By on September 9, 2021

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

Volkswagen is in the midst of remaking its SUV lineup.

Just in the past few years the company has added a five-seat version of the Atlas – the Atlas Cross Sport – as well as adding the Taos small SUV and the ID.4 EV. Now the venerable Tiguan, which was the veteran of the group, has gone under the knife.

The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan doesn’t change much. The exterior is reshaped, with the front end gaining a bit more resemblance to the other SUVs in the lineup and gaining standard LED lighting, an available light-up VW logo/light bar, and R-Line trims get different bumpers and body-color side sills. There are LED taillights out back, and the model-name logo gets re-centered under the VW logo.

There are also new wheel designs across the board.

(Full disclosure: I drove to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to drive the Tiguan and VW fed me and put me up in a nice hotel. If swag was offered, I didn’t see it.)

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

The biggest changes are on the inside. The Tiguan now has digital gauges standard. VW’s IQ.DRIVE driver-assist system is standard on all but base models. Heated front seats are now standard, and all but the base car get haptic touch controls for the HVAC, which is also available with voice commands. Haptic-touch controls on the steering wheel are also available.

Carrying over is the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that makes 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. You can choose all-wheel or front-wheel drive, and the transmission is an eight-speed automatic.

The suspension remains strut-type with lower control arms and coil springs, dampers, and an anti-roll bar up front and multilink with coil springs, dampers, and anti-roll bar in back.

On the road, the Tiguan drives mostly as it did before – quietly competent with a hint of sport. Not enough sport to make you think you’re driving a raised GTI, even in Sport mode (should your vehicle be equipped with the available drive modes), but enough to make gentle sweepers relatively fun. There’s just enough personality and engagement here that you’re reminded that crossovers don’t have to be boring, but it’s not as spicy as, say, a Hyundai Kona N or some other skunkworks project.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

In other words – if want a package that balances fun to drive with crossover utility, you could do much worse than Tiguan.

The ride was acceptable, though the roads we traversed were some of the few in Southeast Michigan that don’t seem too beat up. In fact, it was the exact same drive route, as far as I could tell, as VW used earlier this year when we sampled the Taos.

Most noise and harshness was well-filtered, with only minor vibrations piercing the cabin. At least when the radio was on – mute the volume and some tire noise pokes through.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

Like with most VWs, the steering felt a tad light and artificial yet still offered some sporty feedback when the car was pushed, especially in Sport mode.

That said, I didn’t push super hard – the roads we drove didn’t offer many challenging corners. In fact, I drove both AWD and FWD versions and didn’t notice a huge difference in ride or handling, but again, I didn’t push so hard as to even upset the chassis.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

Acceleration from the four-banger is fine – you’ll be happy enough in around-town driving.

I’ve always found the Tiguan to be pleasant, even mildly fun, to drive, and this doesn’t change with the new duds. If I was shopping in this class, I’d put it on the list because it’s just engaging enough to keep boredom at bay.

As for the new style, the Tiguan is handsome, if a tad bland, though it looks a bit less awkward than the previous generation vehicle.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

Inside, the cabin is familiar VW. All-black, function prioritized over form, with controls easy to reach and use. The digital gauges – 8-inch screen standard, 10-inch available – are easy to read and adjust, and I had no issues with the haptic-touch controls. Legroom and headroom were fine in both seating rows, though when attempting to access the third seating row, I nearly injured myself, much to the amusement of another journalist who was nearby. The third row, which is only available on FWD cars, is for kids only.

Three-row Tiguans offer 12 cubic feet of cargo space with the third row up, 33 with it down, and 65.3 with both rear rows down. All-wheel-drive Tiguans offer 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row up and 73.4 with it down.

Fuel economy is listed at 23/30/26 for FWD models and 22/29/25 for AWD, with R-Line AWD Tiguans hitting at 21/28/24.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

Volkswagen has simplified the trim walk. It’s now S, SE, SE R-Line Black, and SEL R-Line. Pricing starts at $25,995 for an S with FWD and $27,495 for a base car with AWD. D and d is listed at $1,195.

