VW's Super-Popular Tiguan Is Fancier and More High-Tech for 2022
VW's most important car got a nip and tuck for 2022.
Volkswagen’s most important car is the Tiguan. It’s a crossover, and it now outsells the fabled Golf hatchback — not just in the U.S. but globally. VW refreshed it a bit for 2022. I spent a morning sampling both the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions on the curvy backroads northwest of Ann Arbor, MI.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2022 VW Tiguan.
The Tiguan is a compact crossover. The name comes from an amalgamation of Tiger and Iguana, which makes the car sound a bit zestier than it proves in practice. You can buy it as a spacious two-row or a not especially spacious three-row in FWD spec.
Car companies typically employ a broad definition of the term “new.” VW did not use that for the 2022 Tiguan, a clear acknowledgment this was more of a nip and tuck refresh than a full-scale overhaul; why mess with your most successful car? Changes for 2022 will be mostly superficial.
On the exterior, VW revised the front fascia with new LED lights. It gets some trendy TIGUAN badging below the VW logo on the trunk lid. There are two new color choices — Oryx White and Kings Red. VW also modernized the interior and tweaked the trim levels. And there’s more driver assistant tech on offer.
The Tiguan isn’t an enthusiast car. But it’s the car most people want. Crossovers now make up more than 70% of VW sales, and compact crossover is the most popular body style. With the Tiguan, VW focused on providing the features those buyers want, namely a premium, upscale feeling exterior and space throughout the cabin. It skews hard away from the funky, faux-rugged, aggressive styling of some of its competitors for a more urban vibe.
I’ve driven the Tiguan a couple of times before. With few mechanical changes, it’s pretty much the same as past versions — so it’s fine. The Tiguan is not as precise with the steering or light on its feet as a Golf. It can grow sluggish as you move higher up the gears. But it’s not completely lumbering and will serve most buyers with no plans to push their solid, practical family car well.
Pay the premium for the 4Motion AWD. It’s a good AWD system. You get a drive mode selector to tailor the driving experience more to your liking. And in the lower trims, it only costs one mpg combined — so 25 mpg instead of 26 mpg.
The primary Tiguan interior attribute is space — see the original ads of owners struggling to fill it. The two-row Tiguan has 101.1 cubic feet of passenger volume and up to 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Both numbers beat the Toyota RAV4.
Changes for 2022 upgrade the interior to feel as premium as the exterior. You get updated tech with a digital instrument cluster and touch-sensitive buttons — though it mercifully doesn’t go full ID.4 and eliminate the volume knobs. Top trims offer you real leather seats and a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The base model Tiguan S starts at $25,995 MSRP for FWD and $27,495 for AWD. You can add the IQ. Drive driver assistant tech suite for $895 on top of that; it comes standard on all other trims. The top-tier SEL R-Line trim now starts at $36,595, $2,500 less than the top-tier model did in 2021.
The main Tiguan alternatives are going to be the heavy sales hitters in the compact crossover segment like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue. VW says a lot of Tiguan buyers cross-shop with the Mazda CX-5, a similar sophisticated-feeling offering from a not quite premium brand.
Powertrain: Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four; 8-speed automatic, AWD
Torque: 221 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
Kelley Blue Book has revealed the best cars to buy awards for 2021. The results may surprise you.