Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Volkswagen Tiguan 2022 review: 132TSI Life

The Tiguan's facelift in 2020 is one of the few instances where the styling is actually improved. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Daily driver score

4/5

Urban score

4/5

Volkswagen’s biggest selling vehicle line globally as well as locally isn’t the Golf or Polo, but the Tiguan.

A latecomer to the medium SUV party when launched in Australia during 2008, the Golf small-car based high-riding crossover that combines ‘tiger’ with ‘iguana’ for a name hit its stride when the second-generation version of 2016 grew in size, space and scope, to more effectively take on the Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.

Offered in German-built regular size and (since 2018) Mexican-made long-wheelbase Allspace with 5+2-seating capability, this is the Tiguan that really struck a chord with consumers worldwide.

Earlier in 2021, VW released the facelifted version of the former, bringing with it a more contemporary/less bland nose treatment among other smaller visual titivations, as well as an updated interior, improved safety and revised model grades.

Let’s see if all that is enough to keep the Tiguan competitive in the face of continuously evolving competition.

Volkswagen’s biggest selling vehicle line globally is the Tiguan. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) Volkswagen’s biggest selling vehicle line globally is the Tiguan. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Rather surprisingly for some, yes, especially if you desire a German SUV with premium-brand aspirations.

The MY22 Tiguan range kicks off from $41,490 before on-road costs for the 110TSI Life with a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine driving the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) dubbed DSG in VW-speak. No manual gearbox is available, sadly.

Our Tiguan is the least expensive of the all-wheel-drive models, the 132TSI Life 4Motion with a 132kW/320Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo powertrain upgrade. From $45,490 (MSRP), our car had a $5000 Luxury pack and $800 metallic paint - Dolphin Grey in this case - pushing the as-tested price beyond $50K before on-road costs.

Standard Life items include LED headlights, keyless entry/start, an 8.0-inch touchscreen offering satellite navigation, voice/gesture control, App-Connect including wired and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto phone mirroring, digital instrumentation, three-zone climate control with rear-seat controls and outlets, electric tailgate, automatic headlights and wipers, heated/electrically folding exterior mirrors and 18-inch alloy wheels (with a space-saver spare).

Featuring an 8.0-inch touchscreen. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) Featuring an 8.0-inch touchscreen. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

On the safety front all Tiguans include seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian/cyclist monitoring, lane-departure warning and keep, adaptive cruise control with full stop/go, rear cross-traffic alert/assist, park assist (that steers the car automatically when manoeuvring into a spot), front/rear parking sensors, driver-fatigue monitor, rear-view camera, high-beam assist and “360° Proactive Occupant Protection” that provides additional braking post-impact amongst other accident-mitigation precautions.

Luxury pack goodies include a three-spoke heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, bolstered ‘sports’ front seats with heating, electric driver’s seat adjustment (including for lumbar support) with memory settings, panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery and more.  

The Tiguan 132TSI Life comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The Tiguan 132TSI Life comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

For items like adaptive dampers, matrix LED headlights, sequential indicators, a 9.2-inch touchscreen, ambient interior lighting, tinted rear glass, ritzier trim and19-inch alloys, you’ll need to step up to the Elegance 162TSI grade from $52,990, complete with a healthy 162kW/350Nm 2.0-litre engine up-tune.

The Elegance can also be had with a 147kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel for $1500 extra, a $2500 Sound and Vision pack ushering in a head-up display, Harmon Kardon audio upgrade and 360-degree surround-view camera, and a $3000 R-Line pack. The latter brings a body kit with unique bumpers, stainless steel pedals, black cabin trim, variable-ratio steering and a steering wheel with haptic feedback buttons, though the so-called ‘easy open/close’ aspect of the electric tailgate is withdrawn for some reason. Maybe it’s due to the restyled rear bumper.

