Volkswagen’s Tiguan is a European take on an American classic—the SUV. It offers more athletic handling than many of its rivals, and its cabin has a restrained vibe with plenty of trendy technology features, earning it a spot on our Editors’ Choice list. While the Tiguan hasn’t proved to be particularly quick at our test track, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine performs dutifully, sounds refined, and will pass muster with most buyers. Although the Tiguan is sold in global markets, U.S. dealerships only peddle the long-wheelbase model, which means a third row of seats is available for those who need it. That kind of cabin flexibility is something that rivals such as the Honda CR-V, the Mazda CX-5, and the Toyota RAV4 don’t offer.
What’s New for 2022?
Volkswagen has given its compact SUV a handsome styling refresh for 2022 to help it look at home alongside the restyled Atlas and new Atlas Cross Sport mid-size SUVs. New LED headlamps, revised grille and bumpers, and new wheel designs give the 2022 Tiguan a more modern appearance. The Tiguan’s cabin receives updates as well, in the form of a new steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls. Heated seats and a digital gauge display are now standard across the lineup. All models except the base S also receive a new touch-sensitive climate control panel, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a semi-autonomous driving mode that VW calls Travel Assist. The Tiguan’s third row of seats will remain an option. Expect the 2022 Tiguan to appear in VW showrooms by the end of 2021.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Under the hood of every 2022 Tiguan is a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 184 horsepower; front-wheel drive is standard but Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is optional. This is a sporty, fun-to-drive SUV with a smooth, willing engine and a well-coordinated automatic transmission. Like most of its competitors it’s far from fast, but it makes up for that with a taut ride, athletic handling, and responsive steering with a whisper of sportiness that recalls VW’s well-respected GTI hot hatchback. The Tiguan’s brake-pedal action is soft and it doesn’t match up to the firm, progressive pedals we enjoy in other members of VW’s family tree. At our test track, the Tiguan delivered a rather languid 9.1-second zero-to-60-mph time. On the road, the Tiguan doesn’t feel as slow as its test results indicate, with enough low-end grunt to feel perky around town. Merging onto the highway may be the only time you’ll wish the Tiguan had a bit more power.