VW’s Tiguan refresh for 2022 aims to keep the manufacturer’s bestseller at the top of the heap with its core buyers.
As one of the larger SUVs in the compact category, the new Tiguan combines that heft with a suite of upscale features that appeal to its 46-year-old median buyer with an income over $120k.
Possibly the most significant change for the Canadian buyer, the 2022 Tiguan will only be available in AWD. It is also positioned as the only vehicle in its segment that offers the option of 3rd row seating.
With a starting price of $32,995 and four trims to choose from that top out at $42,995, the Tiguan is good value. It’s a spacious, comfortable and an easy-driving family vehicle.
Powertrain: The Tiguan is powered by a 4-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo engine that makes 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic, and all models are all-wheel drive. This combination, while not overly powerful, is enough to allow the SUV to tow up to 1,500 pounds. New transmission mapping has improved shifting, reducing the lag between gears to smooth out the ride.
Drive: Riding down the highway in the Tiguan is relaxing. It’s quiet, comfortable, easy to drive, and offers good visibility. The front seats are really supportive, and the whole effect is calming without being soporific.
The semi-autonomous driving technologies in the Travel Assist package (on the top three trims) are quite refined compared to some on the market. The lane keeping function did not pinball the Tiguan from one sideline to the other, and the adaptive cruise control was smooth. Travel Assist also includes emergency assistance.
Front Assist (Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring), Active Side Assist (Blind Spot Monitor), and Rear Traffic Alert are all standard equipment. Other available driver assistance technologies include Light Assist (High Beam Control for headlights), Park Distance Control, Park Assist, and Dynamic Road Sign Recognition.
Exterior: For the first time on the 2022 models, Canadian Highline R-Line models are outfitted with 20-inch wheels. These join a new front face and illuminated grille for an updated look on the boxy but well-proportioned hauler. New LED lighting completes the overhaul, and lends the Tiguan a classy, elegant approach.
Interior: The interior received a number of upgrades this year, including a fat new steering wheel, and new wood grain trim elements. The wheel and front seats are heated, as always, and now VW has added ventilation and a power passenger seat. New colour combinations and ambient lighting modernize the interior feel, without making it at all showy.
As before, the Tiguan’s cockpit feels well organized. Controls are easy to find and the interface is intuitive.
With the $800 third row seating option, the Tiguan can easily carry seven passengers, although the last row should be reserved for those with short legs. The addition of the extra seating does compromise overall cargo capacity, reducing the available volume behind the first row from 2,081 litres to 1,860 litres.
Infotainment: The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster now comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen display. For the first time this year, Volkswagen’s Car-Net remote connectivity is available. It allows remote start and monitoring functions through an app. Every vehicle comes with four years of free remote start. The MIB3 infotainment system is also onboard. It includes wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices.
The Fender sound system on the Highline R-Line that we tested has eight speakers and a subwoofer and delivered an excellent audio experience. The sound was crisp and clear and delightfully bassy when required. It would be a great companion for a long roadtrip.
Connecting to an Android phone was not simple. Multiple attempts were needed to enable the Android Auto functions to allow for navigation using the phone. However, once the phone connected, all of its functions worked seamlessly with the VW system.
Conclusion: In 2021 the Tiguan has been the eighth-ranked compact SUV in Canada. And while it has been VW’s best seller, number eight in the country’s largest segment leaves plenty of room for improvement. With the upgrades and improvements to the 2022 model, Tiguan may be positioned to capture a larger market share.
However, with the slightly larger VW Atlas now commanding more of the market, and being a frequently cross-shopped vehicle with the Tiguan, the company may have set up an opportunity for cannibalism rather than market growth.
Nonetheless, the 2022 Tiguan remains a well-executed, easy-to-drive option for buyers who want space for the family in a gas-powered vehicle.
2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline R-Line
Price as tested: $42,995.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive;
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder; 8-speed auto
Power/torque: 184 horsepower/ 221 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (60L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.4
Warranties: 4yr/80,000km comprehensive, 5yr/100,000km powertrain
Competitors: Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV-4
Link: Volkswagen Canada