I drove two vehicles and did a ride-along in a base car. The two I drove were an SEL R-Line with all-wheel drive ($36,595) and an FWD SE R-Line Black ($32,295). The base car I rode shotgun was FWD and cost $26,890, including the IQ.DRIVE Package.

Depending on trim, IQ.DRIVE can include forward-collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, blind-spot monitor, rear-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, travel assist, and emergency assist.

Standard or available features also include keyless entry and starting, dual-zone climate control, cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, wireless phone charging, wireless connections for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, panoramic sunroof, capacitive-touch infotainment screen, navigation, satellite radio, a voice-command assistance system, and Fender audio.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

Wheel sizes are 17-, 18-, 19-, or 20-inches.

If you must tow with your Tiguan, you can haul up to 1,500 pounds.

The small crossover class is crowded, and the Tiguan faces tough competition. It’s not quite the all-around package offered by the Toyota RAV4 or the Honda CR-V or even Nissan’s newest Rogue, and it doesn’t offer the off-road ability of the Ford Bronco Sport or certain Jeep Cherokee trims. Nor does it feel quite as refined as the Hyundai Tucson. But it’s at least as fun to drive, if not more so, than Ford’s Escape – and the Escape-based Bronco Sport. Though perhaps not as fun as Mazda’s zoomy CX-5.

It’s more engaging than blandsville crossovers like the Chevy Equinox, and the digital tech looks impressive, even if I worry about post-warranty repair costs.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan/Tim Healey

If you care about your crossover being even remotely fun to drive and/or if digital tech looks cool to you, the refreshed Tiguan should be on your shopping list. It’s not a jack of all trades like the RAV4, but it doesn’t give up much in the way of utility in its pursuit of fun. Plus it offers a third row, which many in this class don’t.

That previous paragraph is pretty close to what I’d have said about the previous Tiguan, minus the digital tech stuff. The more things change, the more … well, you know.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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43 Comments on “2022 Volkswagen Tiguan First Drive – Changed, Yet the Same...”


  • avatar
    wjtinfwb

    I used to rag on VW’s and German cars in general for their reliability and electrical quirks. But as the owner of a new ’20 Acura MDX that has seen the shop twice in its first 6k miles for various electrical and computer issues, no makes are immune to these “glitches” Cars have become so complex, networked and dependent on all the electrons flowing in the right direction and playing nice with each other that every car is just a bad ground or loose solder joint on a board away from failure. The new tech is nice, but I’m hanging onto my old ’02 Super Duty truck just for its basic, all analog architecture.

    • 0 avatar
      BSttac

      Acura hasn’t been reliable for decades. I’m not sure why you are surprised by that unless you still think Honda makes cars like they did in the 90s

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      No one told you about the Honda quality crisis?

      “Hachigo told them the Japanese automaker was facing a crisis after a string of costly recalls and other quality blunders and it needed to plot a new course”

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-honda-quality-insight/hondas-hachigo-seizes-the-wheel-as-quality-crisis-hits-profits-idUSKBN1YD2DP

      In Honda’s case it’s not so much the tech as it is too many versions of each vehicle and too many models customized for various regional markets.

      “Honda’s problems stem largely from an aggressive expansion before Hachigo took over in 2015. In addition to so-called global models such as the Civic, Accord and CR-V sports-utility vehicle (SUV), Honda developed a host of regional models which now account for 40% of its global car sales.”

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    My old boss had one and the seats were seemingly made from leather covered slate. Are the new ones any better?

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      They were unremarkable during a short drive, so file that under “no news is good news”

    • 0 avatar
      JLGOLDEN

      I have looked at the current-gen Tiguan a couple of times, including last week – a 2022 model fresh off the truck. Beautiful car. Yet its hard/small front seats are just not built for me, and I’m only 5’6″. The leading edge of the short lower cushion digs into the back of my thighs and triggers discomfort, immediately (but not as bad as say, those in Chevy Colorado). Oddly, the seats in the smaller VW Taos feel great, but a fully loaded model is nowhere to be found. I ended up buying a 2021 Atlas Cross with its jumbo comfy lounger seats…and a V6.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Tim:

    Did the haptic controls work OK? I’ve read some nasty reviews of the ones on the new GTI.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      He mentioned up above that he had no trouble with them.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      I just has a 2021 Arteon as a loaner with the same climate control and steering wheel controls. The climate control was a pain, especially the slider. And it’s too easy to bump the steering wheel controls. The dash configuration changed many times by accident. I prefer the hard controls.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Yeah. They can cram the haptic HVAC controls in particular. It’s just a cost cut disguised as a techno advancement, and it’s inferior to mechanical controls in every way.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      They worked fine on the wheel. I didn’t use the HVAC much but they seemed fine there, too. I await a longer loan in which I will use them more.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        On my GLI with the “real” buttons, I can press anywhere on say the volume or track skip and it activates. With these haptic buttons at the bottom (volume and track seek), it was really picky about where you pushed. If you didn’t nail the sweet spot on the controls, it wasn’t going to work. On the other hand, the buttons to change the “view” of the digital dash, those seemed extra sensitive. If you rest your palm near them, you might have the dash change on you or have the steering wheel heat up. That being said, that’s one feature I do wish I had on my VW. I like the customization and it is very easy to read and easy on the eyes.

        They need to go back to their old climate controls pronto. Like the Civic volume slider from 4 years ago, anything sliding to control a function is just a royal pain while driving. It’s too distracting and cumbersome. I have a knob that controls the fan. Lights up in the middle with fan speed. Easy, simple, and doesn’t take my eyes off of the road. This was change for change’s sake.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Hey, look at that – an integrated display; it really can be done!

    VW/Audi: just enough nice features to lure you into their trap of owner sadness.

    I can’t wait for the present trend of black wheels to pass. IMO they make a vehicle look gloomy, or dirty, no matter what color the body is. I’ll even avoid the trim packages they are often tied to.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Acceleration from the four-banger is fine – you’ll be happy enough in around-town driving.”

    If you’re trading in a Subaru then I guess this is true. The 0-60 isn’t awful but the rolling times are pretty slow* and just get worse when loaded with passengers and optional wheels.

    * Yes, for the more aged among us, the Tiguan is faster than your Model A or diesel Chevette or Bluebird school bus or Granada Thriftmaster or Iron Duke Citation.

  • avatar
    AK

    I can’t fathom why anyone would spend $36k on this when a CX5 Carbon Edition Turbo can be had for $33k.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Given my very recent service experience with VW and the fact that it needs to go back yet again, just burn this car to the ground. Just kill it with fire. And walk away from the smoldering ashes.

    • 0 avatar
      Ah_non_e_mouse

      Better not take a chance – instead nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way :)

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        I want a mushroom cloud that large to take it out. I’ll sell tickets for the show – you’re invited.

        9,100 miles now and going back in early this week to redo the fix from last week that failed after a couple of minutes. This makes service trip #6. For very obvious reasons, I’m looking forward to next spring’s releases of the new Z, Integra, and Civic Si/Type-R. Hopefully car prices will resemble some kind of normal early next year, and hopefully this car stays together until then!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Changed, yet the same” describes all of these.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “D and d is listed at $1,195.”

    Wow “Dungeons and Dragons” used to standard, but now its an option?

  • avatar
    jmo

    I think the B&B base too much of their opinions on how reliable car brands were relative to each other 20 year ago. For example defects per 100 vehicles Honda 143, BMW 108, Mercedes 122, Audi 123. Honda’s quality problems have been well publicised, it’s time to update your priors. If you like the Tiguan don’t get the CRV thinking it’s going to be significantly more reliable. It won’t be. The RAV4 will be, the CRV not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I still don’t think defects per 100 vehicles is still the end-all quality statistic, but I do agree that Honda has been inferior to Toyota for years now.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I agree. I think the best data would be extended warranty pricing. Or if not the price they probably have the best data on 10 year reliability. They would be able to see things like brand A and brand B both had $5000 in repairs over 10 years. Brand A had 10 $500 problems and Brand B has two $2500 problems.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      If Honda rates 1.43 defects per vehicle, and Audi (VW?) 1.23, that’s much better than my experiences.

      The problem with bad brand experiences is that buyers don’t typically return to the poisoned well, so decades-old info is all we needed to condemn a brand forever. I think mfrs count on people having short memories and no internet connection.

