The sweet spot some buyers need. The Volkswagen Tiguan went through a complete overhaul in 2018, stretching its wheelbase and body and adding a third row. This additional length made the rear seats, which were unbearably tight in the previous generation, more tolerable, but this also resulted in the Tiguan becoming one of the largest compact crossovers on the market.
Despite its added length, the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan hits that sweet spot some buyers are looking for. Plus, its value in the lower trims is quite high with loads of premium goodies, surprisingly comfortable leatherette upholstery, and all the tech you’ll need.
Versatile interior. The longer-than-ever 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan delivers a roomy cabin for its class. This is especially true in the second row where the Tiguan has the versatility of a sliding bench seat that moves rearward to reveal up to 36.5 inches of leg room or forward to open up to 37.6 cubic feet of cargo room in all-wheel-drive models.
While these interior measurements aren’t as good as the Honda CR-V’s up to 75.8 cubes of cargo room and 40.4 inches of second-row leg room, the Tiguan beats the Jeep Cherokee’s 54.9 cubic feet of cargo room and matches the Toyota RAV4’s 37.6 cubes of space behind the second row.
Where the Tiguan sets itself apart in the compact crossover class is its standard third-row seat. While its 27.9 inches of leg room and 33.8 inches of head room are best suited for children, the added flexibility is a nice touch. The downside is these extra seats gobble up 4.6 cubic feet of cargo space, making the Tiguan seriously deficient in this important measurable. If you prefer cargo room over the third row of seats, the AWD Tiguan doesn't include them.
Plenty of tech but not overwhelming. The 2019 VW Tiguan has plenty of standard tech for the average buyer. The standout in this area is its slick and easy-to-use infotainment system that comes standard with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Need a bigger screen? Bumping up to the SE trim increases the screen size to eight inches.
Speaking of the SE trim, its $27,690 starting price (destination fees included) is just $2,400 more than the base S trim. For that added cash, you get keyless ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring.
To get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the CR-V, you have to pay $28,295 for the EX trim. However, other competitors like the RAV4, Cherokee, and Subaru Forester have standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Confident drive with a big appetite. The Tiguan delivers confident footing on the road and its AWD variants are great in slippery conditions. Plus, its 2.0-liter engine’s 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque are plenty to get the Tiguan up and moving.
Ride quality is also top-notch. It easily glides over moderate-size potholes with confidence, even with its optional 20-inch wheels and thin-sidewall tires. Tight door seals and ample sound deadening keeps wind and road noise to a minimum, making the Tiguan feel like a proper German-engineered crossover.
If there's a downside to the Tiguan’s drivability, it’s the standard eight-speed automatic transmission. While it’s nice to have a traditional transmission with plenty of cogs to choose from, this unit hunts for gears in town, resulting in frequent and jarring shifts.
Fuel economy is also not great at an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon city, 29 mpg highway, and 25 combined. This comes up well short of the Chevrolet Equinox at 28 mpg combined, CR-V at 30 mpg combined, and even the all-wheel-drive Forester at 29 mpg combined.
Final thoughts. The Volkswagen Tiguan isn't without its flaws – lower fuel economy, a quickly escalating price tag, and a larger footprint. But, its balance of passenger and cargo room makes it a Goldilocks compact crossover for some buyers. For most compact crossovers buyers, though, it may be worthwhile to opt for the AWD model, which skips the third row and enhances cargo capacity, or kick up to VW’s roomier three-row SUV, the Atlas.
The competition is fierce in this class. Buyers looking for more cargo room will find it in the CR-V, which offers up to 75.8 cubic feet of max room. Want fuel economy? The CR-V’s 30 mpg combined is a good option. If off-roading is your thing, the Forester’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-MODE with hill-descent control is a great pick.