Funny name, big seller

2022 VW Tiguan gets updates to remain a top-seller

Quick, name the best-selling Volkswagen in their current lineup? I bet you can’t. I bet you may not even be able to pronounce it properly, but the answer is, to do it Jeopardy-style: What is the Volkswagen Tiguan?

And the answer in the form of a question is really a great question for the average consumer who may not be aware of this compact SUV. And for the 2022 model there’s a refresh and some updates of note too.

Most noticeable of the exterior changes is a new front end that blends in with Volkswagen’s other SUV of vehicles. Consistency amongst an automotive manufacturer is so important, and the Tiguan’s refreshed looks are “all in the family” now. New LED headlights keep it modern looking. An illuminated grille gives it a sexy appearance at night.

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My tester was the R-Line which came with roof racks. New lettering on the back end of the Tiguan gives it a luxurious vibe. Volkswagen says there are two new colors for 2022: Kings Red and Oryx White.

Perhaps the Tiguan is such a big seller for VW because of the versatile ability of the engine. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine has just enough power and performance. And its handling and maneuverability make it ideal for urban situations. But even off the line and on the highway, the Tiguan performs well.

The 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque plus eight-speed automatic keeps it viable and competitive in this segment. It’s available in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). My tester was the AWD R-Line.

Inside, the refresh continues with some updated materials. There are fewer hard plastic touch points and a general higher quality cabin. Many of the VW sedans feel stale and outdated and a little on the cheap side, but the Tiguan’s new interior offers enough niceties to make it feel improved, and very European (that’s a good thing in this instance).

Heated front seats are now standard, with a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats as available options. A 30-color LED ambient lighting system is standard on the youthful R-Line trim.

The Tiguan is ideally suited as a two-row SUV. There’s a three-row iteration, but I would imagine that would be cramped. As such the second-row offers good knee and shoulder room.

Overall interior comfort is outstanding.

Volkswagen upped the technology by introducing a MIB touchscreen infotainment system. This uses a capacitive-touch sensor (as in smartphone and tablet technology) rather than the more common resistive touchscreens, which require pressure, enabling controls like swiping and even pinch-zooming.

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Volkswagen’s luxury cousin – Audi – uses a digital cockpit to beam information near the instrument cluster. It’s cool and useful. For 2022, VW brings this to the Tiguan too and just like the Audi, it’s not a gimmick but something that uses technology to make things easier for the driver.

Anything that is innovative but also useful is good in my book.

For 2022, Volkswagen eliminates the SEL trim which leaves only the S, SE and the R-Line. The starting MSRP of the refreshed 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is $25,995 for the S front-wheel-drive model and $27,495 for the S all-wheel drive model. My tester was the top-of-the-line, extra sporty R-Line trim. It had a base price of $36,595.

Fuel economy for the SEL R-Line is 21 mpg/city and 28 mpg/highway. The FWD version gets slightly better MPG with a rating of 23/30. In a week’s worth of mostly suburban driving, I averaged nearly 25 mpg. I would have liked to see some better fuel economy numbers for the Tiguan and would hope that future iterations will surpass 30 mpg.

Quietly and will little fanfare, the VW Tiguan is a top-selling vehicle for the German manufacturer. The compact SUV segment is one of the most competitive and profitable segments around. Who would have though this little SUV with the weird-sounding name would be such a powerhouse competitor?

But with the updates to the 2022 model year, it’s easy to see why. And as Volkswagen seems to have their act together and a clear vision, the Tiguan represents the bright future for VW.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

  • Price/As tested price................................................ $36,595/$36/595
  • Mileage.......................................... 21 mpg/city; 28 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower................................. 184 hp/221 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. 8-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ All-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point............... Chattanooga, Tennessee