      For me, the few bugs I’ve had with H/K go in the ‘tolerable’ category. YMMV.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        Wasn’t there a recent stat from Jaguar/Land Rover stating that they estimate they’ve lost 400,000 sales over the last decade due to the perception of their quality? I swear I recently read that. It doesn’t take much to turn people off of a brand, and with social media, the effect can be quicker than ever before.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’d buy a Jaguar if their sedans were still cool.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          I was also reading that confirmation bias is an issue. If someone has or reads about the same problem with a Tiguan and an CRV the Tiguan issue will confirm their bias that VWs are unreliable while they will chalk the CRV issue up to a fluke.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Worth noting: JLR’s rep for poor quality is not recent news. They diligently earned this rep over decades.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Before we left Earth, I noted the Jaguar XF (X250, MY08.5-15) commanded significantly higher valuations than even facelifted S-Types (MY05-08) despite them both being DEW98 and offering carryover drivetrains for a time. Something like 12-17 vs 3-8 similar miles and condition – this *after* the X260 launched in MY16 which should have really hurt these X250s. The only thing I was left to conclude is the X250s were actually pretty good (or at least more popular) vs the S-type.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @28:

            File this under “the last time I was in bankruptcy court it was a first class experience, so send me back, stat.”

            https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/73c1f3e7-71e6-4cd8-b4c0-dddcfabb4908/

            Some poor kid is going to buy this and descend quickly into a pit of absolute existential despair.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed, @ajla

            Oh I’m sure that’s going to descend into the boulevard of broken dreams quickly, but that’s the Type R -which is the V8- I sense an opportunity here. Hyundai dealer I guess took on trade or bought at as-is sale for I’d say 3-3,5 and its probably lot poison for them. I could see Ajla on this, its something which really requires Indiana Jones level skills and a keen temperament. Nice Sunday car for sure, maybe even approaching DD depending on climate.

            If its not on owner five and/or has receipts… bring a code reader and drive it real hard to see if it becomes a Christmas tree dash and the dealer wiped it. Anything bad should pop up quickly…

            Ajla are you feeling it?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Although the paint looks a little worn I like it. Colorado is a bit of a run though.

            Here’s one closer to home. Not an R, but still a V8 on the refreshed body and no old-a$$ nav screen.

            cars.com/vehicledetail/860f760c-79ab-
            4550-8c5b-d6b874419ae5/

            Never driven an early XF. It kind of looks like a W-body inside and out, and the touchscreen looks like it runs on Windows 98, but it is still a RWD, naturally-aspirated V8 on an old platform with a ZF 6A.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Unless you live close to FL you’re paying shipping on either and I’d take the supercharged R over the standard V8… but I could also see the argument the R was likely hooned at some point while that second example could have been grandpa’s well kept ride. You’ve been talking about one of these, maybe pull the trigger?

            On a similar subject, earlier today I had to have help to *not* buy this:

            https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/b08e3a55-0902-4bde-8fbe-94bed1f147e9/

            It was a close call but finally the “needs oil pan” note snapped me out of the siren song of X308 (strong chance motor is blown IMO).

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    Are my eyes playing tricks on me or are there two different Tiguan’s pictured?

  • avatar
    gasser

    Tim, did you find the AWD more stable than the FWD in turns? I read that it affords a better “feel”.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Hard to tell, especially since most corners were gentle and while I was moving at a good clip, I hardly pushed it even anywhere close to the “limit.” I didn’t notice much difference between the two cars.

      Speaking generally, I think AWD, as applied to a commuter-centric crossover, is more for helping Snow Belters get through winter than it is meant to improve handling during hard driving.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Is VW pushing to have the dullest looking SUV line-up ever? Each of the three plodgy models looks the same just in different sizes and it is not that exciting a look to begin with. There going to find themselves with the same BORING label Toyota was stuck with a few years ago.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Is VW pushing to have the dullest looking SUV line-up ever? Each of the three plodgy models looks the same just in different sizes and it is not that exciting a look to begin with. There going to find themselves with the same BORING label Toyota was stuck with a few years ago.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    VW is close to completing their reverse engineering of the 2013 BMW X5M with less than half the horsepower…but there are worse models to copy.

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