Expert Reviews

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan First Drive Review

The Tiguan compact crossover is an important vehicle for Volkswagen Canada.

It’s the marque’s top-selling product, and in this hotly contested segment it ranks a respectable number eight. The Tiguan is one of the larger vehicles in this segment and one of the few to offer a third row of seats ($800) – although it’s only suitable for very small humans.

The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan gets a refresh that should see it keeping up the good fight. Its snout was redesigned with new headlights (standard LED) and a fresh grille with available illumination. Wheel designs are new, too, and range from 17 to 20 inches, and with seven exterior colours and two new interior treatments on the menu (Cinnamon leatherette and Noisette Hazelnut leather), Volkswagen allows for some personalization. All-wheel drive is now standard across the line.

The Tiguan’s cabin gets a new gear selector and steering wheel, ambient lighting, freshened trim, standard heated front seats and heated steering wheel, digital dash, and available touch interface for the HVAC controls.

A Respectable Refresh

Tested here is the top-tier Highline R-Line trim that bristles with all the goodies. The cabin shows VW no-nonsense architecture, and build quality is excellent. It’s not as flashy or tech-forward as the overhauled Lexus NX that’s a class above this, but we have no arguments with the ergonomics. The touchscreen menu is clear and logical, and it’s flanked with well-marked menu buttons along with knobs for volume and tuning. The haptic HVAC interface below works pretty well, too, although the temperature sliders aren’t as good as old-fashioned rotary knobs. The Highline’s configurable 10.25-inch digital instrument display is bright and pin sharp. Behind the gear selector is a rotary controller for the four drive modes – snow, on-road, off-road, and off-road custom.

The white leather seats with blue piping in this tester look suitably upscale and offer up the typical Volkswagen firm support that delivers comfort for the long haul. This crossover’s boxy stance and tall greenhouse pay dividends when it comes to cabin ambience and outward visibility. The rear doors are large, and back-seat space is exceptionally generous. The Highline’s 480-watt nine-speaker audio system is very good, delivering clean, punchy, and even sound.

Familiar and Fun to Drive

Power comes from VW’s venerable 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that, hooked to an eight-speed automatic transmission, sends 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. It might not be a powerhouse – there are peppier rivals in the segment – but this motor delivers its torque evenly and from low in the rev range. There’s a linear eagerness here, and it sounds good, too. Volkswagen says revisions to the engine and transmission for 2022 make for better drivability. Happily, this turbo four doesn’t require premium fuel.

The Tiguan surely is a fun rig to send down a back road. I would wish for more steering feel, but the chassis is well balanced and shows impressive poise in the corners. The tweaked eight-speed shifts smoothly and smartly.

Ride quality on these new-for-2022 20-inch alloys (exclusive to the Highline) is on the choppy side when hitting rough surfaces, but such is the price we pay for style. Out on the highway the Tiguan displays its European roots, settling into a relaxed and competent cruise with Autobahn-worthy tracking.

Competitively Priced

Entry point for the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is the $32,995 Trendline that comes with 17-inch alloys, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, fabric upholstery, heated steering wheel and front seats, digital dash, and 6.5-inch touchscreen. Moving up to the $36,795 Comfortline nets a host of kit – 18-inch wheels, larger digital cockpit, leatherette seating, eight-inch screen, proximity key with remote start, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a power tailgate, updated trim, dual-zone climate, cargo cover, and more.

New for 2022 is the $39,495 Comfortline R-Line Black Edition that dresses it up with 19-inch alloys, R-Line styling, black trim, panoramic sunroof, 30-colour ambient lighting, and front/rear parking sensors. The $42,995 Highline R-Line tested here knocks on the luxury door with its leather, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, navigation, power-folding mirrors, adaptive LED headlights, three-zone climate control, upgraded stereo, self-parking, road-sign recognition, 360-degree cameras, illuminated grille, and upgraded exterior trim. All prices are before freight and taxes

Final Thoughts

As the only mainstream European compact crossover on the market, the roomy 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan makes for a compelling alternative in this red-hot segment. If you appreciate the way VWs drive, then this revised 2022 model is worth a long look.