2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Review: Sufficiently Average

by Deiondre van der Merwe

The 2020 Tiguan is driving proof of Volkswagen's "why fix it if it isn't broken" attitude, with subtle refinements and minor new additions made to the seven-seater. The whole range is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that goes hand in hand with a traditional eight-speed automatic transmission and delivers a total of 184 horsepower. The compact crossover is certainly one of the most popular SUVs on the block worldwide with the five-millionth Tiguan leaving the assembly line at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg plant in 2019. Yes, there are more Tiguans on the road than there are people in New Zealand. Classy design and great standard tech are some notable merits of the Tiguan, but are they enough for the SUV to maintain its strong position amongst other rapidly developing models like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V?

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Changes: πŸš™What’s the difference vs 2019 Tiguan?

The 2020 Tiguan delivers minor changes, none of them mechanical. Social media influencers rejoice; a Wi-Fi hotspot comes standard and wireless charging is available from the SE trim and above. We see the addition of the SE R-Line Black trim, featuring black 20-inch alloy wheels, black-accented R-Line bumpers, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, and a black headliner, and the SEL also gets bumped up a notch with the inclusion of a heated steering wheel and auto-dimming rearview mirror. Add in some extra safety features in the form of standard collision-avoidance technology with a blind-spot warning system and automatic braking, and you have a relatively well-rounded, albeit unvarying, recipe for a modern SUV.

Pros and Cons

  • Third-row seating available
  • Spacious interior
  • Minimalist and sophisticated design
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Award
  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Underwhelming engine performance
  • Additional options are expensive
  • Subpar fuel economy
  • Warranty shortened from 72,000 miles coverage to 50,000 miles

Tiguan Exterior

There isn't much variation to the outside of the Tiguan compared to its 2018-2019 predecessors; aside from the new SE R-Line Black trim that brings a sportier appearance with a stylish set of black 20-inch alloy wheels, black-accented bumpers, and black badging, emphasizing more aggressive styling in line with the likes of the Golf R. The base model Tiguan S comes fitted with standard 17-inch alloy wheels and bigger, 19-inch wheels are added to the SEL. LED daytime running lights grace all the models from base to most expensive.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Front View Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Rear View Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Side View Volkswagen
See All 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Tiguan is quite hefty on the exterior end of things with a length of 185.1 inches and a voluptuous width of 72.4 inches. The Tiguan has a slightly longer wheelbase than its competitors, measuring in at 109.8 inches, compared to the general length of between 104 and 106 inches, which is common in the segment. It's worth noting that "bigger" and "more spacious" inevitably means it's a little on the chunky side, with the FWD Tiguan weighing in at 3,757 pounds and the 4WD model coming to a total of 3,858 lbs, one of the heavier options in its segment. The Honda CR-V appears to be focusing on its summer body with over 400 lbs of weight shed in comparison to the Tiguan.

Exterior Colors

A total of seven exterior hues are available for the 2020 Tiguan, with limited availability based on trim. The S model gets access to five of these with options of Silk Blue Metallic, Pure White, Platinum Gray Metallic, Deep Black Pearl, and Pyrite Silver Metallic. R-Line models add the availability of Stone Blue Metallic, but the SE R-Line Black does without both this and Silk Blue. Standard SE and SEL models get access to the widest range of options, adding the striking Cardinal Red Metallic to the external palette.

  • Deep Black Pearl
  • Pure White
  • Pyrite Silver Metallic
  • Platinum Gray Metallic
  • Silk Blue Metallic
  • Stone Blue Metallic
  • Cardinal Red Metallic

Tiguan Performance

When it comes to performance, the Tiguan is respectable, but not exciting. It's the one you bring home to your mother when you know she isn't going to approve of the one you really want.

