2023 VW Tiguan vs. Subaru Forester

March 9th, 2023 by

When you’re looking for one of the top SUVs on the market, you may consider both the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Subaru Forester. The two SUVs both have a lot to offer, but the Tiguan can provide increased functionality and premium features that the Forester lacks. Explore this guide for a full comparison of the 2023 VW Tiguan and the 2023 Subaru Forester.


When it comes to price, you can’t beat either the Tiguan or the Forester. The 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan has a starting MSRP of $26,950. The base Tiguan comes loaded with features to meet the needs of many Orange County drivers, including heated front seats and blind-spot monitoring. Other Tiguan trims increase in price while gaining additional amenities to enhance your driving experience, with the top SEL R-Line trim getting a starting MSRP of $37,680.

Comparatively, the 2023 Subaru Forester has a starting MSRP of $26,395, nearly identical to the Tiguan. Like the Volkswagen SUV, the Forester comes in several trim levels, each increasing in price while adding features. The top-of-the-line Touring trim has a starting MSRP of $36,495.

Trim Levels

You can get the 2023 Tiguan in four trim levels: the S, SE, SE R-Line Black, and SEL R-Line. The first three trims in the lineup offer a third-row option for families who need more passenger space. You can also get those trims with either front- or all-wheel drive. The Tiguan SEL R-Line comes with standard all-wheel drive and seating for five passengers with split-folding second-row seats.

The 2023 Forester comes in six trims: the Base, Premium, Sport, Wilderness, Limited, and Touring. All-wheel drive comes standard across the Forester lineup. Unlike the Tiguan, the Forester offers no third-row seating and has a five-passenger capacity.

Engine Specs

You’ll enjoy taking the VW Tiguan out on the freeways in San Juan Capistrano, California. Every Tiguan comes powered by a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The engine pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission for smooth, controlled handling. Front-wheel drive comes standard, or you can opt for a Tiguan with Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, which transfers power between the front and rear wheels to provide increased traction and stability.

Like the Tiguan, the Forester comes with one engine option: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive. Overall, the Subaru Forester offers a comfortable ride but lacks the same pep and power as the VW Tiguan.

Towing Capacity

Both the VW Tiguan and the Subaru Forester offer the ability to tow or haul the essentials you plan to take with you. Each SUV has a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. The Subaru Forester does have one trim, the Wilderness, with a higher towing capacity of 3,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Exterior Design

When you drive the sporty VW Tiguan, you’ll definitely catch the eye of other drivers on the Orange County roadways. This sporty SUV has an elegant exterior, with modern lines and an athletic build. It rides on 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires. For even more style, opt for the Tiguan SE R-Line Black, which comes with a blacked-out front bumper and matching 19-inch alloy wheels, along with distinguishing exterior accents.

The Subaru Forester also has a stylish exterior with more rugged styling and sculpted curves. Steel 17-inch wheels come standard, paired with all-season tires. You can choose the Forester Sport for some fun exterior touches, including unique 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, and roof rack tie-down points.


In addition to its sophisticated exterior, the 2023 Tiguan offers a luxurious interior cabin with premium touches. Besides the base trim, every Tiguan comes with a power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar and dual-zone automatic climate control. Cloth seats come standard on the Tiguan S, while every other model offers V-Tex leatherette or premium leather upholstery to elevate your ride. Every Tiguan features heated front seats, and for maximum comfort, you can choose the Tiguan SEL R-Line for ventilated front seats, helping you stay cool in every California season.

The Subaru Forester also offers a comfortable cabin for your ride. Dual-zone automatic climate control comes standard on the Wilderness trim and above. Entry trims have cloth upholstery, while the Forester Wilderness comes with faux-leather upholstery. You’ll only get leather-trimmed seats in the two upper Forester trims. Similarly, heated front seats don’t come standard, but you can get this feature if you choose the Forester Premium or above.

Cargo Space

You’ll have plenty of cargo space, whether you choose the VW Tiguan or the Subaru Forester. In five-seat models, the Tiguan has a maximum cargo volume of 73.4 cubic feet with the rear seats flat. That’s more than enough room to pack the luggage, coolers, and other gear you may need for your next adventure.

The Forester Base will give you the most cargo space, offering up to 74.2 cubic feet of volume when you lower the rear seats. However, if you step up to another trim for additional features, you’ll sacrifice some room in the back. Every other Forester has a maximum cargo volume of 69.1 cubic feet.

Entertainment and Technology Features

On road trips, you’ll be glad you’re riding in a 2023 VW Tiguan. The SUV comes standard with state-of-the-art technology and entertainment features to make even the longest drives more bearable. The base Tiguan comes with a 6.5-inch touch screen, while all other models feature a larger 8-inch display. This system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, allowing you to connect your phone apps without a cord. Every Tiguan comes with two USB ports in the front seats so you can stay connected, and most models come with an additional port in the back.

In the Forester, a 6.5-inch touch screen comes standard, though upper trims feature a larger 8-inch display. The multimedia system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Like the Tiguan, the Forester comes with dual front USB ports, and some trims have dual ports in the rear seats, too.

Find a 2023 VW Tiguan in San Juan Capistrano, California

The Subaru Forester certainly offers some appeal, but it fails to measure up to the VW Tiguan in terms of performance, space, and technology. Plus, the Tiguan offers the additional functionality of a third row, making it an attractive choice for many Orange County families.

When you’re ready to test the VW Tiguan for yourself, visit us at Capistrano Volkswagen in San Juan Capistrano, California. With one of the largest selections of new Volkswagen models in Orange County, you’re sure to find exactly what you want. If you have questions about the VW Tiguan or another vehicle on our lot, contact us today.

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