2022 Volkswagen Tiguan preview: Update for compact crossover with a light touch

The refreshed 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan was first shown last June, but we got our first chance to look over those changes in person at a studio in Los Angeles last week. There were no real surprises. The refreshed Tiguan gets updates to keep up with the times, including more interior technology, VW’s latest infotainment system from the flagship Arteon, more driver-assistance features, and minor design tweaks. However, much of the vehicle remains intact from its singular powertrain option to its wheelbase and dimensions. 

Don’t hold your breath for a Tiguan R in the States any time soon. Execs from VW poured cold water on that idea early and often, although proponents of a hotter crossover are pushing hard behind the scenes to bring it to the U.S., according to brand officials.

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 Tiguan that pushes 184 hp to the front or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission carries over. VW says it’s tinkered with the software to make the Tiguan a little more user-friendly, but the hardware stays the same.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

That powertrain is wrapped by a body that’s nearly identical, short of a facelift. The grille and headlights are a little stretched and visually wider putting the new face more in line with the redesigned 2021 Atlas and new 2021 Atlas Cross Sport, including unique R-Line lower bumpers with wider intakes. The grille also adds a new LED light strip across its middle on some trim levels to give the Tiguan more of a visual signature at night. The headlights and daytime driving lights are LEDs, LED taillights are standard, and the “Tiguan” lettering at the rear moves from the left side to the middle below the VW logo. 

Inside, the Tiguan adds a digital instrument cluster that’s 8.0 inches on the diagonal, upgradable to 10.0 inches. The 2022 Tiguan will be offered in S, SE, SE R-Line Black, and SEL R-Line trim levels. Only the base Tiguan S gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen for infotainment duties, while the rest use an 8.0-inch version that includes wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

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Most Tiguans will have touch-sensitive climate controls and touch-sensitive steering wheel controls to complement the touchscreen. Just wash your hands please, as those controls (and the screen) love to hang on to fingerprints as keepsakes. The new controls do make the cabin look more modern, but we didn’t find them to be an improvement to the user experience in the Arteon and the same thing seems true here.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

Interior space is the same, which is good for the already bloated compact crossover. A third-row seat suitable only for children or adults who act like children is now only offered on front-wheel-drive models; all-wheel drive models are now two-rows only. Like the previous Tiguan, the second row slides fore and aft several inches for more cargo room or leg room.

Heated cloth seats are standard on all models, while synthetic leather or real hides sub in on SE and SEL trim levels, respectively. The Tiguan dresses up with two new colors—white and red—with 20-inch wheels available on top models.

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Standard safety features on the S include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts. All of the other models add adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active lane control, and a more sophisticated blind-spot warning system that will countersteer if you try to merge into an occupied lane. These features are available on the S as part of a safety package as well.

VW did not offer final pricing or fuel economy figures for the Tiguan, but did let slip that while the base model price is going up (to make some room for the forthcoming Taos), the price of the SEL R-Line will be lower than the top trim level of the 2021 Tiguan. The 2022 Tiguan will arrive at dealerships in the third quarter of this year.

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