One of the weaker points of the Tiguan is its sluggish engine. FWD models have achieved 0-60 mph times of 8.2 seconds in real-world testing, with the 4Motion-equipped versions taking 9.1 seconds to achieve the same metric (guess all those expensive and sporty trims are just for Instagram). All models push out a total of 184 hp and you shouldn't expect to reach a top speed faster than 140 mph. The various models are available with either front-wheel drive or 4Motion all-wheel drivetrain options. The 4Motion in the Tiguan means all four wheels show up to work, bright and early - only to inevitably make the car heavier and even slower.

The Tiguan's torque is slightly better than its competitors, though, with 221 lb-ft of torque to boast versus the RAV4's 184 lb-ft, and the CR-V's 179 lb-ft figures. But despite this advantage, the towing capabilities of the Tiguan are on par with its competitors, with the ability to haul up to a maximum of 1,500 lbs (the same as the CR-V and RAV4) around town quite comfortably.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Front View Driving Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Rear View Driving Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Wheel Volkswagen

Engine and Transmission

One standard engine is available throughout all models and trims. The 2020 Tiguan range employs an eight-speed automatic driven by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder motor that develops 184 hp and 221 lb-ft.

The engine in the Tiguan isn't anything to write home about, and the 2017 Tiguan felt much sportier to drive. It must be mentioned that the automatic transmission remains smooth and reliable, if a little slow, in the downshift department. Don't label it too badly, you aren't exactly taking 3-5 working days to overtake another vehicle and the abundance of torque in the midrange has huge benefits merging into high-speed traffic. You also have the option of switching the gearbox over to manual mode and using the shift paddles. Based on numbers alone, the Tiguan is slightly slower than both the CR-V and RAV4, although the FWD model will reach 0-60 faster than the CR-V and will be just 0.2 seconds slower than the RAV4. Hard figures only go so far, so it's important to consider the overall driving feel when it comes to properly judging the powertrain.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

One could easily lament the negative aspects of the engine's performance, but it's not all bad for the Tiguan; it's lazy, but not clumsy. It is quite obvious that the ultimate objective of this SUV is sophisticated practicality, which it certainly delivers. The Tiguan brings a satisfying and enjoyable drive - it's noticeably more relaxed and it navigates potholes with casual indifference. Although the FWD model will show slightly less confidence, and the choice of optional 20-inch wheels will result in a firmer ride, adaptive dampers soak up bumps with no sharp edges in sight. The brakes take some getting used to with a soft pedal feel that may require a little more stomping when you need to stop, but they definitely get the job done. Overall, the ride and handling is very pleasant and doesn't disappoint.

For those who live in regions where the tarmac isn't all that great or snow is a regular problem to deal with, multiple driving modes are available on 4Motion-equipped models, including on-road, off-road, and snow mode functionality. However, with slightly less than eight inches of ground clearance, you shouldn't expect an all-terrain dominator.

Tiguan Gas Mileage

The fuel-economy of the Tiguan isn't phenomenal, but it isn't totally dismal either. The FWD model will be slightly lighter on fuel, but not enough for it to be a factor in deciding which model is best. FWD models achieve EPA estimated mileage of 22/29/25 mpg city/highway combined with AWD models dropping these figures to 20/27/23 mpg. FWD models get a 15.3-gallon tank, AWD models get a 15.9-gallon tank, enough to get you an average of 400 miles on a full tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T S FWD

