Finally looks good. The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan enters the new model year with updated exterior styling. The refreshed look gives the Tiguan a much more exciting design that finally sees the Tiguan go from being boring to being something far more exciting. Don’t expect the Tiguan to draw more eyes than the Mazda CX-5, but it’s better than before.

On the outside, the Tiguan receives new front and rear bumpers, while the SUV’s grille has been updated. The SUV now features standard LED headlights with updated LED daytime running lights. At the back, Volkswagen has placed the “Tiguan” badge underneath the VW logo in the middle of the liftgate. New wheel designs and a few new colors round out the changes for the 2022 model year.

Updated cabin and tech. For the 2022 refresh, Volkswagen also brightened up the Tiguan’s cabin and added more standard features. The Tiguan’s cabin is available with new colors, while heated seats are standard throughout the entire lineup. On every trim beside the base S, the Tiguan trades its physical center console controls for touch-sensitive ones that can be tricky to use on the move. They look cool and we should add that they have well-defined indentations and strong haptic feedback, but traditional controls would be nicer.

Unlike last year, the 2022 Tiguan now comes with an eight-inch digital instrument cluster as standard equipment, though the central touchscreen measures in at a small 6.5 inches. Other new optional features for the Tiguan include a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster with Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit Pro system, and wireless smartphone compatibility. While these features are nice, we wish VW would’ve upgraded the optional eight-inch touchscreen. Competitors like the Hyundai Tucson offer two 10.25-inch screens.

All but the base trims also get an upgrade on the safety front. Every trim beside the base S comes with Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive system as standard equipment. The suite includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a semi-autonomous driving mode called Travel Assist. On the base S trim, the IQ.Drive system is an $895 upgrade.

Three available rows. The Tiguan is one of the few compact SUVs in the class to be available with three rows of seating. Oddly, VW only offers three rows of seats in Tiguans with front-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive models are only available as two-row models. As one would expect, the Tiguan has two rows of roomy seating, while the third row, which offers 27.9 inches of legroom, is best suited for children.

While two-row Tiguan’s lose an entire row of seating, the second-row seats are more spacious than in three-row models. Without the third row, two-row models offer an additional two inches of legroom. Unless you plan on regularly needing to use the third row of seats, we recommend going with the two-row model for its extra-spacious second-row.

Cargo capacity in the Tiguan depends on how many seats the SUV is fitted with. Two-row Tiguans offer more space than their three-row counterparts and an above-average amount of cargo capacity for the segment. Behind the rear seats, the two-row Tiguan offers up to 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space. That figure swells to 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. Three-row models have 12 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, and a total of 65.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Cargo capacity is another reason to choose the two-row model.

Average performer. Volkswagen offers the Tiguan with a single powertrain. The compact SUV features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 184 horsepower. While the turbo-four engine is fine for city use, it struggles to get up to speed on the highway. The Tiguan also posts a lackluster zero-to-60 mph time compared to others in the class. The good news is that the Tiguan’s standard eight-speed automatic transmission provides smooth shifts.

In addition to having less power than most of its rivals, the Tiguan also posts below-average fuel economy figures. With front-wheel drive, the Tiguan is rated to get up to 26 mpg combined, while four-wheel-drive models lose 1 mpg combined.

On a curvy road, the Tiguan feels poised and plenty capable. Still, with its gentle ride and softly sprung suspension, the Tiguan is more prepared for a relaxed jaunt than canyon carving.

Final thoughts. The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan goes from being a mid-level compact SUV to something that’s far more appealing. The compact SUV lacks the punch, fuel economy figures, and easy-to-use controls as its rivals. Still, the Tiguan’s polished ride, stylish design, and available third row of seats are enough to win some consumers over.

The Mazda CX-5 is the sportiest SUV of the bunch. It’s available with a 256-horsepower engine, offers agile handling, and features a high-end look. While slower than the Tiguan, the Hyundai Tucson is packed with tech features, has a daring design, and posts impressive fuel economy figures.

Check prices for the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan »