2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
The Volkswagen Tiguan is expected to get a full redesign in 2022. As a result, the 2021 model sees only minor changes. The SEL Premium R-Line model finally adds power-adjustment for the front passenger seat. For the midlevel SE, adaptive cruise control is now an included driver aid. The only other change involves the wheel designs.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
Five trim levels are available for the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan. In its simplest form, the SUV has LED taillights and daytime running lights, smartphone integration, roof rails, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen. This entry-level trim is called the S.
The next option is called the SE. Smartphone integration tools become wireless for this trim, which also adds a push-button start, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. It also brings the number of USB ports from one to four. The SE R-Line Black has black accents, inside and out. It also has larger wheels, a panoramic sunroof, and adaptive fog lights.
Near the top of the list is the SEL. For this model, Volkswagen gives the 2021 Tiguan rain-sensing windshield wipers, remote start, a heated steering wheel, and a power liftgate. The top SEL R-Line Premium has a hands-free power tailgate, leather seats, ambient interior lighting, and standard all-wheel drive.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
Skip over the entry-level S in favor of the SE. There are features added by this model that drivers will actually want to use, such as wireless smartphone tools and extra USB ports. All models have the same engine, and the higher trims add primarily bells and whistles.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
The touchscreen size for the Tiguan is 6.5-inches. This is a respectable size, but most competitors have moved toward larger standard screens. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, and all but the entry-level S get the wireless variations of these features. A Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, and one USB port are also standard.
Select models go up to an 8-inch touchscreen. They also add more USB ports, navigation, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. A nine-speaker audio system from Fender is also available.
How Does It Perform?
Turbocharged power is underneath the hood of all 2021 Tiguan models. The 2.0L four-cylinder makes 184-horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque and pairs nicely with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard for all but the top SEL Premium R-Line, which automatically gets all-wheel drive.
The Tiguan gets below-average numbers when it comes to fuel economy. With front-wheel drive, the SUV is estimated to get only 22mpg city and 29mpg highway. All-wheel-drive versions of the Tiguan get 20mpg city and 27mpg highway. Buyers who are after fuel efficiency can find compact SUVs with much better numbers.
Overall, the ride is pleasing for the Tiguan. It would definitely be described as comfortable rather than sport, however. When properly equipped, this SUV's towing capacity maxes out at 1,500 pounds.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
Yes, this SUV is safe and reliable. Five out of five stars were awarded to the 2021 Tiguan by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As for the reliability, J.D. Power gave it an above-average score of 3.5 out of five stars.
Like most new SUVs, the Tiguan comes equipped with several advanced safety features. The list includes automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. There are several features that are unlocked by choosing a higher trim, such as rain-sensing windshield wipers, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, and parking sensors.
What's the Interior Like?
The Tiguan is a somewhat rare compact SUV because it comes with three rows when buyers choose a front-wheel-drive model. All-wheel-drive Tiguans come with just two rows, but the third row can be added to select trims. Naturally, the third-row of this SUV is on the smaller side and only suitable for small children.
As for the front two rows, they are comfortable and spacious. Many appreciate Volkswagen's simple approach to the design of the cabin as well. The materials are on the upscale side.
Cargo capacity is good for a compact SUV. Three-row models have 12 cubic feet behind their back row, while two-row models have 37.6 cubic feet. The maximum cargo capacity for two-row models is 73.5 cubic feet. Three-row models top out at 65.7 cubic feet.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
The Honda CR-V is an excellent compact SUV, offering plenty of standard equipment and an engaging drive. This model only has two rows, however, making its maximum seating capacity five rather than seven. Be aware that the CR-V has even more impressive cargo space than the Tiguan.
If a third row is essential, consider the Kia Sorento. This is another compact option with room for up to seven. Being a Kia, the Sorento has an impressive warranty and plenty of standard features to enjoy. On the downside, it has two under-performing engines to choose from. Other compact SUVs include the Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Note: All Volkswagen Tiguan lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.