2022 Volkswagen Tiguan First Look: A Sleeker Compact SUVVW’s most popular SUV gets a mid-cycle sharpening.See all 22 photosBilly RehbockAuthorManufacturerPhotographerMay 11, 2021

Volkswagen enthusiasts might not want to hear this, but the glory days of the Golf are long gone. The Tiguan compact SUV has been a major sales success both here and abroad—VW sells over a million units per year worldwide. That’s why it’s important for VW to keep the Tiguan looking fresh and full of desirable features. A few years after it was unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, we got a first look at the revised U.S.-spec version of the long-wheelbase Tiguan in a studio setting. Last year, you might remember, we were given a from-a-distance preview of these changes in the form of the updated European-market Tiguan.

Fresh Looks All Around

The biggest changes for the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan apply to the exterior and interior with a significant overhaul that bumps the crossover a smidge toward the premium direction. LED head- and taillights are standard, and VW equipped the Tiguan with new wheels across the board. An LED «light line» that crosses the widened and lowered front bodywork is also available as an option. To keep the model aligned with the rest of the Volkswagen lineup, the 2022 Tiguan has a centered nameplate below the VW badge on the rear.

The bodywork has been smartly freshened up, which makes the Tiguan look more muscular and modern—with some lines reminiscent of the burly Touareg that used to be sold on our shores. Volkswagen is offering two new paint colors, Kings Red Metallic and Onyx White.

See all 22 photos

On the inside, the Tiguan gets contrast stitching and an optional color: Noisette. Buyers can opt for VW’s new steering wheel with capacitive-touch buttons and haptic feedback. From the SE trim upward, the climate control user interface has touch controls, as well, but Volkswagen designed these with grooved inlays for a more intuitive and easy-to-learn layout. The buttons seemed responsive and quick when we sat in the model on display in the studio.

Volkswagen also overhauled the trim structure, eliminating the SEL trim in order to make the lineup easier to understand and to offer better value across the board. The S is the Tiguan’s base model, followed by SE, SE R-Line Black, and the range-topping SEL R-Line at the top.

Tiguans equipped at the SE R-Line Black level get blacked-out trim, 19-inch wheels, and sportier bodywork. On the inside, the R-Line touch-control steering wheel becomes standard, as does 15-color ambient lighting which can be configured via the infotainment display. A panoramic sunroof also is included.

The SEL R-Line trim gets 20-inch wheels and all of the SE R-Line Black’s black trim becomes chrome. VW rounds out the interior equipment with Fender Premium Audio, a heated steering wheel, power driver and passenger seats, real leather seats, ventilated seats, and more safety tech like park assist, area view, and Dynamic Road Sign Recognition.

See all 22 photosNo Changes Under the Hood

Volkswagen opted to not totally overhaul the Tiguan’s drivetrain, which is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine making 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This was one of the weak points we called out during our first test of the second-generation crossover.

Even though Volkswagen didn’t do anything to improve the power figures, its product team told us that the drivetrain has been retuned for a much more refined driving experience and assured us that the changes would be notable once we get a chance to drive it. In standard guise, the Tiguan is front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive is available on every trim level. The top-spec SEL R-Line receives AWD as standard.

Safety and Technology

VW’s IQ.Drive driver assistance system is available on every trim at the SE level and upward. This suite includes Active Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, travel assist, and emergency assist. VW also offers high beam light assist, park assist, and Dynamic Road Sign Recognition. Keyless entry and a multifunctional steering wheel are standard on the S trim level and a power tailgate and leatherette seats, become standard on the SE model.

From the base model upward, Volkswagen includes a version of its Digital Cockpit instrument cluster display. An 8-inch screen is standard, but a 10-inch screen is available and is standard on the SEL R-Line trim. VW also included the faster MIB3 modular infotainment console and offers standard wireless CarPlay and Android Auto at the SE trim and up.

We don’t have word on pricing just yet, but Volkswagen suggested that the Tiguan will offer strong value given the density of included equipment across the trim range, especially as it begins to serve that volume-selling role once occupied by smaller cars like the Golf and Jetta. The current Tiguan starts at $25,965, so expect the 2022 model to start a little higher than that. The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan will go on sale fall 2021.