Returning to our 132TSI Life 4Motion with Luxury pack, it is up against similarly-priced and powered but (largely) better-equipped AWD rivals like the $51,000 Hyundai Tucson Highlander Turbo N-Line, $50,190 Mazda CX-5 GT, $49,370 Kia Sportage GT-Line 1.6T, $48,000 Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid and $44,190 Subaru Forester 2.5i-S.

Against most of these, obvious omissions in the VW include a head-up display and digital radio, but it certainly doesn’t look or feel left behind from an ambience or quality point of view; in fact, even the lowly 132TSI manages to better reduce the gap between mainstream and luxury branded like-sized alternatives such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Lexus NX.

Consistently buoyant sales suggest buyers are willing to pay a little extra for the Tiguan’s premiumnness, even at the cost of some features. After a week behind the wheel of one, we see why.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

Handsomely angular and boxy, the Tiguan II has aged well over the years.

With its fashionable hockey-stick shaped LED lighting, restyled bumpers and bolder grille, we’d even argue that the facelift has given the midsized German a more interesting as well as modern visage. We like it.

Note also the freshly minted alloy design, LED tail-lights and revised and repositioned badging that is now in the modish two-dimensional format. VW is keen to distance itself from the diesel-emissions scandal and so apparently restyling your logos helps people forget.

The Tiguan is angular and boxy. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The Tiguan is angular and boxy. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

How practical is the space inside?

It’s easy to see the enduring appeal of the second-generation Tiguan from the moment you first approach one on the showroom floor.

Large doors open to a big, airy cabin, ahead of a solid if sober-looking dashboard that ticks all the boxes.

The Luxury pack’s front seats are sumptuously comfortable, especially for the driver, since they offer endless permutations of adjustability at just a prod of a button. Whether we’re talking about thigh or lumbar support, the Tiguan’s got your… err, back. Even after long spells on them, what might initially seem firm end up holding you in nice and cosy.

The Luxury pack’s front seats are sumptuously comfortable. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The Luxury pack’s front seats are sumptuously comfortable. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Reassuringly good all-round vision, plenty of storage, ample ventilation, simple controls and easy reach of all switchgear are further Tiguan bonuses, highlighting how naturally friendly and inviting this interior is. Intimidation and confusion be damned!

We’re rarely fans of buttonless climate control systems as they often require more concentration and provide greater distraction than simple levers and buttons, but there’s minimal fiddling around in the VW’s case. We’re also pleased to see good old-fashioned turn knobs for audio volume and station seek (missing in grades with the larger screen). Sliders can be infuriating.

Though a few years old now, the Tiguan’s cabin ambience remains a strong suit. The daftly named Digital Cockpit Pro’s electronically variable instrumentation provide a dazzlingly modern touch for first-time beholders, as does the adequately-sized 8.0-inch touchscreen and its fast response to inputs. Connecting the Bluetooth system is child’s play while the wireless smartphone mirroring occurs seamlessly.

Note, however, that the gesture control is a bit hit-and-miss while no digital radio is fitted.

It’s no chore getting out back either.

The VW is one of the few medium-sized SUVs that offer rear seats that slide and recline – a corollary of the longer-wheelbase Tiguan Allspace that needs this functionality for third-row access. In the regular sized version, the cushions are well padded, the backrest supportive, and due to their adjustability, most people ought to find some level of satisfaction sitting on them.

The VW is one of the few medium-sized SUVs that offer rear seats that slide and recline. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The VW is one of the few medium-sized SUVs that offer rear seats that slide and recline. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Rear seat room is generous, while deep windows and a minimally impeded view ahead helps with a sense of spaciousness. A USB-C port, 12V outlet, temperature control, rear-facing air vents, flocked door bins capable of holding the biggest bottles, back windows that wind all the way down (fun for Fido), adjustable reading lights, front seat-back device holders, cupholders set within the centre armrest and a 60/40 sliding and reclining rear bench further add to the sense of premium.

The Tiguan features rear-facing air vents. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The Tiguan features rear-facing air vents. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

This is as accommodating as you’d hope a medium SUV to be, and probably the biggest reason why you might consider a Tiguan over the smaller but closely related T-Roc.

