Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Reviews2024 Volkswagen Tiguan review : is the European flair enough?

2024 Volkswagen Tiguan review : is the European flair enough?

  • The Tiguan is not the most fun to drive SUV on the market.

  • Interior volume is impressive.

  • The Tiguan is an important model for the German brand.

The automotive industry is currently shaken by a wind of uncertainty. In some respects, the shift to EVs is stagnating, which is giving new life to the hybrid hope. This is excellent news for a group like Toyota, for example, which is brimming with these half-petrol, half-electric vehicles. Quite the opposite of another giant, which has gone all in on electric vehicles. Indeed, with the Dieselgate in 2015, the Wolfsburg-based giant had to step on the electric energy gas pedal to dissipate the fumes of this global scandal as quickly as possible.

2024 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline R-Line | Photo: Vincent Aubé

While waiting for electrification efforts to stabilize, Volkswagen must look ahead and continue marketing important models like the Tiguan, for example, the popular crossover already in its third model year since the mid-term redesign. Why not push the ID.4 then, a vehicle a little smaller than the Tiguan, but still close in terms of dimensions?

Some consumers simply aren’t ready, for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is the asking price, despite government rebates still in effect for a few seasons in Canada. Then there’s the question of production capacity, although we’re currently seeing a build-up of electric vehicle stocks.

2024 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline R-Line | Photo: Vincent Aubé

We tried out the German manufacturer’s “not-so-compact” SUV again. The formula is unsurprisingly the same as for every other vehicles in the category, but with a European flair. Is it enough to convince buyers of this type of vehicle? We try to answer that question in the following lines.

Stylistic enhancement

Admittedly, the tweaks performed in 2022 are more attractive, giving the Tiguan a touch of class that was sorely lacking in the vehicle that first landed on North American roads in 2018. The more imposing radiator grille or the chrome trim around the lower grilles on this Highline livery dressed up with the R-Line package, while the 20-inch wheels fill out the wheel arches to perfection.

2024 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline R-Line | Photo: Vincent Aubé

As for the rear end, with its chrome-plated “faux” tailpipes on either side and this mix of chrome and gloss black, well, it blends in quite well with the compact utility model. For some, the Tiguan’s design lacks originality, while for others, the model’s more sober lines are an asset in heavy traffic. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re more of the Hyundai Tucson/Kia Sportage type or more of the conventional type, as is the case with the Volkswagen representative.

It’s a Volkswagen interior, of course!

Those accustomed to Volkswagen products shouldn’t feel too out of place when they step inside the Tiguan. The dashboard couldn’t be simpler, while the raised screen of the latest models hasn’t yet found its way on board. On the other hand, we can expect the latter – openly criticized for the omnipresence of touch-sensitive buttons – to be integrated into the Tiguan when it is redesigned for our market, as the European version has already been remodeled. However, note that the next North American Tiguan will be different from the one sold in Europe.

2024 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline R-Line | Photo: Vincent Aubé

In fact, the 2024 Tiguan is transitional, since it features two screens, one behind the steering wheel and another, this one touch-sensitive, in the center of the dashboard, but the latter is backed up by buttons on either side of the digital surface. And that’s not all: further down, you’ll find a series of haptic buttons for air conditioning, heated seats and more.

The steering wheel, which is very pleasant to hold, also features haptic functions which, after a few days, make more sense after a few attempts.

The seats, though hard, remain comfortable for the vagaries of everyday life or for extended escapades. The same is true of the second-row, 60/40-split bench seat, which can also be moved forward or back to maximize trunk space, or even that of passengers sitting in the third row, because yes, the Tiguan is one of the few to offer a third bench seat. This one is more symbolic than comfortable, but hey, there are always unforeseen events in life, and this third bench is precisely there to respond to those moments when you need to help a friend on your child’s soccer team.

And the driving experience?

Unfortunately, despite some typically Volkswagen traits, the Tiguan doesn’t offer the same kind of experience as the timeless Golf GTI or its all-wheel-drive hotter equivalent, the Golf R. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, with its 184 hp and 221 ft-lb of torque, is not the fastest in the segment. The first-generation Tiguan had more power and weighed less, but unlike its sportier predecessor, the second-generation Tiguan is roomier than the first… and also heavier.

2024 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline R-Line | Photo: Vincent Aubé

Where the Tiguan loses points is with its eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is hesitant in town. It’s better on the freeway, where gear changes are more unobtrusive, but with the many stops and starts of city driving, the gearbox disappointed, to say the least.

The Tiguan’s precise steering is one of its qualities, as is the firmness of its suspension, which reminds us why there’s that VW badge right in the middle of the front end. In short, on fast lanes or beautiful back-country roads, the Tiguan proves that it belongs to the VW family, with handling that’s a little sportier than the majority of the segment’s protagonists, but for the rest, a vague impression of disappointment emerges.

The verdict

The Volkswagen Tiguan isn’t a class leader among the Japanese best sellers, which are more successful than the Wolfsburg SUV, but the Tiguan has a personality all its own. Its dimensions are interesting, as is the extra bench seat. Its driving pleasure is not as high, but it makes up for it in ergonomics and interior space.

Admittedly, its $46,590 price tag (before preparation fees and taxes) is excessive, but that’s what the competition charges for other well-appointed SUVs in its class.


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