicles that we considered. Having these two vehicles fit our needs perfectly.