Tiguan Interior

The interior is an easily defined strong point for the Tiguan. Strong minimalistic themes, spaciousness, and refined elegance drive the entire design: the Emma Watson of interiors, if you will. A notable favorite at first glance is the availability of all the features you want without Volkswagen trying to display all of them like a ninth-grader doing a project the day before it's due. The controls and elements are all clearly and neatly displayed and located where you can easily find them. From the SE, the features and seats are wrapped up and presented in agreeable and premium-feeling leatherette with a soft-touch feel for the dashboard and doors. If you opt for the R-Line, you can expect some fancy carbon fiber looking bits here and there, too. Volkswagen also brings its innovative Virtual Cockpit technology down into its smallest SUV offering, albeit only on the topmost trims. The R-Line has a noticeably more luxurious feel being the most expensive spec you can buy, but it's well worth it.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Steering Wheel Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Dashboard Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Rear Passenger Seats Volkswagen
See All 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The FWD models seat seven people as standard whereas the AWD models seat five, however, you do have the option of adding a third row to AWD models. The third row is easily accessible by using a lever on the top of the back seats to push them forward. Overall, the interior is spacious and comfortable and the seats embrace passengers in a plush and relaxed manner. Tall drivers won't want for space as the Tiguan's front seat adjustability provides a considerable amount of leeway in the legroom department and headroom is ample. If you're over six feet tall and you decide to opt for the back seat, you won't necessarily be wearing your knees as earrings, but you won't be able to stretch out and relax either. As for the third row, save those for the kids, and only on short journeys - there's a reason compact SUVs aren't typically seven-seaters.

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The base Tiguan S will provide standard, though not horribly unattractive, cloth seats available in either black or grey. The SE, SE R-Line, SE R-Line Black, and SEL models get V-Tex leatherette seating in either Titan Black or Storm Gray and the genuine, stitched leather sensation is reserved for the SEL Premium R-Line, which is available in three colors: Titan Black, Storm Gray, or the Saffrano Orange/Black combination. The dashboard is covered in a dark soft-touch material that's functional without compromising on quality. Overall, the materials used to bring the Tiguan's interior to life are all agreeable and are either superior, or on par, when compared to rivals.

Tiguan Trunk and Cargo Space

Trunk space is either going to be a dream or a nightmare depending on how you plan on using it. If you opt for the seven-seater configuration and all of the seats are being utilized, you have to come to terms with sacrificing a little trunk space, though you will still be able to get away with about a week's worth of grocery shopping. Cargo space is not a weak point for either the two-row or three-row Tiguan models, though. In the three-row model, 12 cubic feet is found behind the third row, 33 cubic feet behind the second row and a sizable 65.7 cubic feet of cargo space is available with the seats folded. In the two-row version, however, more space can be found behind the second row with 37.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row and a total of 73.5 cubic feet of space is available when all seats are folded.

There are cup holders throughout the model, in the front and the back for those who take hydration seriously, and there are ample pockets situated in the back for that map book from 2007 that you insist on keeping but will ultimately never use.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Trunk Space Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Trunk Space with Seat Folded Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Trunk Space with Seat Folded 1 Volkswagen

Tiguan Infotainment and Features

Features

All Tiguan models from base upward come standard with a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian monitoring, rear traffic alert, the Car-Net telematics system, manually adjustable front seats, and manual climate control. Cruise control is also standard across the range. Moving up one model from the S to the SE brings you standard push-button start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and park distance control. The features of the SEL are impressive considering that we haven't yet reached the top of the range; this trim is equipped with lane keep assist, a power liftgate, remote start, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a heated steering wheel. The top of the range variant sees the inclusion of a surround-view camera, ambient lighting, and a hands-free liftgate. A panoramic sunroof is available exclusively to the SE for an additional fee of $1,200.

Infotainment

Here's where the cool standard tech comes in. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported for those who suffer cold sweats at the thought of having to part with their smartphones between trips, displaying your apps on a 6.5-inch touch screen. Bluetooth and USB ports can be used to push your playlist out of a six-speaker sound system on the base model. Moving up to the SE will bump you up to an eight-inch touchscreen and add voice control and wireless charging, as well as giving you access to HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio. That large, fancy screen that Volkswagen is so proud of, the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster, comes standard on the SEL as well as the SEL Premium R-Line, and if you need a final nudge to cough up more of your child's college fund on the highest model, the SEL Premium R-Line comes fitted with a premium, punchy nine-speaker Fender sound system.

