2019 Volkswagen Tiguan

By September 11, 2019

Within the category of smaller crossover SUVs, the second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan stands out for its roomy cabin. Available as a five- or as a seven-seater, the 2019 Tiguan was redesigned for 2018, and continues into 2019 unchanged. Six trim levels are available: S, SE, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line.

Every Tiguan is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which develops 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The turbo-4 mates with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is an option.

All Tiguans except the base S model come with forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking that incorporates pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitors. Those valuable safety features are available for S trim, in a $450 Driver Assistance package. The SEL trim level adds adaptive cruise control. Active lane control, automatic high-beam headlights, and parking sensors are included with SEL Premium versions.

Crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety resulted in top “Good” ratings in each category, but headlight performance denied it a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet completed safety testing. 

Third-row seating is standard in front-drive Tiguans and optional with all-wheel drive. The small seats are intended for small passengers only.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $995 destination charge.

The 2019 VW Tiguan S ($24,295 with front-drive, $25,595 with all-wheel drive) includes cloth upholstery, a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, cruise control, LED taillights, heated power mirrors, automatic headlights, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Front-drive models have three-row seating.

SE ($26,695 with FWD, $27,995 with 4Motion AWD) substitutes an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and adds keyless ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and synthetic leather upholstery. Standard safety features include forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

SEL ($31,795 with FWD, $33,095 with 4Motion AWD) adds navigation, a digital instrument cluster, panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, 18-inch wheels, and a power liftgate.

SEL R-Line ($33,645 with FWD, $34,945 with 4Motion AWD) adds black trim pieces. During the 2019 model year, production of the regular SEL R-Line was superseded by the SEL R-Line Black edition.

SEL R-Line Black ($33,695 with FWD, $34,995 with 4Motion AWD) comes with 19-inch black alloy wheels and black exterior trim.

SEL Premium with 4Motion AWD ($37,195) gets 19-inch wheels, power-folding mirrors, a hands-free power liftgate, active lane control, a surround-view camera system, parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, Fender audio, and leather upholstery.

SEL Premium R-Line with 4Motion AWD ($38,895) is equipped similar to SEL Premium above, but adds R-Line appearance features and 20-inch wheels.

Exterior

Some compact crossover SUVs are boldly styled. Others demonstrate restraint in design. Volkswagen’s Tiguan falls into the latter category. Its clean and simple lines present a simple shape that looks as roomy as it is.

Measuring about 185 inches long overall, Tiguan ranks among the largest compact crossovers. In most versions, the wide, somewhat squat grille is bracketed by halogen headlights. Tiguans in SEL Premium trim get LED headlights.

A long wheelbase – nearly 110 inches – allows for large doors that ease entry and exit. Standard LED taillights sit high on the fenders and liftgate.

Interior

Space is plentiful for everyone, as long as they’re limited to the first and second rows. In addition to seat comfort and excellent outward views, the Tiguan excels in real-world utility.

Front seats are firm and supportive, with lumbar support and helpful adjustments. Big doors provide excellent entry into and exiting from the second row. Its bench slides forward and rearward to increase either passenger legroom or cargo space. With the bench all the way rearward, legroom is bountiful. The available third-row seat is best for youngsters.

Low and carlike, the dashboard echoes the simple design theme of the Tiguan’s exterior. Front door panels and the dashboard feature soft-touch, low-sheen surfaces. 

Materials are appropriate for the Tiguan’s price. The standard cloth upholstery, in S models, feels tough and grippy. The synthetic leather in SE and SEL trim appears durable and easy to clean. SEL Premium versions get genuine leather.

Cargo capacity excels. In a five-passenger Tiguan, sliding the bench seat forward expands volume to 48.6 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

A soft, well-composed ride is part of the Tiguan picture, thanks not only to its suspension but to the long (109.8-inch) wheelbase. Even with 20-inch tires, a Tiguan is unfazed by undulating pavement.

Tiguans handle with confident poise. Light, quick steering imparts a sense of security on curvy roads. Sport mode adds some heft to the steering, but doesn’t increase road feel appreciably. At highway speeds, drivers can expect excellent straight-line stability, as well as subdued wind and road noise.

Optional all-wheel drive provides surefooted traction for dirt roads and harsh weather. Despite 7.9 inches of ground clearance and long overhangs, the Tiguan isn’t intended for hardcore off-roading or rocky trails.

The Tiguan’s turbo-4 engine has no surplus of vigor. Power does build quickly when starting off, but acceleration qualifies as leisurely. The transmission sometimes is reluctant to downshift for highway passing, in the name of fuel economy.

That economy checks in at 21/29 mpg City/Highway, 24 mpg Combined with all-wheel drive. Front-drive raises estimates slightly, to 22/29/25 mpg. All Tiguans use regular gasoline.

Final Word

The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan has good value and an excellent warranty to go with its ample interior space and confident handling. The Tiguan SE with all-wheel drive provides the most crossover benefits for its price.

 

Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.