Further back, the cargo area is equally user-friendly, starting with the easily-accessed electric tailgate that offers the choice of operating it either from the driver’s seat or from the back itself.

The cargo area is equally user-friendly. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The cargo area is equally user-friendly. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

With a big aperture and long, flat and wide floor, loading is simple, with a 615-litre capacity that increases to a handy 1655L with the 40:20:40 backrests folded – something that can be easily achieved thanks to release handles accessible from the rear of the car. The middle one also provides useful in-cabin access for longer items, while there’s additional small storage under the floor beside the space-saver spare wheel.

Finally, it’s worth noting, too, that the fit and finish is first class. We’d have no qualms about taking a nap back there. Thought’s gone into this cabin and it shows.

Capacity increases to 1655L with backrests folded. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) Capacity increases to 1655L with backrests folded. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

VW’s 1984cc 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder petrol unit is one of the midsized SUV class’ great engines, offering an appealing blend of performance and economy,

As the 132TSI badge suggests, it delivers 132kW of power at 6000rpm and 320Nm of torque between 1500-3900rpm, and features start/stop technology to help preserve fuel and cut emissions, especially in heavy traffic. This engine is rated for Euro-6.

The Tiguan has a 1984cc 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder petrol unit. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The Tiguan has a 1984cc 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder petrol unit. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

The wet-clutch DSG DCT remains one of the better examples of the breed, with an easily accessible ‘Sport’ mode as well as a ‘Manual’ mode. As we’ve pointed out in the past, it won’t hold a gear at the red line as in some rivals, but it still involves the driver in the experience thanks to the Luxury pack’s paddle shifters.

The 4Motion AWD system consists of an electronically-controlled multi-plate ‘Haldex’ clutch, which directs drive in varying amounts from the front wheels to the rears as required for maximum traction and driveability. The rear axle, by the way, is a multi-link arrangement, while the front suspension consists of MacPherson-style struts.

The 132TSI 4Motion's zero to 100km/h time is about 7.7 seconds.

How much fuel does it consume?

Our week in the Tiguan was marked by high-speed rural driving and heavy traffic, so its 10.2L/100km result ascertained at the petrol pump isn’t as high as it might sound. It’s actually pretty good for a 1600kg-plus medium-sized SUV, and better than we managed in the latest Golf 110TSI with a torque-converter automatic.

Requiring 95 RON premium unleaded petrol, the 132TSI’s official combined average is 8.8L/100km, which equates to a carbon dioxide emissions rating of 200 grams/km. Armed with a 60-litre fuel tank, this means it has a theoretical range of around 680km.

The 132TSI’s official combined average is 8.8L/100km. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The 132TSI’s official combined average is 8.8L/100km. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

Tested during 2016 using a left-hand-drive diesel model not sold in Australia, the Tiguan offers an ANCAP crash-test rating of five stars. No retesting was required for this facelifted model as there was no generational change, so the historical result carries over.

On the safety front, you’ll find seven airbags (dual front, side, curtain and one for the driver’s knees), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB – operable at highway speeds) with pedestrian and cyclist monitoring, adaptive cruise control with stop/go functionality, lane support systems, driver fatigue detection, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitor, rear view camera, front/rear sensors and tyre-pressure alert.

The Tiguan offers an ANCAP crash-test rating of five stars. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) The Tiguan offers an ANCAP crash-test rating of five stars. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

These are on top of the ABS anti-lock brakes, emergency brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assist and multi-collision braking.

Two rear-seat ISOFIX points as well as three tethers for straps across the back of the rear seats are fitted.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Volkswagen offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and one year’s worth of roadside assistance. Service intervals are at 12 months or 15,000km.

This is all standard fare nowadays, but behind the best (Mitsubishi’s conditional 10-year warranty and seven years for Kia, Haval, SsangYong and MG).

