The VW Tiguan has been a great success for VW in the highly competitive world of compact SUVs, lead by the biggest seller, the RAV4. In order to sell more Tiguans, VW had to offer even more so for 2022 heated seats are now standard across the range as well as the digital gauge cluster and LED headlights.
So far VWs keep it simple plan has worked, since 2018 when the Tiguan grew in size, they have shifted over 300,000 units. Playing it safe and offering more for less seems to have made sense.
My tester was a 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion, with an Atlantic Blue exterior a Storm Gray Vienna Leather interior, and a nice set of 20-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli Scorpion all-season tires. Pricing on this model is $36,595.
The refreshed exterior creates a much more cohesive and upscale look, the front now looks like its bigger sibling the Atlas and at the rear, the Tiguan badging has been placed in the center of the rear decklid just like the Atlas. It looks good.
There’s only one engine option in the Tiguan, an updated version of VW’s tried and trusted 2.0-liter turbo-four engine which delivers 184-hp and a more useful 221 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic. Since it weighs almost 3,900 lbs it’s not the quickest thing to wear a VW badge. 0-60 takes around 8.6 seconds.
Like many AWD crossovers, the front wheels are driven most of the time for fuel efficiency reasons, with the rears driven only when needed. The Tiguan is very car-like in its driving style, it handles reasonably adeptly, steers where you point it, and makes for a good family hauler.
The Tiguan has a fairly smooth ride and in Normal mode, the steering is light for easy maneuverability, however, in Sport mode, it gains some character and becomes quite good at taking corners faster than you really should, with almost no body roll.
In Sport mode, the steering adds some weight but not more responsiveness, which is expected, still it’s accurate for a vehicle of this type. Driven with verve Tiguan is a very tidy handler indeed, in fact, far better than I had expected. Handling and grip are well above average and it makes sense that in Europe they offer a hot Tiguan R with 315 horsepower.
The suspension is Germanically firm and the suspension does crash over poorly surfaced American roads, crashing into potholes and imperfections. Avoid those and the ride quality is good and the noise levels in the cabin are hushed.
We did venture off-road to test the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system on a tricky hill we would usually take more off-road-oriented vehicles such as the TRD Pro Tacoma or the Wrangler.
The 4motion system operates as a front-drive vehicle for most of the time, the rear axle is disconnected to help fuel economy. When needed, however, the system transfers power to the rear wheels if it senses slippage. The driver can select the off-road driving mode, and the center differential reconnects the rear axle for added traction.
Inside the Tiguan’s you can definitely feel it is more upscale than the Ford Escape or the Toyota RAV4. My range-topping SEL R-Line tester has plenty of soft plastics that have a sturdy rubberized feel, decent-quality leather, and everything is well built and solid.
The 8-inch infotainment system is slick and intuitive and and easy to use, however, VW has gone all capacitive on us for the heating and ventilation controls as well as the buttons on the steering wheel. They work but I’m not a huge fan, for example, with my hands on the wheel at a quarter to three I kept turning on the heated steering wheel, not really necessary in 80-degree weather.
The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit offering with its 12.3-in. configurable digital instrumentation display is excellent and easy to use, providing all the driver information needed. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is standard, and wireless so no need to plug in since there’s a wireless charger in the center console.
The Tiguan offers plenty of utility inside with four 4 cupholders in the front and two in the rear, 3 USB-C ports two 2 volt plugs, and a small cubby in the armrest. It’s all very well laid out.
You can get the Tiguan with three rows of seats but not in this top-spec one, the upside being you ger more cargo space. a healthy 37 ft³ with the seats up and 73.5 ft³ with the second row folded.
The Tiguan is roomy and comfortable and the price is very competitive with competitors in this segment. I like the simple design that VW presents, it’s not overly fussy like some interiors. From the outside, it’s a good-looking SUV, and can we have the Tiguan R, please?
2022 VW Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion numbers
BASE PRICE: $36,595
PRICE AS TESTED: $36,595
VEHICLE LAYOUT: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door SUV
ENGINE: Turbocharged and inter-cooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4
POWER: 184 hp @ 4,500 rpm
TORQUE: 221 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
0-60 MPH: 8.7 seconds
CURB WEIGHT: 3,856 lbs
CARGO VOLUME: 37 ft³, 73.5 ft³ with seat area
FUEL ECONOMY: 23/30/26 city/hwy/combined
OUR OBSERVED: 22.8 mpg
PROS: Very spacious, turbo 4 is zippy around town, nice interior
CONS: Sop/Start is too abrupt, irritating capacitive buttons on steering wheel