The Roomy Volkswagen Tiguan Crossover

The Volkswagen Tiguan is practical and predictable.

Model Overview | Review (Highlights) | Specifications | Key Attributes

Volkswagen rolled out the current-generation Tiguan in 2018. This year, the model offers updated exterior styling, a refreshed interior, upgraded technologies, and expanded driver-assist features. It is a compact model, one of the largest in the segment, offering room for five or seven with the available third-row seat.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan front

Model Overview

The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is available in S ($26,490), SE ($30,120), SE R-Line Black ($32,950), and SEL R-Line ($37,320) equipment lines or grades. Add $1,295 for the destination charge.

The first three grades feature standard front-wheel drive with available all-wheel drive ($1,500 option). The SEL R-Line is all-wheel-drive only. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine works with an automatic transmission to route power to the wheels

Highlights of the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

Few models in this segment offer three rows of seating. The Tiguan is one of them. The caveat, though, is that the standard third row disappears when all-wheel drive is selected. In any case, the third-row area is extremely tight and best used for small children. In most cases, however, we see owners keeping the seat folded flat to enjoy sufficient cargo space.

Exterior Features

Volkswagen is renowned for timeless designs and incremental changes across all models, albeit somewhat bland at times. Despite this, the Volkswagen Tiguan manages to achieve at least a tiny bit of panache.

The latest model year features bolder features and straighter lines, making the humble Tiguan appear larger than it is. Even so, Volkswagen was quite frugal with definitive lines, employing them sparingly but with substantial effect, as can be seen around the door handles. It is a small and gentle giant if you will.

The front fascia received a myriad of updates, giving the Tiguan a broad and imposing stance. A bold new bumper inspired by the Volkswagen Atlas assists this look. The headlights also received an update, now working with LEDs, and they’re quite similar to those found on other Volkswagen products, such as the Volkswagen Golf. We find equating the Tiguan’s front end to the face of a bulldog to be quite fitting, due to the shape of the lower grille along with how low it hangs. It isn’t an unpleasant look in the slightest.

In the back, the taillights have also been refreshed with LEDs, but that’s as far as the changes go. We can certainly say that the Tiguan is handsome, though not awe-inspiring or jaw-droppingly beautiful.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan profile

Interior Features

Comfort is the name of the game here. The Volkswagen Tiguan is lush and spacious, allowing virtually everyone to be relaxed. Build quality is great, and the materials supply quality and storage capacity is impressive. If you need some cubby space, be it a wallet or a large thermos, you will most certainly find some space somewhere.

A bit of a sore spot that many can agree upon is the extended use of glossy black plastic. Overall, the use of it sparingly is adequate, but using the same kind of plastic for haptic feedback buttons is a peculiar design choice. Both the air conditioning and steering buttons are haptic-touch-only and use glossy black plastic. These are a magnet for fingerprints, dust, and grime.

The second row has vast amounts of space. You can reliably fit two adults in the back with no issues or concerns and you might even fit three with decent comfort levels. Moreover, the front-wheel drive Tiguan has a third row, which can prove to be incredibly handy.

When looking at the trunk, there’s enough room to fit almost anything. With all-wheel drive, there is 37.6 cubic feet of space, allowing you to fit multiple large suitcases, and up to 73.4 cubic feet of space with the seats folded down. On the other hand, there is just 12 cubic feet of cargo space with the front-wheel-drive model.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan interior

Tech Equipment

There are several technological marvels, such as the touchscreen, which is easy to use, responsive, and quite easy on the eyes. There’s Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink, and Bluetooth as wireless connectivity, and up to three USB-C ports for wired connectivity.

There’s a six-speaker as standard or a nine-speaker audio system as an option, the latter being a premium audio system designed by Fender. Seeing how this system uses superb speakers and a subwoofer, they also needed to fit in an amplifier, resulting in a pleasant but quite bass-heavy system.

As standard, you also receive a five-year plan for Volkswagen’s Car-Net feature, which allows you to monitor the car from a distance. Moreover, you can also start it from the app, and it offers a series of interesting information, like checking whether the car is locked or not.

Safety Equipment

The Volkswagen Tiguan has a plethora of safety systems, as is the norm on a majority of cars in its class and price tag; however, there are a few other systems unique to the Tiguan.

One such system is Volkswagen’s automatic post-collision braking system that applies the brakes to the maximum whenever the car detects a crash. The goal is to minimize damage in case of an accident with little response from the driver. Moreover, as soon as a disaster does occur, the car automatically opens all the doors, shuts off the fuel pump, and turns on the hazard lights to avoid any other secondary accidents.

Another neat safety system is that the Volkswagen Tiguan can check if the driver is asleep by performing regular checks, such as checking for steering input. If the driver is asleep, the Tiguan will start slowing down and pull over to avoid any disasters.

Engine, Transmission, and Drivetrain

There’s a singular engine choice that powers the Volkswagen Tiguan; a turbocharged 2.0L in-line four. It has an output of 184 horsepower and 221 pound-foot of torque. An 8-speed standard automatic transmission sends the engine’s power to the front wheels as standard.

There’s also the option of routing the power to all the wheels, and by doing so, along with the power increase, you’re gaining a few significant cubic feet of cargo space, but you’re losing the third seating row.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan engine

On the Road

Volkswagen attempted to find a middle ground with the Tiguan with its performance. Instead of supplying a lazy, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, the lone powerplant is turbocharged and delivers decent power throughout the drive experience. On the other hand, it lacks the kick of a high-end twin-turbo as found in the Ford Escape. Perhaps a better choice would have been a V6, but we understand VW needs to emphasize economy here, thus an inline-four with a single turbo is it.

