Volkswagen’s Tiguan lends a nice European vibe to the compact SUV category and is one of the few among them to offer a third row of seats, increasing capacity to seven passengers.
For 2022, Tiguan’s interior and exterior styling are freshened. Standard and optional features are more plentiful. Infotainment and climate control systems are updated, and VW’s IQ.Drive suite of driver assistance technologies is standard on all but the base model.
The top model is a new SEL R-Line trim with more features and a lower price (by $2,500) than the Tiguan previously holding that position.
Tiguan’s lineup is straightforward. There are four models, all with the same engine and transmission, and a manageable number of options. The first three have standard front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is available for an extra $1,500. The top-tier SEL R-Line comes standard with AWD. A third row of seats is standard on all front-drive versions.
It’s important to note that a third row of seats is not available in Tiguans with all-wheel drive.
Pricing with a $1,195 destination charge included starts at $27,190 for the Tiguan S with front-wheel drive. It has cloth seats, LED headlights and taillights, keyless access with push-button start, heated front seats, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Wi-Fi capability, six-speaker audio, two USB ports, App-Connect and Bluetooth. The IQ.Drive package is available for $895 and adds a number of desirable features including blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, emergency assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Stepping up to the Tiguan SE trim ($30,690 and the best balance between standard features and affordability) adds the full IQ.Drive suite, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with voice control, wireless phone charging and wireless App-Connect, two more USB ports, SiriusXM radio, leatherette seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar, heated washer nozzles and wiper park, rain-sensing wipers, a power liftgate, remote start and more. A panoramic sunroof is available for $1,200.
Next up is the SE R-Line Black ($33,490 and primarily an appearance package) and then the top of the hill SEL R-Line ($37,790).
My test car was a front-drive Tiguan SE. I have more use for AWD than third-row seating, so in real life, that is, if I were buying a 2022 Tiguan, I’d get the SE but toss in the extra coin for power to the rear wheels. The SEL R-Line has some juicy standard features including a Fender premium audio system and a heated steering wheel, but its bottom line curtails the temptation.
Tiguan’s one-size-fits-all powertrain is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, joined to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine doesn’t give an outstanding performance but it isn’t a bad actor, and the transmission is a commendable co-star.
Tiguan handles enthusiastically around town and on winding roads. Unleashed on a highway or freeway it keeps calm and quiet.
Fuel economy ratings for a front-drive Tiguan are 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. All-wheel-drive numbers are 22/29 mpg, slightly less for the R-Line at 21/28 mpg.
Tiguan’s understated interior is clean and handsome. High quality is evidenced by the materials used and the precision with which everything is pieced together. The infotainment and climate control systems are trippy and take some time to grasp.
Third-row seats are expectedly bereft of legroom, but otherwise there are two separate seating spots of normal size, unlike the toddler’s picnic bench typically installed in small SUVs.
Twelve cubic feet of rear cargo area exists when all three rows are engaged. Folding the third row to its perfectly flat position frees up 33 cubic feet. Going all out and folding the center row too gives you a 65.3 cubic-feet cargo capacity.
2022 VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN SE
Base price, including destination charge: $30,690
Price as driven: $31,085
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.