Video: The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Can Be A High-Tech Turbo Bargain! But Should You Get One Now?

The trim walk offers options up to about $40,000

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

This 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line has a lot of tech, some nice “racy-looking” additional bits and good utility, but is it right for you?

If you’re looking for a small crossover that can have a third row seat – with a hint of swagger, the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line may interest you. It comes with a fairly efficient 184 horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter, four cylinder engine. It makes 221 lbs-feet of torque, and it comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 2021 Tiguan comes in five trim levels beginning with the S, SE, SE R-Line Black, SEL and SEL Premium R-Line. I got to test out the SEL Primum R-Line with all-wheel drive (AWD). In some models, you can option AWD, and you can option the third-row seat. This tester came out to $40,290, which is pricy for this class. Keep in mind, the base model S has a starting MSRP of $25,245 – which is great. That base price Tiguan S also gives you standard three-row seating, which makes this little crossover an excellent small wagon choice for small families.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan review

But, is the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line the GTI of crossovers?

Nein, No,の, Lo, Nee, La, Nā, Non, Όχι… nope.

There are a few issues you need to reconcile if you were hoping that the “R-Line” gave the Tiguan extra performance. The engine, transmission and suspension are all the same as the regular Tiguan. Not only that, the Tiguan weighs around 3,800 pounds, depending on options/trim, and it’s not fast. Off the line, both the transmission and turbocharger seem to have a tiny delay. The transmission seems a bit slow on sifts too. This is no big deal for regular commuting, but if you’re in a hurry – it might.

Normally, the Tiguan rides well, but the huge 20-inch wheels on the R-Line seem to make the ride a little rougher. Not a lot of meat on those wheels, so there’s not a lot of give. Still, its overall driving characters are competitive with the new Mitsubishi Outlander.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
This is the VW Tiguan with a third-row seat. It offers some extra practicality, but that cuts both ways depending on what sort of passengers you’re looking to put in those seats.

Seating comfort and tech

The Fender stereo system, simple infotainment interface and standard safety gizmos are impressive. I was very fond of the digital instrumentation and overall ergonomics. It feels like it wants to be sporty.

Utility is good with the space-eating third-row seat, and excellent without it. If you must get the third-row, it will eat into cargo space, but it is useable with small people. Personally, if you stick with the five-person seating, you get a 73.5 ft³ cargo area. Otherwise, it drops about eight-cubic feet, with the third row.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

The sliding and reclining second row seats are very comfortable, even for a large ape like me. Front seat comfort is quite good too. The third row is split-folding, which helps with cargo management. If you have lots of small passengers, those sliding second -row seats make comfort more manageable.

The bottom line with this 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line is: It’s a good looking, utilitarian crossover that’s not as fast as it looks. And if you’re looking for some fresh styling, don’t worry — the next-generation model is near.

The Volkswagen Tiguan belongs to a rare breed of compact crossovers that also offer a third row of seats. Only the Kia Sorento, Mitsubishi Outlander and Dodge Journey can say the same. There’s a reason for that: Packing up to seven passengers in a small crossover is no easy feat. The VW Tiguan, though, provides impressive space — provided only children occupy the third row