The Tiguan’s engine offers satisfying step-off acceleration. Under hard throttle, a bit of hesitation is found, the result of just one turbo at work. This distinction becomes clear when passing as the Tiguan doesn’t offer ample grunt. This same engine, as offered in an Audi with a pair of turbos, is a beast. This one is tame and should be recognized accordingly.

We do credit the VW Tiguan with offering a comfortable ride and solid sightlines. Moreover, accurate steering, weighted handling, and firm brakes imbue confidence. We don’t hesitate to recommend the Tiguan unless you’re regularly carrying five people and need to tow. In that case, the Volkswagen Atlas Sport is a superior choice.

The available all-wheel-drive system doesn’t rise to the level of Audi’s Quattro, but it does send power to all four wheels in a split second. This means that whenever any slippage is detected, the 4MOTION system shuttles power rearward. Notably, this happens constantly, therefore the system is always active. With some competitors, the system only becomes active by pressing a button to allow the same. Or, it is less likely to kick in with such frequency.

Competitive Set

The compact crossover utility vehicle market is now the top segment in automotive sales, replacing the midsize sedan segment. This means every manufacturer has a stake and the top sellers include the usual suspects: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and the Nissan Rogue.

Other models in this segment include the Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, and the Mazda CX-5 and CX-50. But it doesn’t stop there as the GMC Terrain, Buick Envision, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sportage are among the others.

Volkswagen Tiguan Considerations

The VW Tiguan doesn’t shake the segment with its styling acumen. Nevertheless, it presents a solid offering amongst its peers. We like the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system and recommend it for anyone living where winter conditions prevail. It is also useful on slick roads, regardless of the ambient temperature.

The base model seems appealing for its price, but you can’t get the power liftgate until you choose the SEL. Nevertheless, the IQ.DRIVE Package ($895), is a relative bargain as it combines adaptive cruise control with lane assist. This bundle also includes an imitation leather-wrapped steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and an automatic-dimming rearview mirror.

Cristian Pușcașu contributed to this story.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan rear

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Specifications

Volkswagen 2022 Tiguan
Segment Compact Crossover
Price Range $26,490 to $37,320
Destination Charge $1,295
Standard Engine 2.0-liter, Turbo I4
Horsepower 184 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 221 lb.-ft. @ 1,900 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Seating 5 or 7
Curb Weight (pounds) 3,765 to 3,856
Wheelbase (inches) 109.9
Length (inches) 186.1
Width (inches) 72.4
Height (inches) 66.4/66.5
Headroom (f,r…inches) 39.6/39.1/33.8
Legroom (f,r…inches) 40.2/36.6/27.9
Shoulder room (f,r…inches) 57.0/55.9/47.6
Hip room (f,r…inches) 54.5/53.5/39.5
Storage (cubic feet) 12.0/33.0/65.3
Gross combined weight rating (pounds) 5,093/5,181
Towing (pounds) 1,500
Payload (pounds) 937/1,157
Fuel regular
Fuel Tank (gallons) 15.3
EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined) 23/30/26
Manufacturing Plant Puebla, Mexico

Specifications supplied by the manufacturer.

Addendum: Key Attributes of the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

Second-Generation Model

The VW Tiguan is a tale of two vehicles. On the one hand, the 2009 to 2017 first-generation model was the smallest in its class. That put the Tiguan at a distinct disadvantage as its rivals were larger, roomier, and better priced. This deficiency became more glaring as time went on. By 2014, the Tiguan seemed tiny when placed side by side with the competition.

Beginning in 2018, Volkswagen released the second-generation Tiguan. The new model throws off the size constraints of the previous generation, delivering what’s now one of the largest models in the segment. Further, it is one of the few SUVs in this segment with an available third row. That row, though, is mostly useless for most passengers, but it can hold a pair of pre-teens for short trips to the soccer field.

Middling Technology

Volkswagen does a decent job with all matters of technology. The digital dashboard is welcome and an eye-pleaser.

Apple CarPlay and Android smartphone integration are standard, but become wireless on the top trim. We like the latter because the mess of cords commonly found in today’s vehicles is annoying…if you even remember to bring one.

The weak area for the Tiguan has to do with USB ports. A pair of USB-C are found in the first row and one is in the second row. But third-row passengers are left without a connection. That’s one more reason not to sit back there.

Better Warranties

Volkswagen has adjusted its standard warranties in recent years. Following the diesel scandal of the 2010s, VW offered a six-year/70,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty until recently. That’s now four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Notably, that’s still longer than the industry average, so we’ll take it.

VW also offers complimentary maintenance for two years or 20,000 miles. Here, tire rotations and oil changes are covered. It’s a decent way for customers to address any recalls or service items that may arise. Lastly, roadside assistance is supplied for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Strong Crossover Lineup

You can’t or at least shouldn’t mention the Tiguan without ruminating over the other Volkswagen SUVs. Step back in time and VW didn’t have a single crossover in the mix. That changed when the Tiguan appeared. Until recently, VW relied largely on its Golf and Jetta cars to supply wagons. We like wagons, but customers were clamoring for crossovers.

In 2018, Volkswagen rolled out the midsize, three-row Atlas then followed by a two-row version of the Atlas Sport a few years later. They’re a robust 1-2 punch in the segment. The first choice offers excellent third-row seating. The second choice supplies ample cargo space.

In 2022, the VW Taos appeared. It is a subcompact model, but is slightly larger than the first-generation Tiguan. That underscores two matters: 1) crossovers are trending larger, and 2), Volkswagen isn’t about to be caught with a small crossover again. Across the model line, the company has succeeded.

See AlsoJoy Toy! 2022 Volkswagen Golf R.

Photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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