2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE R-Line Black Review: Did VW Knock This Refresh Out Of The Park, Or Does It Need More?

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan review
We had the old Volkswagen Tiguan alongside the new one — are Volkswagen’s recent changes enough? (Images: TFLcar)

Compared to the RAV4, CR-V and Rogue, the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE R-Line Black faces fierce competition.

The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE R-Line Black is basically a volume-selling SE with a snazzy trim package. It brings enough updates to excite VW fans, but it’s not an earth-shattering shift from the previous generation. In short, the new Tiguan is a compact crossover that appeals to enough consumers to gain ground, if not assert total dominance over its main rivals. It floats in the same waters as the hugely popular Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but it does not offer the array of powertrain/trim choices of the top two.

Still, the Tiguan is getting popular over the generations. Volkswagen sold over 100,000 examples in North America in 2020. That was one of the model’s best years, despite it being a COVID year.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan review

Pricing for the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is competitive, but I feel that the options are a bit steep. For instance, the $1,200 panoramic sunroof option, and $1,500 for VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. I think shaving off a few hundred bucks would make more buyers keen to check those options. Still, VW makes it easy to keep track of trim levels and what you get through each step. What’s more, the general prices across each trim level are in-step with the Japanese offerings.

Starting at $25,995 (before destination), the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan comes in four trim choices (S, SE, SE R-Line Black and SEL R-Line), an optional third row seat (FWD only) and AWD as on option on most models. AWD comes standard on the top-of-the-line ($36,595) SEL R-Line.

The Tiguan SE starts at $29,495, and this SE R-Line Black we tested comes in at $33,790.

Check out this video below for a full buyer’s guide of the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan:

Are the changes a hit or miss?

If you get the R-Line Black version of the SE, the already upgraded grille gets a more aggressive design. There are some changes to the lower rear fascia, including my beloved fake exhaust outlets. Yeah, those are totally fake. I’m not a fan.

The big story here is the car’s now-standard digital cockpit. This update gives everyone a configurable digital screen that replaces gages. You also get standard heated front seats, Volkswagen’s Car-Net app with Wi-Fi capability. Oh, and LED headlights are standard too. That’s an impressive list of standard equipment, if you ask me.

Performance and driving is the best compromise yet.

No, this is not a performance, economy, or serious off-road crossover. Against the RAV4, CR-V, Tucson, Escape, Rogue, Forester — there are no individual levels where the Tiguan flat-out knocks down the competition, save one: a third row. None of the current competition in this class has a third row. Sure, slightly larger crossovers do, but not in this small/compact class.

Honestly, compared to the rest, the Tiguan feels more like a small station wagon than an SUV. Despite its good-for-the-class cargo space, it doesn’t feel as big as many others. Yet, it rolls down the highway smoothly, and it’s great to drive around town. I feel the ride is almost as good as the Rogue — which is, in my experience, the smoothest in class.

Rear seat room is great, and the cabin is fairly well insulated. I think the front seat size is damn-near ideal for my oversized proportions. Very comfortably design.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes 184 horsepower and 221 lbs-feet of torque. It comes with an eight speed transmission, and I highly recommend the optional AWD system. The whole powertrain is a carryover from the previous model, which is to say its it’s just fine. Nothing special, but just fine. That kind of encapsulates the driving performance as a whole.

Even the efficiency is not too shabby, but not best-in-class. EPA numbers go from 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway with the FWD. It’s rated at 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway AWD. The AWD R-Line gets 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

Only a few dislikes

I feel like the touch-based climate controls are silly. Dials and switches are much better, and easier to modulate. The same goes for the touch controls on the steering wheel. Sure, there’s haptic feel to pushing steering wheel buttons, but it’s easy to trigger other controls when turning.

It would be nice to offer that tiny third row with AWD, packaging issues notwithstanding. I think it would be worth it to offer more traction with the additional seats. Also, the standard sound system is frustratingly bad, and there needs to be an option between the pricy Fender system and the basement setup.

Simply put: The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is solidly good at almost everything. It’s a great all-rounder, even if it doesn’t break the mold in any one particular area.