Capped price servicing is available, with years one to five starting at $428, $884, $428, $1535 and $428 per annum/15,000km (whichever comes first) respectively, for a total cost from $3703, or alternatively pre-purchase your Tiguan servicing at $1200 for the first three years or $2400 for five years.

Volkswagen offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) Volkswagen offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

What's it like to drive around town?

The Tiguan 132TSI 4Motion DSG drives exactly like what it is – the previous-generation Golf (Mk7/7.5) with a bigger and heavier body and AWD.

Around town, there’s a moment’s hesitation before the turbo kicks in and the DSG’s lag is overcome. At lower speeds or crawling in heavy traffic, the DSG behaviour can be a little like an on/off switch, especially if you’re in a hurry, with nothing at first and then suddenly everything all at once, making it disappointingly jerky unless you really feather that accelerator.

That said, once you’re on your way, the 2.0-litre four-pot turbo engine is a gem, digging deep to provide a decent level of urge across the whole rev range, for fast, stirring performance.

Plus, there’s quite a seductive, creamy smoothness to the way it operates, especially out on the open road, where at speed, it really powers along with seamless ease. Like we said, this is one of the best combustion engine choices in this class over the past decade.

That’s all in regular mode. Selecting the two Sport modes (engine and DCT separately), and the ratios are held on for longer up on the rev counter, and kick down a gear or two quicker, for an extra punch of power. This can get a bit tiring in urban settings, though, so best to choose the milder settings and rely on the 2.0-litre turbo’s ample, accessible wad of torque.

A note on the adaptive cruise control too – it's one of the best we've experienced in stop/start traffic, providing gentle and timely acceleration and braking as required to keep things flowing. On the other hand, the lane-keep system's interventions are a bit sudden. A bit more finessing wouldn't go astray here.

While nowhere near as supernaturally nuanced as the latest Golf Mk8 we drove recently, the MY22 Tiguan’s dynamic behaviour keeps it at the pointy end of its segment.

VW’s engineers have weighted the steering just right, pleasing both commuters who just want relaxing, easy car whether cornering fast or parking in tight places, as well as keener drivers who long to explore the (high) levels of handling, roadholding and grip that the German midsizer offers.

VW’s engineers have weighted the steering just right. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis) VW’s engineers have weighted the steering just right. (image credit: Byron Mathioudakis)

Aided by the 4Motion AWD system’s variable torque distribution between the front and rear axles, the 132TSI behaves in a safe and secure way regardless of weather or road conditions, going precisely where it’s pointed to without drama or concern. It will stick to the road and respond to your inputs in a faithful and transparent manner, backed up by strong and effective brakes. The harder you drive this VW, the more you come to appreciate the depth of engineering going on.

One area where we expected the Tiguan to suffer is in ride quality, but the suspension deals with bad road surfaces well. There’s an overall firmness to the way it traverses bumps and humps, but the ride isn’t harsh or crashy.

Plus, with 12mm of extra ground clearance (at 201mm), the 4Motion-equipped 132TSI covers gravel roads with stupendous ease, aided by the Off-Road mode, which provides a gentler power delivery to reduce skittishness over looser surfaces.

Overall, then, the Tiguan is a little laggy at take-off speeds, but then settles into being an undemanding, safe and rewarding driving experience, particularly out on fast, flowing open roads.

In 132TSI 4Motion guise at least, it appears that VW's medium-sized SUV is getting better with age.

The Tiguan’s enduring appeal is understandable. It looks great, feels good inside and exudes a sense of quality.

In 132TSI 4Motion guise, it also has the performance, agility and control to back this up, keeping the German SUV in real contention, even against newer foes. The facelift seems to have improved an already impressive proposition.

There is a price premium for the privilege compared to more mainstream rivals like the ever-popular Toyota RAV4, but the cheapest AWD version of the Tiguan has enough talent to scare a few lower-specification luxury alternatives.

If you're in the market for a quality Euro midsized SUV, the 132TSI 4Motion Life with Luxury pack ought to be on your shortlist.

$44,590

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4/5

Urban score

4/5
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.