I just sold my 2011 Tiguan SE and we liked it a lot. I had the ecu reprogrammed which made it really quick and the dct trans is a really good auto if you have to have one.
+'s Quick, relatively fun to drive at 7/10's
Awesome sunroof made it feel roomy and bright
Scheduled Maint. free for 36K
Good looking, but of course that is subjective
Good stock stereo, better than my 135 and the ipod controls and bluetooth worked well
-'s Poor gas mileage even before I did the ecu
Terrible AC even on max it barely cooled the interior and the vents don't fully articulate
(Where I live it gets really hot so it might not be an issue in other places)
Steering a little to light for my taste
Driving past 7/10's body roll and understeer very pronounced.
Like you I drove most in the segment before purchasing and the VW felt the most like a driver's car to me, but you mileage may vary. I also enjoyed the Subaru Forester XT and would have bought that save for the 4 speed auto and no free maint..
For me the CR-V is an ugly car, the back end reminds me of an Aztek. But of course that is only personal opinion. The Rav-4 felt dated and cheap on the inside and had lots of driveline noise when accelerating. I liked the interior of the KIA except for the space. The Escape wasn't out yet, but after reading all of the reviews I'd have to give that serious consideration.
What about a wagon? Jetta TDI is in that range and maybe the new X1.