For a company that was only making two SUVs as recently as five years ago, Volkwagen has come a long way in the segment.
The latest demonstration of that rapid learning curve is the 2022 Tiguan, the German carmaker's larger compact SUV. Already VW's best selling nameplate in Canada, the 2022 model boasts a refresh that the company hopes will help it maintain that position without stealing market share from its newly launched little brother the Taos. VW says Tiguan's competitors are the Honda CRV, Toyota RAV-4, Mazda CX-5, and others in the class.
New this year, the Tiguan now has an optional third row of seating. It's the only vehicle in the segment to offer the extra passenger positions. "Tiguan's space and versatility are what make it popular, particularly with young families," said Patrick Danielson, VW Canada's director of product planning at a recent launch event.
That versatility will also appeal to fleet planners seeking to get the most out of their budget in the compact SUV segment. And while Danielson noted the third-row seats are best suited for kids, the flexibility of being able transport seven in a pinch has some appeal.
The 2022 Tiguan offers four trim levels, all powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. All will have VW's 4MOTION all-wheel-drive as standard equipment and are equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. With this combination of engine and transmission, the Tiguan can tow 1,500 pounds.
The Highline R-Line trim Tiguan is the top of the line model, and what we were given to test. Its base price is $42,995.
It is a comfortable and easygoing vehicle to drive. The transmission has been remapped for this model year and it delivers imperceptible, smooth shifts and a nice kick of power for confident passing manoeuvres. The ride is planted without being stiff, and the vehicle is well insulated, delivering a quiet on road experience thanks to an improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) profile that came as part of this year's refresh.
Outside, the Tiguan has a completely revised front end, new LED lighting, new wheel designs, and two fresh interior colours. The expansive greenhouse affords good visibility all the way around.
Inside, Canadian winter friendly heated front seats are standard, as is the heated steering wheel. Ventilated front seats are now an option, along with a panoramic sunroof for the first time.
The sport front row seats in the Highline are extremely comfortable, and easy to adjust. In the back, the second row outboard seats are also heated in the Highline, and are accommodating for even taller passengers. While our tester was not equipped with the third-row seating – an $800-option on any of the trims – the vast sunroof would definitely help to alleviate any feelings of claustrophobia for passengers sitting there.
Without those extra seats, the rear cargo compartment is extremely spacious, making it a potential choice for sales or light trades applications. An underfloor compartment stows not only the spare, but also has a clever hiding place for the cargo cover, which simply snaps into place when required.
Technology has been fully updated as well. The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster now comes standard with an 8-inch display, while a 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro is an option. Also available is Volkswagen Car-Net remote connectivity, a Tiguan first, and Volkswagen‘s MIB3 infotainment, which includes wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices. All models come with four years of free remote start as part of the Car-Net service.
The standard driver assistance suite includes Front Assist (Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring), Active Side Assist (Blind Spot Monitor), and Rear Traffic Alert. Lane Assist (lane keeping), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop and Go, and Emergency Assist (vehicle assistance in a medical emergency) make up the available Travel Assist (semi-automated driving assistance) on the top three trims. Other available driver assistance technologies include Light Assist (high beam control for headlights), Park Distance Control, Park Assist, and Dynamic Road Sign Recognition.
Like all VWs the Tiguan is backed by 4yr/80,000km comprehensive, and 5yr/100,000km powertrain warranties.
The 2022 Tiguan is available now.
Base Price: $32,995
Price as tested: Highline R-Line: $42,995;
Engine: 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbo
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100kms; combined): 9.8
Passenger Capacity: Two rows, five passengers. 3rd row optional
Cargo Capacity: Behind 1st row: 2,081L; Behind 2nd row: 1,064L