The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan picks up cues from the Mk8 Golf, including a tech-heavy interior and a new face.
The Tiguan is an important model in the Volkswagen group. Last year VW produced over 910,000 of the compact crossover globally. So it’s not surprising that the 2021 model takes a careful, evolutionary approach to updates. The new model takes cues from another big seller in the VW lineup: the Mk8 Golf.
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The clearest Golf influence is up front. Volkswagen has stretched the outer edges of the headlights back towards the front fenders. It gives the Tiguan a wider, more assertive face, without the full frowny look of Golf. The exterior changes are far milder beyond the front however, with subtle changes to the bumpers. VW has updated the interior taillight elements, and moved the Tiguan badging to the center of the tailgate, just below the revised brand logo. New colors join the paint list, and wheels will range from 17- to 20-inch items, depending on trim.
VW has done more work inside the 2022 Tiguan. Every trim level now features the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, a configurable instrument panel. The standard VDC measures 8.0 inches across, while an up-level option bumps that to 10.25 inches. Similarly, a 6.5-inch screen hangs out in the dash of lower trims with the option of an 8.0-inch model. Volkswagen’s MIB3 infotainment system takes up residence in the new Tiguan, offering faster responses and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A wholesale move to touch controls is the biggest day-to-day change inside. Things like the (now standard) heated seats, air-con, and volume are controlled through a combo of touch buttons and sliders in the center console. Owners will be able to set multiple user profiles as well.
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In North America, the Tiguan will continue to offer the trusty 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with either front- or all-wheel drive. The salient details include 184 (horsepower), 221 (lb-ft) and 8 (forward gears in the automatic transmission). Europe gets additional goodies—just like it does with the 2021 Arteon—including a 240-ish horsepower plug-in hybrid and a range-topping, 315-horsepower Tiguan R.
Driver assists include adaptive cruise control and a partially-autonomous system VW is calling Travel Assist. Travel Assist uses the ACC as well as lane-keep assist to keep the Tiguan travelling in the desired direction. It functions up to 130 mph, and can handle stop-and-go traffic. It uses touch detection in the redesigned steering wheel, so drivers will need to keep their hands on the wheel while using TA.
Volkswagen just posted an impressive top 10 finish in the 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. How all the touch controls might affect its spot will be something to keep an eye on. We’ve got a while to wait, though. The Euro-spec, short-wheelbase Tiguan will go on sale soon across the Atlantic. The US-bound long-wheelbase model, however, isn’t expected to arrive until autumn 2021. Expect pricing details closer to that time—so about a year from now.