2022 Volkswagen Tiguan: Steady as She Goes

Published on November 12, 2021 in First Drives by Louis-Philippe Dubé

The Volkswagen Tiguan is the automaker's top-selling ride, but it still lags behind segment leaders like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. For 2022, the German brand has given it some slight changes, without going into extravagance and spoiling an already profitable recipe. Technologies, materials and textures have been updated inside. All-wheel drive is now standard on all models as is the heated steering wheel.

The Car Guide travelled to Ontario's Niagara-on-the-Lake region see how the Tiguan looks and feels with these changes.

Same Heart, Improved Beat

Mechanically, the Tiguan retains its one and only available life organ; the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 184 horsepower. It's not much in terms of cavalry, but the 221 lb-ft of torque that saves the day and makes the Tiguan a good urban SUV.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Volkswagen also claims it has conducted calibration improvements to provide power delivery in a more linear fashion.

On the road, the Tiguan deploys ever so convincing accelerations thanks to this torque reserve. However, steam can run out at high speed compared to higher-powered models in the segment. But for drivers who don't plan on cruising the freeway at full speed, this powertrain offers plenty to make the daily commute.

The Tiguan’s steering still suffers from lightness, especially in the first angles. It does have a slight impact on precision in certain situations. The experience at the wheel could be improved, especially for an SUV which describes itself as sportier than its peers.

On the other hand, ride comfort is on point, with ability to adapt to various road imperfections, even in the R-Line variants which use larger 20-inch rims.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

It would appear that these wheels are dragging a certain amount of unsprung weight, however, as the manufacturer's spec sheets state that models equipped with this aesthetic addition display slightly increased fuel consumption, with a marginally higher rating of 0.4 L/100 km in the city and 0.3 L/100 km on the highway.

Style and Tech Updates, Third-row Option Remains

In terms of comfort in the cabin, the Tiguan aces it - the driver and passengers get proper, comfortable seating. While the interior finish of our Highline test vehicle is the best the Tiguan has to offer, entry-level variants offer a little less glitter in terms of finish. But the layout of the elements remains essentially the same.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Speaking of this layout, it's nice to see that the Tiguan still has some good old buttons in its dashboard, unlike other models in the manufacturer's catalogue and across the segment, which are gradually swapping manual controls for digital or capacitive-touch controls, the user-friendliness of which is often questionable.

Volkswagen’s new "Virtual Cockpit" instrument cluster is also featured. The company Fender is still in the game, offering on the higher variants a sound system capable of deafening the occupants on some models, including our test Highline variant.

The Tiguan now offers two R-Line packages. With the R-Line Black Edition, the manufacturer is following the trend – as you may have noticed, a growing number of compact SUVs offer packages that blacken the look.

If the technical bits under the hood of the Volkswagen Tiguan are not as diverse or powerful as those of some of its rivals, it hides a secret weapon in its cabin. With the option of a third row that adds a pair of seats in the cargo area, the Tiguan can accommodate up to seven passengers. Only the new Mitsubishi Outlander can do so in this category. Obviously, this third row is cramped, but it can still be used in if you’re in a pickle and don’t want to leave anybody on the sidewalk.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

In the end, the Volkswagen Tiguan gets a few new bells and whistles, without risking the proof of the pot. It offers a similar overall experience as the outgoing model. Its one and only engine, in a segment where the choices are multiplying with hybrid and powerful variants, is probably its biggest flaw. On the other hand, ride comfort, space and the possibility of a third row can be considered assets.

The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $32,995 and our tested Highline R-Line variant sits at the top of the lineup and is priced at $42,995.

Test drive report
Test model 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan
Trim level Highline
Price range $29,795 – $40,195
Price as tested 40 195 $
Warranty (basic) 4 years/80,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 11,0 / 8,6 / N/A L/100km
Options N/A
Competitive models Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Bronco Sport, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Compass, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4
Strong points
  • Exterior style on point
  • Spacious interior
  • Optional third row seating
Weak points
  • Only one powertrain option
  • Light-ish steering
Editor's rating
Fuel economy N/A Not evaluated.
Comfort 4.0/5 The Tiguan offer comfortable seating.
Performance 4.0/5 Great low-end torque.
Infotainment 4.0/5 Infotainment screen is clear and easy to use.
Driving 3.5/5 Comfortable, but not sporty.
Overall 3.5/5 The Tiguan has a few flaws here and there, but it is very practical overall.
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