Volkswagen Tiguan CUV Serves Up Affordable Comfort

Volkswagen’s best-seller boasts significant upgrades for 2022.

Gary Witzenburg, Correspondent

September 28, 2021

4 Min Read
VW Tiguan 21
Base Tiguan can be had for less than $30,000.

It was not long ago when Volkswagen offered just one crossover (car-based) CUV, the oddly named Tiguan, which was not a big seller partly because it was a bit too small for most North American tastes. Then came a somewhat larger second-generation Tiguan for 2017, followed by the much larger (and brilliantly named) three-row Atlas, and both have sold well.

The Tiguan, now VW's best-selling vehicle both here and worldwide, is joined by the compact 2022 Taos, giving VW a range of three CUV sizes and prices going forward.

So when it came time to refresh the midsize Tiguan for 2022, VW carefully improved what was already a big success by giving it a new front look, an upgraded interior and an array of new comfort, convenience and driver-assistance features – all while keeping it affordable.

Arriving now in VW showrooms, the ’22 Tiguan will be offered in four trim levels – S, SE, SE R-Line Black and SEL R-Line – all powered by VW’s 184-hp 2.0L TSI 4-cyl. through an 8-speed automatic and available (for $1,500) 4Motion all-wheel drive. To provide (mostly) sufficient performance, this willing engine delivers 221 lb.-ft. (300 Nm) of torque from just 1,900 rpm.

The new front end boasts a hefty new grille over a new-design bumper flanked by standard LED headlights and daytime running lights.

The unchanged profile is dominated by a strong character line running from the front fender to the standard LED taillights, and newly centered Tiguan lettering on the rear matches Volkswagen’s current family styling.

Every trim level rolls on 17-in. to 20-in. new-design alloy wheels, and the top two (R-Line) trims offer sportier-looking bumpers, side sills and other distinctive touches.

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Inside, the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster (pictured, above) now comes standard with an 8-in. (20-cm) display, while a 10-in. (25-cm) Digital Cockpit Pro and Volkswagen Car-Net with in-car Wi-Fi capability are available, the latter requiring a data plan subscription.

VW’s MIB3 infotainment system, along with wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices, is standard on the SE and above.

Heated front seats are now standard, with heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats available. SE and above models offer next-generation Climatronic-touch climate control and a power tailgate, while R-Line models get a leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch islands and sliders.

The interior (pictured, below) also offers available leatherette or leather upholstery, power driver and passenger seats, a panoramic sunroof, Fender Premium Audio and 15-color ambient lighting.

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Standard on all but the base S model, the IQ.DRIVE driver-assistance suite includes front assist (forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring), active side assist (blindspot monitor), rear traffic alert, lane assist (lane keeping system), adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, Travel Assist (semi-automated driving assistance), and Emergency Assist (semi-automated vehicle assistance in a medical emergency).

Base S-model Tiguans come standard with front assist, side assist and rear traffic alert and offer the IQ.DRIVE package as an $895 option.

We hustled a Tiguan SEL R-Line 4Motion through a 36-mile (58-km) test drive near Chelsea, MI, and found its dynamics (steering, handling, braking) outstanding, which is not surprising for a well-developed VW.

Our only complaint was that it seemed a bit underpowered at times, especially when kicking it down a couple gears to pass slower cars on two-lane roads. Its 184-hp turbo 4-cyl. is plenty lively in a smaller Golf weighing about 3,000 lbs. (1,360 kg), but less so in this larger, 3,800-plus-lb. (1,725-kg) Tiguan SEL R-Line AWD even with just one aboard.

We found the driver’s seat comfortable and supportive and were pleasantly surprised by its ample second-row legroom even with the driver’s bucket adjusted well back.

On the other hand, the third row (standard with front-wheel drive, not available with all-wheel drive) is pretty much kids-only.

The new driver displays and touchscreen infotainment system, nicely supplemented by hard buttons and volume and tuning knobs, are attractive and easy to use, as were the climate controls below it and the handy steering wheel spoke-mounted controls. No complaints there.

The ’22 Tiguan starts at $27,495 (plus $1,195 destination) for the base S and climbs to $36,595 plus destination for the SEL R-Line.

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