2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

By January 18, 2021

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan crossover is spacious and affordable, and it’s designed and priced for the heart of the American compact SUV segment.

For 2021 the Tiguan gets a handful of new standard features for a few trims, including adaptive cruise control for the SE model.

For now, the lone powertrain remains a 184-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 that gets mated to an 8-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive optional. Gas mileage is rated at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined for a front-drive version and 20/27/23 mpg for an all-wheel-drive model.

Safety equipment standard on every Tiguan includes automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. Adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic high beams are all available or standard on the upper trims.

The IIHS gave the Tiguan a Top Safety Pick award for acing all its crash tests. The NHTSA handed the crossover a four-star rating for rollover protection and a five-star overall rating.

Model Lineup

The Tiguan starts things off with the $26,440 S trim, which includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cloth upholstery, LED lights, and three USB ports. A third row of seating is also standard on front-drive models.

The $28,590 SE adds automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, keyless start, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Adaptive cruise control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and wireless smartphone charging come standard as well.

The SE R-Line is $31,790. Unique features to this model are largely aesthetic, including the trim, 20-inch wheels, and badging. It also gets a panoramic roof and parking assist.

The priciest model is the $33,740 SEL. Its standard features include digital instrumentation, a power liftgate, and automatic wipers.

For $40,290, the SEL Premium combines the visuals of the SE R-Line with the equipment of the SEL while also adding leather upholstery, fender audio, adaptive headlights, a surround-view camera system, and other luxuries.


Sleek and restrained, the Tiguan plays it cool when it comes to styling. The sober demeanor is appropriately German; it’s no surprise this stoic Volkswagen comes from the same conglomerate that designs and builds Audis. Lots of straight lines, a simple three-bar grille of modest size, and a general lack of gingerbread provide the Tiguan’s spare, tasteful look.

This VW doesn’t have the playful charm of some throwback-style SUV, but it is charmingly subtle. Plenty of people still want something that’s quietly handsome, and the Tiguan should have no trouble satisfying that crowd.


The Tiguan has a tasteful, elegant interior crafted from quality materials; it’s all business.
The standard infotainment system is a 6.5-inch touchscreen, but an 8.0-inch touchscreen graces most trims. Both size screens get standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; navigation is available on the larger of the two.

The Tiguan gets excellent front seats across the board; all versions are nicely bolstered for lateral support and employ a firm but comfortable cushion. Don’t expect to find cooled seats at this price point, but heated seats are standard or available across most of the range.

Some 38.7 inches of leg room makes the back seat a spacious place. The same can’t be said for the third-row seat; there’s a reason why so few compact crossovers even offer a third row, and it’s because the footprint of these vehicles can’t accommodate yet another row of passengers. Even the large-for-the-segment Tiguan only musters 27.9 inches of leg room back there.

Cargo space is a more appropriate mission for the Tiguan. Like its bigger brother, the Atlas, the Tiguan is one of the roomier models in its segment; the 73.5 cubic feet of total cargo space is just two cubes shy of the segment-leading Honda CR-V and better than most other competitors. Behind the second row buyers will find 37.6 cubic feet of cargo area to work with, which is also on the roomier end of the segment.

Driving Impressions

The Tiguan is competent, if not so thrilling. Volkswagen engineers gave the Tiguan a nicely tightened-up suspension that does a commendable job at tackling corners, but the fun VWs continue to wear a GLI or GTI badge.

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 184 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, but the turbo can lag at city speeds. The 8-speed automatic shifts invisibly. This powertrain stays in its lane.

The Tiguan’s most impressive feat is always maintaining an unfussy ride despite offering wheels as large as 20 inches. Bumps and potholes are dealt with in an easy, unobtrusive manner. The way in which the Tiguan treats road imperfections is suggestive of more luxurious cars.

Final Word

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan offers crossover SUV buyers a spacious, comfortable, and pleasant vehicle with a spare and elegant style. It’s priced well, and most models come with all the features an entry-level buyer will want. Our choice is the value-laden 2021 Tiguan SE.


—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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