|✓ Solid styling||☓ Pokey acceleration and throttle response, especially at altitude|
|✓ Great handling||☓ Touch-sensitive controls (but that may change soon!)|
|✓ Spacious interior|
|✓ Approachable tech (It’s all there |
and fairly easy to use)
2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Overview: A perfectly agreeable, well-rounded crossover.
Like every other automaker in the game, Volkswagen’s Tiguan is the brand’s bestseller — and by a decent margin, at that. Compact crossovers are a ferociously competitive segment, and you have more choice shopping in this part of the market than you do for any other vehicle. Each option brings a different kind of vibe and style to the equation, whether it’s a distinctive look, driving dynamics or hybrid powertrains. So, what does the freshened Volkswagen Tiguan have going for it?
In a nutshell, this SUV — positioned above the Taos and below the larger Atlas — plays it right down the middle in pretty much every respect. The most recent facelift introduced a host of subtle changes, but the German automaker takes a notably conservative approach against some of its rivals.
Overall, the updated Volkswagen Tiguan looks broadly the same as its pre-facelift version.
VW incorporated some slight changes to the headlights and grille, while you get classier badging on the tailgate around back. You get standard LED headlights across the range as well as some new wheel options, while the R-Line package (on SE R-Line Black or SEL R-Line trims) adds in body-color lower cladding as well as sportier looking intakes along the front bumper and “R” badging inside and out. Oryx White and King’s Red are two new colors available on some models for the 2022 and 2023 model years. This SEL R-Line I tested is finished in Atlantic Blue Metallic.
Pricing for the Volkswagen Tiguan lineup, at present, starts around $28,245 for the base, front-wheel drive S model. Adding 4Motion all-wheel drive hikes the asking price by $1,500 except on the $38,975 SEL R-line, where it’s standard equipment.
Performance: Not class-leading, but the Tiguan is a surprisingly composed handler
Even with the recent facelift, the new Volkswagen Tiguan still packs a completely familiar powertrain and output. Volkswagen’s venerable EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 still puts out 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque in this application. It mates up to an 8-speed automatic transmission and offers a decidedly okay driving experience. It has decent mid-range punch, but it still struggles a bit at altitude. Mind you, I drove this back-to-back with the naturally aspirated Kia Sportage and… yeah, at least the turbo does help the Tiguan’s case a bit. It’s just a shame we don’t get a more potent option — especially the 315-horsepower Tiguan R available over in Europe.
At any rate, EPA figures suggest a rating of 21 City / 28 Highway / 24 Combined mpg for the all-wheel drive SEL R-Line. I hit right on 24-25 mpg, so you can expect the same in mixed driving. Front-wheel drive models gain a couple mpg, though the Tiguan is still not shockingly efficient in any guise. Again, it’s competitive and uncontroversial.
What did strike me driving the Volkswagen Tiguan, though, is just how well it handles. The Mazda CX-5 is a benchmark in that department, and VW’s offering hangs on in the corners just as well. The steering isn’t quite as pin-sharp, but it is responsive enough to instill confidence, as does the all-wheel drive system. Even packing large, 20-inch wheels, the more luxurious Tiguan feels solid and well-controlled ride too.
Tech features are plentiful, if plainly presented
There are some nice touches to the updated Tiguan, including the gear pattern illuminated atop the lever, contrast stitching and soft-touch surfaces and plenty of technological touches. All models get Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit as standard equipment, though the SEL R-Line model gets a larger 10.25-inch unit (rather than 8 inches).
It’s a similar story for the infotainment system, where you get a 6.5-inch screen on the base S and all other variants get a larger 8-inch unit, like what you see here. The display is sharp, and all your controls are functionally there, but VW’s MIB system is not the most intuitive to use, to say little of the capacitive buttons scattered around the screen — I’ll get to those. Hey, at least you still get physical volume and tuning knobs though, right?
On the whole, The Tiguan gives you most of what you’d expect in this class. Heated front seats come standard across the range, as does push-button start and second-row HVAC vents. Front-wheel drive models even get a third row, which may be useful if you’re willing to sacrifice AWD for it. SE and higher models get remote start, wireless charging and a power liftgate, while the top-end trim gets ventilated front seats, an integrated light bar in the grille, power folding mirrors, a Fender premium audio system and genuine leather seats, as opposed to cloth or leatherette on lower versions.
There’s one point of contention with the Tiguan’s interior, and this is where I come back around to the haptic feedback controls. The climate control buttons actually work well enough, but the steering wheel can be a bit frustrating. Actually, it can be downright annoying, especially if you swipe and press the media control “buttons” and skip two tracks ahead, like I did for example.
Fortunately, VW customers clamored about their frustrations to the point where VW may soon reverse course, giving us tried-and-true buttons on the steering wheel again. Hallelujah. Hey, at least you still get buttons on the center console.
One major positive point for the Volkswagen, however, is the sheer interior space.
You get 40.2 inches of legroom in the front and 38.7 inches in the back, with the latter being fairly generous in this class. Head room is also good even with the sunrooof, at 38.2 inches and 37.8 inches for the front and rear respectively. The two-row model’s cargo volume is also cavernous at 73.4 cubic feet with the second row folded. That’s not quite as much as the new Honda CR-V, but it’s certainly near the front of the pack.
What about the Tiguan’s safety kit?
Unless you buy the base Tiguan S, you’re pretty well catered toward for safety equipment. Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive package brings in frontal collision avoidance systems as well as active blind-spot monitoring, a rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and even emergency assist, allowing the car semi-autonomous control in the event of a medical incident. You can get these features on the S as part of a package, but it’s all standard on SE models and up.
Verdict: The updated Volkswagen Tiguan is the most well-rounded yet
At its core, VW’s compact crossover is perfectly satisfying to drive and to generally live with. It looks good, it feels secure, it’s comfortable, it’s spacious, you have as much tech as you need and it’s not eye-wateringly expensive. The base Tiguan S with the IQ.Drive package (the extra $895 isn’t a big ask for what you get) comes in at $29,140 including destination. Pricing tops out at $38,975 for the SEL R-Line I’m testing here, before you dive into any accessories.
You may get a more dynamic driving experience with the Mazda CX-5 or a bolder look with the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage, to say nothing of the vast number of other options. The Volkswagen Tiguan is just so well rounded, however, that it has a charm all its own.