2022 Volkswagen Tiguan: First Drive Review

The Tiguan premiered in the U.S. more than 10 ten years ago when Volkswagen entered the compact crossover market for the first time. Although initial sales were slow, the small VW grew in popularity when the second generation arrived in 2016, and eventually the Tiguan blossomed into one of the brand’s best-selling models — in the U.S. and worldwide. With sights on continuing the upward sales trajectory, the German automaker introduces an updated 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan with fresh styling, new technology and advanced driver-assistance features.

Best Seller

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSportier Styling

“The 2022 Tiguan represents a strong refresh for one of our best-selling SUVs,” said Hein Schafer, senior vice president for product marketing and strategy at Volkswagen. “It boasts sportier exterior styling, attainable technology, and competitive driver assistance feature deployment,” Schafer noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Front End

The most obvious change for the 2022 Tiguan is a refreshed front-end treatment. A new grille flows cleanly into updated LED headlights that are now standard on all Tiguans, with the higher-level trims getting adaptive headlights and a stylish LED bar across the grille. This creates a sharp look similar to Tiguan’s larger siblings in the VW lineup. Bumpers have also been updated, and at the center of the grille sits Volkswagen’s new logo.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStrong Silhouette

Pronounced fender flares and a strong character line that runs from headlights to taillights give the Tiguan a bold look. The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan’s available black wheels and trim accents also add heft to the small crossover’s presence.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear View

In a style similar to other new Volkswagens such as the Taos and updated Arteon, the TIGUAN nameplate lettering is centrally located at the rear of the crossover below a large VW badge. All trim levels now have LED taillights as standard equipment. And in keeping with a trend among new crossovers, the rear bumper of the Tiguan makes it appear as if the small crossover has a dual exhaust system; however this is simply for show — the actual outlet remains hidden.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup

The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is available in four trim levels: S, SE, SE R-Line Black and SEL R-Line. All variants have front-wheel drive except the SEL R-Line, which comes with 4Motion all-wheel drive as standard equipment. All-wheel drive is available on all other trims for an additional $1,500.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Tiguan S

The S stakes its claim as the entry point into the Tiguan lineup at a starting price of $25,995. A plentiful list of standard equipment includes cloth seats, an 8-inch digital cockpit driver display, keyless access with pushbutton start, heated front seats, two USB-C ports, 6-speaker audio system, 6.5-inch touchscreen display, seating for seven (front-wheel drive only) and 17-inch alloy wheels. Also standard are forward collision alert with autonomous emergency braking, a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Tiguan SE

At a base price of $29,495, the Tiguan SE upgrades the S with leatherette seating surfaces, a power driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control with a new Climatronic touch interface, four USB-C ports, wireless phone charging, an 8-inch center display with voice control, remote start, a power tailgate, silver roof rails and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Tiguan SE also gets Volkswagen’s IQ drive assistance suite that adds lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, travel assist and emergency assist.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Tiguan SE R-Line Black

Injecting a bit more style into the Tiguan lineup, the SE R-Line Black is priced at $32,295. To differentiate the car from the standard SE, the SE R-Line Black gets R-Line bumpers and side sills with black accents, chrome trim inside and out, black roof rails and 19-inch black alloy wheels. Inside, this special Tiguan features 15-color ambient lighting, a black headliner, a panoramic sunroof and an R-Line leather-wrapped sport steering wheel.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line

As the top Tiguan trim, the SEL R-Line is available exclusively with 4Motion all-wheel drive. Priced at $36,595, the SEL R-Line upgrades the SE R-Line with heated and ventilated leather-trimmed front seats, a power passenger seat, a 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro driver display, a heated steering wheel, a 480-watt Fender premium audio system and an overhead camera view. The SEL R-Line also gets 20-inch silver alloy wheels, an adaptive front lighting system, automatic high beams and an illuminated light bar that spans the front grille.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space

Volkswagen designers incorporated some appreciable updates inside the 2022 Tiguan — the most palpable being soft-touch climate controls to replace dials and physical buttons for a more high-tech vibe. Steering wheel controls get the same treatment for a cleaner style. Multiple USB ports as well as available wireless charging are welcome additional conveniences.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFront Seats

The seats of the 2022 Tiguan also received some designer attention, with noticeable styling updates in both cloth and leather trim. We spent a few hours behind the wheel of the new Tiguan on the outskirts of Detroit during a press drive, during which the seats offered commendable padding and support, making them a welcome location during long drives.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat

Rear-seat passengers will find the second row spacious with plenty of legroom — even the middle seat is a fine option. Higher-level trims add USB ports as well as a panoramic sunroof, further improving the space for those who didn’t call shotgun.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceThird Row

Volkswagen offers the Tiguan with a third row of seats on front-drive variants; however, the space is very tight for adults — in fact, most will find it difficult to get into the rearmost row. That said, the location will function adequately for children. The second-row seats slide forward or aft to provide additional leg space for passengers relegated to the third row.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space

Although Tiguan may be on the small side, the cargo space behind the second row is surprisingly expansive. With room for luggage, groceries or whatever might need to be carried, the cargo area further expands by dropping the second-row seatbacks, which fold flat. Cargo space can be a bit tight in the three-row configuration, although that last row can be easily folded as well.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood

The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan retains the previous model’s powertrain — a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque — the latter available at a low 1600 rpm to provide responsive performance. All trim levels are equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission that has been updated for the new model year so it delivers smoother shifts for a better ride.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel Efficient

According to the U.S. EPA, the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is rated at 23 mpg city / 30 mpg hwy / 26 mpg combined with front-wheel drive. Variants equipped with 4Motion AWD drop one mpg in all categories. The top-level SEL R-Line drops one more mile per gallon. During our drive in the AWD SEL we observed 23 mpg, so these numbers seem accurate.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road

In keeping with other VW’s we’ve recently tested, the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is an enjoyable experience. With good steering and a controlled demeanor, this small crossover gives drivers enough feedback to inspire confidence, even when pushed in corners on twisty roads. The Tiguan ride is quiet and solid — definitely a smart choice for a long road trip as well as everyday driving duties.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePower

Granted, the 4-cylinder 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan doesn’t have an abundance of power, although its low-end torque makes the crossover feel peppy as it quickly accelerates from a standstill. The transmission shifts smoothly and in Sport mode the revs are held higher for a bit better performance. However, there were a couple moments when we longed for a smidge more power when needing to quickly accelerate to highway speeds, but in most instances the Tiguan’s power is more than adequate.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?

The compact crossover market is one of the most competitive in America, with offerings from practically every automaker selling vehicles in this great nation. The updated 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan brings with it a fresh look clearly identifiable as Volkswagen, which will help this model stand out from the crowd. With a peppy engine, fun-to-drive characteristics, advanced safety technology and a roomy interior, the Tiguan is likely to continue its success as one of VW’s best-selling models in the world.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
Pros: Spacious interior; admirable handling; useful technology.
Cons: Cramped third row; noisy engine at high revs.
Bottom Line: Fresh styling, roomy interior and a blend of technology and utility make the Tiguan a worthy competitor in the compact crossover market.

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