The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Is Built for Comfort Not Speed

The Volkswagen Tiguan was introduced in 2007 as the German automaker’s second crossover SUV. The first-generation Tiguan was built on the PQ46 platform. In 2016, Volkswagen released the second-generation Tiguan on its MQB platform. The SUV’s name was picked from a naming contest and is a portmanteau of the German words “tiger” and “iguana.” It became the best-selling SUV in Europe, reaching 6 million units sold in the spring of 2020. The Tiguan has become Volkswagen’s most successful vehicle in its lineup.

The Volkswagen Tiguan has long suffered from low reliability

The Volkswagen Tiguan receives fairly modest ratings across the board. Consumer Reports (CR) gave it a road test score of 84/100 but only a score of 2/5 for both predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction. Things like transmission, routine handling, emergency handling, headlights, and breaking earned a score of 4/5. According to CR, the Tiguan has suffered in the area of owner satisfaction since the first model debuted in 2009—the model year with the most reported issues.

In early 2020, CR gave the VW Tiguan a very poor expected reliability score of 1/5, causing it to only get a score of 61/100. The 2017 and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan were plagued with body integrity issues, including wind noise, rattles, squeaks, water leaks, and loose or cracked seals. CR’s reviewers also noted that the engine revs loudly and has sluggish acceleration. On the positive side, the Volkswagen Tiguan has long been praised for its fuel economy, good visibility, easy access, roomy interior, and user-friendly controls. 

In addition to those things, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the SUV high safety scores.

One of the biggest SUVs in its segment

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Despite some negative press surrounding expected reliability and body integrity, the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan proves itself a contender in other areas. For example, though it got its start as one of the smallest compact SUVs on the market, it’s matured into one of the biggest in its segment. Drivers appreciate great outward visibility while passengers enjoy sufficient interior space. As CR put it, “It has lost a bit of the youthful demeanor of its predecessor with this newfound space, but it remains one of the better-handling small SUVs.”

The 2021 model is 185 inches long, which is 11 inches longer than the previous generation, 4.0 inches longer than the 2021 Honda CR-V, and 2 inches longer than the Chevy Equinox. Volkswagen took advantage of this added length by offering an optional third-row seat. Nevertheless, the third-row seat comes standard with front-wheel-drive models of the Tiguan. On top of that, Volkswagen succeeded in boosting the 2021 VW Tiguan’s fuel economy to 25 mpg on average using regular gasoline. These strengths allow it to keep its head above water, so to speak, despite having bad predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction.

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the most fuel-efficient five-door crossovers

CR reveals that the secret behind the Volkswagen Tiguan’s fuel economy is its 2.0-liter 184-hp four-cylinder engine. Therefore, it’s pointless for some reviewers to complain about its lack of acceleration; it’s designed to be efficient and affordable to drive, not to be taken to the track. It’s one of the slowest SUVs in its segment, taking 10 excruciating seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph. If you’re a speed junky, you might doze off before it gets there. However, if you’re ready to trade in the radar detector for a baby seat, the 2021 Tiguan is perfect. 

CR lauded the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan for having “ample power at modest speeds” and for being “enjoyable to drive and secure when it’s pushed.” Its stance firmly grips the pavement and absorbs bumps decently, a feature that rear passengers should cherish. Even though the front seats only have two-way power lumbar adjustments, they’re cozy and comfortable. The second-row seat is quite spacious, but CR stated that its optional third-row “is cramped and best suited as a kid’s time-out zone.”

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan provides buyers with a fairly decent five-door crossover SUV for a starting MSRP of $25,245. If you’re willing to spend close to $40,000, the SEL Premium R-Line provides a Fender Premium Audio System, the R-Line design (interior and exterior), a power passenger seat, among many other things.

However, CR claims that the SE trim offers the “best bang for the buck.” It may not be up there with a Lexus or BMW, but it includes a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, automatic climate control, and an eight-inch touch-screen infotainment system. If the SE model is still too pricey, don’t worry—Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is offered standard across all trims.