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2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

At the moment, the Volkswagen Group, including its upscale marques Audi and Porsche, is making a hard pivot toward electric vehicles. In 2023, VW will reveal the U.S. version of its long-gestating ID.Buzz, the next generation of the beloved Transporter, and the all-electric ID.4 has been on American roads for over a year. 

That said, Volkswagen's traditional offerings remain strong, and the Tiguan is a key player. The compact SUV has been a lineup mainstay for well over a decade, and in 2021, it was second only to the Atlas in sales. Like its siblings, the Tiguan has earned a reputation for being both practical and fun to drive, and those qualities have made it a darling of its red-hot segment.  

For 2022, the Tiguan's exterior styling has been refreshed, and the cabin gets upgraded comfort and safety tech. So I was excited to sample the latest model in the well-equipped SE trim.  

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2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE Exterior 

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

My tester was finished in King's Red Metallic paint, a bold hue which made it easy to appreciate the crisp lines of the Tiguan's sheet metal. Up front, the new LED headlights wrap nicely into the front fenders, and the horizontal lines of the updated grille give the front fascia a pleasantly wide look.  

Particularly in profile, the Tiguan is a handsome machine. While the silver roof rails on my tester popped against the chrome window surrounds, most of the other exterior accents were black, which gave everything a sporty feel. The two-tone mirrors, which were red on top and black on the bottom, added some subtle flair, and perfectly complemented the dark cladding about the wheel wells. 

Importantly for city driving, the 18-inch wheels provided for plenty of sidewall. Because along with helping cushion the ride, the extra rubber also means there's less chance of damage if drivers happen to hit a pothole or tap a curb when parking. 

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2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE Interior

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

Close the door of the Tiguan, and you'll be rewarded with the satisfying "thunk" German vehicles are famous for. That said, Volkswagen is known for its elegant, driver-focused interiors, and the Tiguan is no exception.  

One element of the design that I particularly appreciated was how the eight-inch touchscreen resides neatly in the middle of the dash, well below the horizon. Integrating it that way keeps the screen from looking tacked on, and helps give the cabin a cohesive feel. I also thought the digital gauge cluster looked sharp and modern.    

While there's nothing terribly flashy about the interior, all the touchpoints are soft. And with creature comforts like heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a wireless charging pad, rear-seat vents, and multiple USB ports, the environs feel decidedly upscale. Material quality is also high, and I found the leatherette seats to be plenty comfortable.   

The six-speaker infotainment system features SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity, and while it can be a little laggy, the learning curve isn't steep. My biggest issue with the Tiguan's interior was the choice to use haptic buttons--as opposed to physical controls--for functions like the climate settings. While I got more accustomed to using them as the week went on, I'd prefer the more-solid feedback of an old-fashioned dial or switch. 

Like other Volkswagens I've driven recently (namely the ID.4), the large cabin feels at odds with the vehicle's relatively small footprint. And in an era of rising beltlines and narrowing windows, the excellent visibility felt noteworthy. As you'd expect, the third row is a tight squeeze for adults, but small children will be fine in the way back.  

Storage wise, three-row models have 12 cubic feet of space behind the third row. Drop it, and cargo space climbs to 33 cubic feet. With both the second and third row folded, there's a whopping 65 cubic feet available.

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2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE Performance

 

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

Every trim of Tiguan features a 2.0-liter I4, which packs 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. While my tester was a front-wheel drive model, all-wheel drive is available across the model line, as a $1,500 option. In either trim, an eight-speed automatic handles shifting duties.  

When you're behind the wheel, the Tiguan feels more powerful than the stats would suggest. While acceleration isn't breathtaking, there's a reasonable amount of pep in this VW's step, especially around town. On the freeway, passing can take some planning, but once up to speed, the Tiguan will cruise along quite happily. Wind and road noise is also minimal, and the quiet cabin contributes to an overall sense of refinement.  

In regard to performance, handling is where the Tiguan really shines. The steering feels direct, and provides good feedback, and the suspension is a great blend of athletic and accommodating. On my favorite little test loop, which features a nice twisty stretch of road and some less-than-perfect pavement, the Tiguan handled everything with aplomb. While it might not be quite as agile as Mazda's CX-5, the Tiguan's longer wheelbase also provides for an optional third row, which makes its driving dynamics all the more impressive.  

Front-wheel drive versions are EPA rated at 23 mpg city, and 30 highway, while all-wheel drive models come in at 21 city, 28 highway. 

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2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE Safety 

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

At press time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not issued an overall crash test rating for the current generation Volkswagen Tiguan. But it did earn 5-Star rating in both the Front Side and Rear Side Crash tests, along with a 4-Star Rollover score.  

My test model was also equipped with the company's IQ.Drive system, a robust suite of driver safety aids which includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking With Pedestrian Detection, Rear Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Monitoring. Additionally, this Tiguan was equipped with VW's Travel Assist, which allows for semi-autonomous driving under certain circumstances. 

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2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE Overall 

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

While I did find some of the cabin tech a little finicky, there's a lot to like about the refreshed Tiguan. The styling is handsome and modern, the interior is deceptively large, and its German heritage means its driving dynamics are superior to many competitors. So while VW might be focused on electric vehicles, the 2022 Tiguan demonstrates the company hasn't let its conventional offerings slip.      

The base price of my 2022 Tiguan SE was $29,495, and adding the King's Red Metallic paint ($395), and Destination Charge ($1,195) brought the total as-tester price to $31,085. If you're looking for all-wheel drive, expect to add $1,500 to the bottom line. 

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John Coyle | May 10, 2022

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE Specs

Layout

4-door
5-passenger
AWD

Engine/Transmission

2.0L I4
184 hp, 221 lb-ft
Eight-speed auto

Mileage

23/30
(city/hwy)

NHTSA Rating

N/A


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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.