Tweaked 2022 VW Tiguan gets brighter-eyed and more luxurious

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VW may have been slow to realize North America’s voracious appetite for SUVs, but today the brand is busy massaging and refreshing various global offerings for U.S. consumption—and cooking up a few new vehicles along the way. The latest news for college-bound students, young families, and bike-toting suburbanites comes from an established VW model name and the marque’s best-selling vehicle: For the 2022 model year, the Tiguan is getting a thoughtful mid-cycle refresh that promises more features and equipment.

Now midway through its second generation, the Tiguan will cede entry-level VW SUV duty to the all-new Taos subcompact. While both SUVs start in the mid-$20K range (using the 2021 Tiguan for reference), VW wants to nudge the Tiguan slightly upscale. The changes for 2022 reflect that, starting with now-standard LED lights, front and back, and the addition of a light bar incorporated into the front grille. (The Taos has this horizontal LED strip, too.) The lower front fascia is also simpler and, we think, more elegant; but the most compelling upgrades lie inside the vehicle.

All 2022 Tiguans get a digital gauge cluster—even the base S model—though size does vary between 8 and 10 inches depending on specification. Heated seats now come standard, as do Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. VW’s suite of driver-assist tech, known as IQ.Drive—a bundle of the more robust active-driving aids such as lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring—is now available on all trims, though it only comes standard on the top three. VW has also dropped a trim level for the 2022 lineup: The top-tier SEL trims have been consolidated into a single offering, which means you can now choose from S, SE, SE R-Line Black (which is exactly what it sounds like), and the SEL R-Line.

A chunky, perforated-leather-clad steering wheel joins the two R-Line trims, replete with haptic-touch controls on its glossy black side spokes, like on the Golf R. (VW assured us that these tap- and swipe-friendly controls aren’t hypersensitive, with a similar sort of feedback as an iPhone home button.) A touch-sensitive row of climate-adjusting controls also joins the center console on all trims above the base S, configurations which also get wireless charging and MIB3 infotainment included by default. Deeper-pocketed Tiguan buyers can spec 15-color ambient cabin lighting and a panoramic sunroof.

The powertrain remains unchanged, to little surprise: VW’s EA888 2.0-liter turbo four that makes 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, the latter of which comes at a friendly 1600 rpm. Shifting duties are handled by an eight-speed automatic.

2022 VW Tiguan facelift rolling outside
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Though VW offers the Tiguan globally, we exclusively get the longer-wheelbase version here, a configuration that allows for an optional third row. For the 2022 Tiguan, VW will no longer offer the three-row model with all-wheel drive, however. At first glance, this appears to remove a very practical configuration from the Tiguan family, but consider that a mid-range 2021 Tiguan in AWD, three-row spec costs $35K; the much-larger Atlas starts at $32,575.

VW’s sold over 100,000 Tiguans a year since 2018, and the model posted its best-ever year in pandemic-plagued 2020. This model is critical for VW, and the decision to polish its value-packed, tech-laden proposition seems wise. Expect pricing, unannounced as of this writing, to reflect the raft of newly-standard features; the 2021 Tiguan starts at $26,400 and, though that figure will likely stay well under $30K, the extra goodies on the upper levels won’t come cheaply. If you’re put off by the uptick and can do with a bit smaller dimensions, check out the upcoming Taos, which starts at $24,190.

VW projects that the refreshed 2022 Tiguan will hit dealer lots this fall, either late September or early October.

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