2022 VW Tiguan 2.0 SE: Restyled to remain competitive
Volkswagen is engaged in a balancing act these days and the refreshed 2022 Tiguan is playing a critical role.
The German manufacturer has committed to an extensive line of all-electric vehicles to meet increasing consumer demand and ever-stricter government environmental regulations. But the company still needs to keep selling traditional gas-powered vehicles to those who want them now, especially crossover SUVs that are more popular than cars.
To accomplish that, Volkswagen has introduced three new traditional crossovers in recent years. They are the midsize three-row Atlas, the slightly shorter two-row Atlas Cross Sport, and the completely new subcompact Taos. And, in a clever move, the company has restyled its existing compact Tiguan to look more like the other three inside and out, even though the current generation was first introduced in 2016, a lifetime ago in today's fast-moving automotive world.
But the thing is, most buyers probably won't notice. Despite its age, the current version of the Tiguan has held up remarkably well. It still drives like a larger version of the company's sport Golf hatchback. All advanced technologies are available. And the styling tweaks help it look completely contemporary.
In fact, as of the spring of 2020, the Tiguan — which was first introduced in 2007 — was Volkswagen's best-selling vehicle. More than six million had been purchased worldwide, and it was the best selling SUV in Europe.
One reason is its wide range of models and affordability. The front-wheel-drive S version starts at around $28,000 with a standard third row of seats and a wealth of standard safety features. It is also available with IQ Drive, Volkswagen's collection of advanced driver assistance systems that was first introduced on the all-electric ID.4 and is standard on higher trim levels.
Other models inside the mid-range SE and two versions of the sporty R-Line, including the R-Line Black package. The companies 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is good option for the wet Pacific Northwest. Even fully-loaded versions with leather interiors and other options are under $40,000, which is good deal for a quality compact crossover SUV these days.
Regardless of model, the Tiguan is only available with one engine, the tried and true turbocharged 2.0-liter four that produces 184 horsepower and 221 foot-pounds of torque. Although that's not a lot of power these days, the eight-speed automatic transmission maximizes performance off the line and even freeway passing is never a problem. It includes Sport and manual shift modes for better performance.
My test version was a front-wheel-drive SE with dazzling Red Metallic paint and a black leatherette interior but no other options. Costing just over $31,000, I thought it might be a little spartan but couldn't actually find anything lacking during a week of driving. The basic design provides a lot of interior room and I appreciated the simple form-follows-function dash built around the reasonably-sized display.
Although the Tiguan isn't particularly fast, even in the Sport mode, it handles better than most affordable compact crossovers, which is to be expected of a German company. The ride is firm but not punishing, while the steering is precise enough to make cornering fun. There is plenty of room for three in the second row or seats and, while the third row is small, at least it is available and folds flat into the floor when not needed.
Volkswagen is expected to update the Tiguan again in 2023 rather than replace it with a completely new model. But there is no reason to wait if you're in the market for a well-designed compact crossover SUV that rewards the driver while delivering good value. The 2022 Tiguan is available at Volkswagen dealers now.
Volkswagen will be at the 2022 Portland International Auto Show from Feb. 24 to 27 at the Oregon Convention Center.
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 SE
Base price: $27,490 (S)
Price as tested: $29,495
Type: Compact crossover SUV
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (184 hp, 221 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with Sport and manual shift modes
EPA estimated mileage: 23/30
Overall length: 185.1 inches
Curb weight: 3,858 pounds
Final assembly: Puebla, Mexico
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