Volkswagen has been scrambling to catch up with the rise of popularity of SUVs for years, and seemingly did so with the arrival of the Atlas a few years back. Now that the line-up is complete, it’s giving the foundation of that group of utes, the Tiguan, an update for 2022.
The Tiguan, VW’s smallest utility vehicle, was the German automaker’s best-selling vehicle for VW – the brand and VW Group – last year with 910,000 vehicles. Clearly, the existing model was doing well, but since the current generation model was introduced in 2016, it was time for a few tweaks.
The current model is one of the fastest growing sport-utes in the last five years, VW officials said, noting it accounts for 2.7% of the SUV segment in the U.S. last year, which is double its results from 2017. It’s also the company’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S.
“With the new Tiguan, we want to continue the success story,” said Karlheinz Hell, head of Productline Compact, Volkswagen AG, during the company’s webinar revealing the new model.
The update of the new Tiguan comes on the heels of the announcement that the brand’s flagship sedan, the Arteon, is also getting a makeover for 2022, and there are plenty of parallels between the vehicles. For example, like the Arteon, the new Tiguan is getting an entirely new front end that officials described as “sharper” and “cleaner” during the webinar.
That new grille is also wider and links up with the LED headlights, mirroring the look already on VW’s larger Touareg and Atlas Cross Sport. Additionally, it gets new bumpers on the front end, featuring new air intakes, similar to those found on the aforementioned Arteon. It also gets the new Volkswagen badge, which sits front and center on the car.
New lettering and logos are also at play on the rear with the “Tiguan” lettering occupying the central position below the VW badge. The “4Motion” lettering on the rear of all-wheel drive models has also been redesigned. The rear also gets LED taillights for 2022.
The Tiguan will come in four different trim levels – S, SE, SE R-Line Black and SEL R-Line – and the size of the wheels is tied to each model, starting with 17-inch wheels for the base S model and rising to 20-inch wheels for the top-of-the-heap SEL R-Line. It also comes in two new colors for 2022: Onyx White, a metallic white, and Kings Red, a deep red that’s a little darker than fire-engine red.
The automaker is working to deliver more compelling interiors with its new models, and like the Arteon, the new Tiguan gets a significant upgrade in terms of technology. The first change a new driver will note is the digital version of the new multifunction steering wheel, featuring illuminated touch islands and sliders.
The focus on touch doesn’t stop with the new wheel. An all-new touch module can be had for the Climatronic automatic climate control functions, starting on the SE model. In addition to controlling the temperature and fan settings, the touch buttons can also be used to operate the (new) standard heated front seats, rear window defrost, and to open the air-conditioning menu.
The new Tiguan gets VW’s MIB3 infotainment system, which allows the driver to personalize a variety of settings, use voice control and pair multiple phones to the vehicle and it ties into wireless App-Connect. The ute comes with an 8-inch display comes standard, although that gets bumped to a 10.25-inch display for the top two trim levels.
Of course, if you’re riding around for a while you’ll want to be comfortable and productive. The Tiguan comes with an option for an all-new 15-color ambient lighting system as well as new decors for every trim level. One thing that doesn’t change: the 480-watt Fender Premium Audio System as standard equipment on the upper models. The Tiguan also comes with two USB-C ports located under the air-conditioning module.
A third row is standard on the base level model, which in the U.S. is actually the long-wheelbase version of the Tiguan, but you can opt out of that if you’d rather have the cargo space on SE trim levels and higher. Getting access to the rear of the Tiguan remains simple with the optional hands-free Easy Open and Close for the power liftgate, which is updated for 2022 and available on midrange models.
There are fewer decisions to make, if you’re looking for the glass-half-full version, when it comes to the heartbeat of the new Tiguan. In fact, there is only one decision to make, which simplifies things: it comes with the 2.0-liter EA888 four-cylinder, with turbocharged direct-injection engine, which has been improved for the new model, resulting in better acceleration, according to Jose Bravo, product manager, Compact SUVs, Volkswagen of America. There will be no hybrid option for the new Tiguan.
This solid performer puts out 184 horsepower that kicks in at 4,400 rpm and is maintained until 6,000 rpm, VW says. Maximum torque of 221 pound-feet is available from 1,600 to 4,360 rpm. All Tiguan models are equipped with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, and Start/Stop system, designed to help improve fuel efficiency.
VW’s application of technology for the new Tiguan isn’t limited to just the infotainment and climate controls, offering a robust package of advanced driver assistance tech as well for the new model. That begins with its available Travel Assist system, which can take over steering, braking and acceleration of the new Tiguan at speeds of between 0 mph 130 mph.
The automaker warns that “the driver remains responsible for control of the SUV at all times,” but the system uses Adaptive Cruise Control for longitudinal guidance and the Lane Assist lane keeping system for lateral guidance, along with other technology, to make it happen.
The driver activates the system by pressing a separate Travel Assist button on the new multifunction steering wheel but must keep their hands on the steering wheel even when Travel Assist is active. Touch detection is a great deal more reliable than steering angle-based systems even on long and very flat stretches of road.
The latest generation of adaptive cruise control (ACC), available on top trims, proactively takes into account local speed limit information, town boundary signs, junctions and roundabouts. For this purpose, the assist system uses the signals from the front camera and the GPS and map data from the navigation system for control.
The “new” Tiguan goes on sale in Europe in July, but it won’t arrive in the U.S. until next fall – yes, 2021 – as a 2022 model. The company will offer a new 2021 model in the U.S. based on the current model, but the updates will be minimal. No pricing information was made available for the either version.