2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Review Update

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Nov 05, 2021

Introduction - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

The Tiguan is Volkswagen's most popular model, outselling every other VW and by a significant margin. One of the larger competitors in the compact crossover SUV segment, the freshened 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan offers a compelling blend of style, roominess, comfort, and utility. Plus, it is one of the only compacts you can get with a third-row seat.

Unfortunately, according to what verified Tiguan buyers tell J.D. Power, it ranks last in its market segment for overall appeal. And, based on what Volkswagen changed as a part of the SUV's refresh for 2022, the automaker appears unconcerned about addressing the two factors that helped put the Tiguan in the basement: the powertrain and fuel economy.

Instead, the changes for 2022 include:

  • Updated styling and wheel designs
  • Revised interior materials, colors, and details
  • Standard LED headlights
  • Standard heated front seats
  • Standard keyless access with push-button start
  • Standard Digital Cockpit instrumentation
  • Standard forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot warning systems
  • Available IQ.Drive advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS)
  • Available touch-sensing steering wheel and climate controls
  • Available "Hello Volkswagen" natural voice recognition (with Plus Speech Car-Net subscription)

Another change is a slimmed-down lineup. Four Tiguan trim levels remain on sale for 2022: the S, SE, SE R-Line Black, and SEL R-Line. They all have the same turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 184 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 221 pound-feet of torque beginning at 1,900 rpm. An 8-speed automatic transmission powers the front wheels, and VW's 4Motion all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is an option. Tiguans with front-wheel drive have a standard third-row seat that is not available with AWD.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan. This review focuses on the Tiguan's updates for 2022 and how they potentially impact its overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Volkswagen Tiguan - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line Dark Blue Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The Volkswagen Tiguan competes in the Compact SUV market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 51 percent of new Volkswagen Tiguan buyers are female (vs. 50 percent for the segment), and the median age of a Tiguan buyer is 51 years (vs. 60).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Tiguan in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Interior design
  • Getting in and out
  • Driving comfort
  • Setting up and starting
  • Infotainment
  • Powertrain
  • Fuel economy

In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Tiguan ranks 14th out of 14 Compact SUV models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Volkswagen Tiguan - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

In the following sections, our independent expert analyzes a 2022 Tiguan SEL R-Line equipped with standard equipment and no options. The price of the test vehicle came to $37,790, including the $1,195 destination charge.

Updated Styling and Design

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line Interior Dashboard

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Tiguan buyers say the SUV's exterior design is their favorite thing about it, and Volkswagen wisely makes no more than minor changes for 2022. The front styling is better aligned with the larger Atlas model, LED headlights are standard, and the SEL R-Line trim adds a light bar running the width of the grille. R-Line trim includes sportier-looking bumpers and bigger wheels, and the SE R-Line Black supplies Tiguan buyers with the currently popular blacked-out appearance. New wheel designs debut across the board.

Interiors are also touched up. New Noisette (brown) and Cinnamon (tan) colors join Titan Black and Storm Gray. The former is offered only in the SEL R-Line in leather, while the latter is available with SE and SE R-Line Black trim in Volkswagen's convincing simulated leather. Volkswagen also premiums the place up with exposed stitching and, in the leather-lined SEL R-Line, contrast seat piping. A new steering wheel (ahem) rounds out the changes.

Touch-sensing Controls, Meh

The new steering wheel displays more than VW's new logo. Some versions of the SUV also have two gloss black control pods with haptic-feedback, touch-sensing controls. During our brief drive in the 2022 Tiguan, they sometimes produced unexpected results, and at other times they produced no results at all.

Similarly, Volkswagen moves to touch-sensing controls for its dual-zone automatic climate system. This change is less aggravating since you're unlikely to interact with it much. However, the strip of function buttons providing access to seat heating and window defrosting will see plenty of action. It's distracting to use while driving simply because you cannot operate it by memory and touch. You have no choice but to look down and away from the road (as seen in the photo immediately below).

IQ.Drive with New Travel Assist and Emergency Assist

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Driving Assistance Display

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Starting with SE trim, every 2022 Tiguan has IQ.Drive, which is Volkswagen's name for its collection of ADAS. And, for the record, IQ.Drive is optional with S trim, which means VW is supplying access to safety for all of its customers.

One of the highlights of this package is Travel Assist. A Level 2 semi-autonomous technology that combines adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assistance, Travel Assist works well—as I discovered in a different Volkswagen vehicle.

In the Tiguan, it wasn't clear to me how to activate the technology. I want to blame a compressed testing window and a rush to evaluate many things in a short period. Also, the gloss black, touch-sensing steering wheel buttons can suffer from reflections and glare, so perhaps I did not see the specific one for Travel Assist. In any case, my inability to test the Tiguan's Travel Assist system is my fault for missing the button that activates it. In the Volkswagen ID.4 electric vehicle, Travel Assist works quite well.

Emergency Assist is also a part of the IQ.Drive package. If the driver lets go of the steering wheel with either the adaptive cruise control or Travel Assist engaged, it presumes one of two things is happening. The driver has either fallen asleep or is suffering a medical emergency of some kind. Either way, the system produces a visual warning that you simply cannot miss, and if you don't put your hands back on the wheel, it will start to slow the Tiguan down and bring it to a safe stop with the hazard lights flashing.

Hello, Volkswagen? Anybody Home?

With the 2022 Tiguan, Volkswagen is touting a new natural-voice-recognition system. It is available with the MIB3 infotainment system, which is standard, starting with SE trim. Naturally, I subjected it to my usual list of test queries, prompts, and commands. It failed miserably.

Ultimately, the problem was two-fold.

First, for this new system to work, you need to rouse the digital assistant by saying "Hello Volkswagen" or "Hi Tiguan" or something like that. Prior to the drive, this was not made clear. I even invited a VW representative to use the system in my test vehicle, and she had no better success than I did.

Second, this new tech was not active in the test vehicle. As it turns out, the Plus Speech function that gives you the natural-voice recognition is a subscription-service add-on to one of the Car-Net Hotspot connected service plans. First, you set up the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for $20 per month, and then you add Plus Speech for $9 annually.

Since the Tiguan drive, I've used this new voice-recognition technology in the VW ID.4. It works well—on par with similar digital assistants from competing brands. The standard voice-recognition system does not impress whatsoever, so you'll need this Plus Speech subscription, or you'll simply want to use the standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or Mirror Link systems instead.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line Dark Blue Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

With the 2022 Tiguan refresh, Volkswagen does not address owners' powertrain and fuel economy complaints.

Everybody knows that VW can build a terrific turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. But in the Tiguan, the engine's maximum horsepower is made at a lofty 6,000 rpm, and the maximum torque doesn't arrive until 1,900 rpm. With a turbocharged engine, that's an eternity. The result is a palpable wait for power, and when it arrives, it can come on too strong and too fast.

As for the fuel economy issue, the test vehicle averaged 24.5 mpg in combined driving, exceeding the official 24-mpg EPA estimate for the SEL R-Line 4-Motion. Given this result, it's a mystery why owners are so unhappy with their fuel economy.

Nevertheless, the 2022 VW Tiguan is attractive inside and out, is comfortable and offers more interior room than most of its rivals, has a generous cargo hold, and is available with a third-row seat. Furthermore, it's genuinely good to drive outside of the engine's peculiar power curves.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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