Is the VW Tiguan Underpowered?

Style has always been a selling point of the Volkswagen Tiguan. And more recently, the VW Tiguan has become a stand out for its available technology too. But some might wonder, is the VW Tiguan underpowered?

What’s it like to drive the Tiguan?

The last redesign for the Tiguan was in 2018, and we are expecting another for the 2022 model year. That said, the 2021 Tiguan carries over most of the same elements from the previous version for better or worse.

In the U.S., the Tiguan only has one engine option. This is somewhat disappointing because European buyers get a performance-oriented version and a hybridized Tiguan. Maybe we will get these additional options for 2022, but for now, this compact SUV offers us a 184-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. 

The Tiguan’s performance isn’t one of its best attributes. U.S. News ranked the Tiguan in the middle of the 2020 compact SUV class mostly because of its pokey engine. Reviewers at U.S. News felt that the Tiguan is significantly underpowered off the line and especially during highway driving.

A blue 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan parked ion a grass lot.
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan | Volkswagen

Critics at Consumer Reports echoed the same sentiments. In CR’s 2020 road test, the Tiguan took 10.3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. This figure falls behind class rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and the Honda CR-V. Other reviewers miss the Tiguan’s original zippy performance, reminiscent of the famous VW Golf hatchback. 

Still, the Tiguan isn’t all bad performance-wise. Overall, it’s a comfortable ride, and it’s fairly responsive. The Tiguan is also pretty fuel-efficient and returns a combined 25 mpg. 

Cabin comforts 

comfortable tiguan front seats
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan | Interior

The Tiguan shines brighter on the inside. It has a minimalist interior with nice chrome finishings. Although, its cheaper plastic materials bring it down a notch. 

What makes the Tiguan more compelling is that it’s one of the few compact SUVs available with a third-row. It can seat up to seven in the third-row configuration and five in the two-row models. Unsurprisingly, the third-seat is best left for kids. Cloth seats come standard on the Tiguan, with VW’s leatherette seats and genuine leather available as options.

The Tiguan's sharp touchscreen at the center console.
2020 Tiguan infotainment display | Volkswagen

If you’re a tech lover, you’ll be pleased with the 2020 Tiguan’s offerings. It comes with a user-friendly 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and wifi connectivity. Upgrades include an 8-inch screen and a 12.3-inch digital cluster. 

The Tiguan’s active safety features contribute to its honor as a 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick. Standard safety equipment includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring. 

Additional things to consider 

A Volkswagen Tiguan on display at an auto show
2019 Volkswagen Tiguan | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Respected Critics Don’t Agree on the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas

Before you decide to purchase a Tiguan, you should know that it doesn’t have the same resale value as some of its competitors. It’s also important to note that the Tiguan is below-average regarding predicted reliability. CR gave the 2020 model a one out of five for reliability. There are also a few model years you should probably never buy used.