One of the Better Options Available in the Compact Segment
There’s been an awful lot of “buzz” around Volkswagen and their electric vehicles lately. But, they’re far from done playing in the fossil-fueled playground just yet. In fact, there’s an updated Tiguan compact SUV hitting the streets right now!
Yes, the majority of the buzz surrounding the Volkswagen brand these days is all about their ID battery electrics like the ID.4 SUV and ID.Buzz minivan. But the internal-combustion Tiguan utility remains their best-seller, and it’s been freshened for 2022 to ensure it stays competitive in the increasingly popular compact SUV segment.
Not only does the Tiguan remain gasoline engine-powered, but it sticks with VW’s tried and true 2.0-liter I4 turbo, here outputting 184-horsepower and 221 lb-ft. of torque. Front-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission are standard; 4motion all-wheel drive remains an option. And if you don’t think you’ll ever USE AWD, there’s a bonus for you, as all front-wheel-drive Tiguan’s still come with a 3rd row for 7-passenger seating standard, something few even offer in the compact segment.
All of the hardware necessary to power the rear wheels, means all-wheel-drive Tiguans are strictly 5-passenger, but do come with a flexible 40/20/40 split/folding second row, and a great 37.6 cubic-ft. of cargo space, expanding to 73.4.
No surprise, the new elements for the exterior, follow the path blazed most recently by the Atlas SUV. They include a bolder face with sharper lines and wider grille. Full LED headlights are upgraded, and now standard on all Tiguans. Changes in back are limited to larger displaying of the Tiguan name below the VW logo; while all trims get freshened aluminum-alloy wheel designs. Always among the most conservatively styled, changes seem to add a little more youthfulness; yet easily keep it one of the classiest looking mainstream crossovers.
R-Line trim is now available at SE and SEL levels, and adds some nice aesthetic touches like illuminated grille highlights, puddle lights in the power-folding mirrors, and unique 20-inch alloy wheels.
Things look generally the same inside, but there are a whole lot more features now standard; including VW’s digital cockpit gauge display and even heated seats. SE trim and up get new touch sensitive climate controls, R-Lines have them added to the steering wheel as well. All Tiguans feature MIB touchscreen infotainment; base S comes with a 6.5-inch MIB2 unit; all other trims get an MIB3 8.0-inch display. Everything looks great, and more importantly, is highly functional. Though we wouldn’t complain if they added a few more physical buttons back into the mix.
As before, Tiguan owners can rock out to one of two available Fender Premium Audio systems through either 6 or 9 speakers. IQ.Drive driver assist technology is standard in all but the base model. So, we had no problem arriving safely at our Mason Dixon Dragway test site, where our all-wheel-drive tester got off the line fairly well. It’s no rocket, but it does have an almost hyper throttle response that gives you some initial urgency. But, there was never any big rush of turbo power from there. So, it took a lengthy 9.1–seconds to hit 60. Shifts from the 8-speed automatic are smooth and progressive; and helped improve things a bit for a ¼-mile time of 16.9–seconds at 83 miles-per-hour. That tells us there’s plenty of torque to get you up to speed and maneuver in and out of traffic with no problems.
With a strut-type front suspension and multi-link rear, no surprise the Tiguan is a more than capable handler. Despite the very light steering, and perhaps a little more body roll than we’d like, we could carry pretty decent speed through our cone course without upsetting anything. We also found a more substantial feel to it than the lightweight nature of many small crossovers.
Driving Mode Selection is also standard in all Tiguans; with Normal, Sport, Eco, and Individual choices. Throttle response and steering feel are the biggest changes we noticed shuffling through them.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an R-Line 4motion are 21-City, 28-Highway, and 24-Combined. We averaged a “right-on” 24.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular. That makes for an average Energy Impact Score; 12.4-barrels of yearly oil consumption; 6.1-tons of CO2 emissions.
Pricing starts at $27,685; with top SEL R-Line coming in at $38,515.
The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan’s ICE days may be numbered, but it remains one of the most fun small crossovers to drive. Thankfully, VW hasn’t abandoned it just yet, giving it updates that should keep it one of the best options available in the affordable compact utility segment.
Engine: 2.0L I4 Turbo
Torque: 221 lb-ft
0-60mph: 9.1 seconds
1/4 Mile: 16.9 seconds at 83 mph
EPA: 21 City / 28 Highway / 24 Combined
MW Fuel Economy: 24.4 mpg