Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – The Tiguan is an oddball at Volkswagen. It has long served those who wanted most of the benefits of an SUV (space, elevated driving position, all-wheel drive), but also the driving pleasure of a car.
Only the company let it sit around forever before reconsidering it, which finally happened for 2018 (it had debuted in 2009). It wasn’t selling much anymore, forgotten by the masses, overtaken by several competitors.
As for the redesign, it gave us a second, completely different Tiguan. Bigger (a shorter version remained in Europe), but more American, especially. Its driving experience has become that of an SUV among others. The Volkswagen logo, yes, but not the soul.
What’s worse is that mechanically, it was given a powertrain that quickly became the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons. With poorly distributed power and the impression of always pulling a trailer, the Tiguan was anything but fun to drive.
Its sales grew, however, which is normal considering that the model it replaced was no longer selling; one should always be careful with numbers. As a matter of fact, it’s currently ranked eighth in its segment. That’s not enough to make the playoffs.
But now, in 2022, Volkswagen has a reworked Tiguan. That’s the norm when a generation of models reaches the halfway point. The bulk of the work, however, is not something visible; we’ll get back to that.
Before we get to the heart of the matter, let’s look at what’s changed aesthetically. On the outside, we get a redesigned front end and a grille that can be illuminated. As for the wheels, 17, 18, 19 or 20 inches depending on the model, they are new. The larger one is a first for the Tiguan in Canada.
Onboard, the presentation has been improved with more noble materials. New colours, ambient lighting and a new R-Line steering wheel are among the changes.
Additions to the equipment
More importantly, some items have been added to the standard equipment. First, note that all Tiguans sold in Canada will benefit from 4Motion all-wheel drive. Goodbye to the front-wheel drive variant, which attracted only 0.6 percent of buyers last year. Otherwise, there are new LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, and Volkswagen’s Virtual Cockpit, still standard equipment.
In terms of additions to the offering, you can now opt for ventilated front seats and power adjustments for the passenger seat. Improvements also mark the vehicle’s connectivity features. This includes the removal of traditional buttons for controls like climate control, all in favour of touch-sensitive buttons.
That’s something we could have done without.
The big change
Where the work has a direct impact is on the transmission. The calibration of the transmission and the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder that powers the model has been revised, so that we’ve addressed the irritating aspects of this engine’s performance.
In concrete terms, when we got behind the wheel of the Tiguan, we were confronted with dead time during acceleration, a sort of laziness that gave us the impression that a good portion of the 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque at our disposal were being withdrawn when we pressed the pedal on the right side of the floor.
This is much less the case here. There’s a little hesitation at the start if you’re demanding, but otherwise, the mechanics respond much better. So much so that you get the impression that a new mill is under the hood.
We can no longer talk about this bad marriage between the vehicle and its mechanics. The organs are now doing the job we expect of them. As far as driving pleasure is concerned, the Tiguan keeps its DNA, more American than German.
As for the versions offered, nothing changes except for the withdrawal, as mentioned, of the unloved front-wheel drive variant.
The ball starts rolling with the $32,995 Trendline model. The essentials are there with heated seats, roof rails and connectivity. It continues with the Comfortline model at $36,795. The Comfortline adds features like dual-zone climate control, wireless cell phone connection and charging, and a power liftgate, among others.
The R-Line Black Edition package can be added to the latter. Black accents, R-Line logos, ambient lighting, among other things, join the party, provided you go for $39,495. Finally, with the Highline R-Line model, the bill is $42,995 and you get everything in return, from leather seats to navigation, ventilated seats and the illuminated grille we alluded to earlier.
Note that the third row of seats is available for $800. Even if it’s only for convenience, it’s still the exception rather than the rule in the compact SUV segment. Also, the Comfortline model can receive an optional sunroof ($1500).
All in all, a more complete Tiguan with a more competent powertrain awaits you in 2022. It may not be enough to shake the segment’s big boys, but it’s certainly enough to move forward.
- Enhanced features
- Reworked engine/transmission combination
- Acceleration is more direct, linear and regular
- Abundance of touch controls
- Many competitors are still more interesting
- Driving style remains very neutral