Tiguan Problems and Reliability

High scores are found in terms of reliability, though there is a low point to note. Volkswagen is doing away with its usual six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty in favor of a four year/50,000 miles standard warranty for its 2020 models. Worried about hitting some mechanical snags or a bad batch? There have been no recalls thus far, though the 2018 Tiguan ran into some trouble and was recalled for possible passenger airbag issues due to the possibility that they would not deploy effectively.

Tiguan Safety

The Tiguan was awarded by IIHS with the Top Safety Pick+ and scored a "Good" rating (the institute's highest available score) across all crashworthiness tests, leaving little doubt as to its ability to keep passengers safe. The NHTSA hasn't completed a full range of tests, though, scoring only side impacts at five out of five, and rollover only four.

Key Safety Features

The Tiguan comes with many safety features and Volkswagen did not cut any corners - the proof is in the abundance of standard safety features regardless of trim. Right from the base trim, standard features like ABS brakes with EBD, stability control, and traction control are all present, as are six airbags (dual front, front side, and side curtain). In the way of driver assists, even the base model gets access to a forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert, while on upper trims, lane keeping assist and a surround-view camera make the cut.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan a good SUV?

If you're in the market for a comfortable, safe, reliable and elegant SUV, the Tiguan is a winner. If you're looking for a fun drive or nippy acceleration from your daily commute, this is not the car for you. The interior is great, the ride is comfortable and the standard technology is generous. This SUV is also very easy on the eyes: it's conservative, graceful and the exterior design is impressive. Add to that that it's also exceptionally safe, boasting an award from IIHS for Top Safety Pick+ which is the highest honor given in terms of safety, and it seems like a winner.

But with cramped seating, less than stellar performance, and gas mileage that falls below the class best, it's a good crossover, but not exactly one of the elites. The new CR-V, for instance, is a better jack of all trades, and master of some too, while the RAV4 is spacious, safe, and vastly more capable. This time around, it's a miss from us, but if you don't feel like going with the masses, it's not the worst buy in the segment.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan?

With a broad range of trims to choose from, there's a Tiguan to suit your budget; the cheapest means being the $24,945 S model in FWD guise, with 4Motion AWD adding $1,300 to the asking price. The same upgrade price applies to the SE, although extra equipment sees the base MSRP rise to $27,095, while the SE R-Line Black breaks the 30k barrier at a price of $30,295. The SEL reaches premium territory, but so does its $32,245 price tag, while at the top of the range, the SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion will set you back $38,795, excluding taxes, licensing, registration, and a $1,020 destination fee.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Models

The 2020 Tiguan range comprises five different trim levels: the S, SE, SE R-Line Black, SEL, and SEL Premium R-Line. All share the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and all models, except the SEL Premium R-Line, are FWD as standard with AWD optional.

The Tiguan S comes equipped with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot, six-speaker sound system, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a rearview camera, manual climate control, cloth seats, forward-collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

One model above base, the Tiguan SE comes with more features including an eight-inch touchscreen with SiriusXM, push-button start, park distance control, multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and proximity keyless entry.

The Tiguan SE R-Line Black shows no notable additions other than 20-inch wheels and front and rear parking sensors, although R-Line styling and blacked-out exterior detailing are intended to make it look a little more sinister.

The Tiguan SEL adds the Digital Cockpit, power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing windshield wipers, navigation, and lane keep assist.

At the top of the range, the Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line comes with AWD as standard and adds LED adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, genuine leather seats, driver's seat memory, a nine-speaker Fender sound system, hands-free liftgate, R-Line styling, and black 20-inch wheels.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$24,945
SE
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$27,095
SE R-Line Black
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$30,295
SEL
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$32,245
SEL Premium R-Line
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$38,795
See All 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Additional packages are relatively limited within the Tiguan range. An optional sunroof is available only on the SE trim for an additional fee of $1,200. Optional AWD is available on all models excluding the SEL Premium R-Line as it comes equipped with AWD standard, and a tow hitch is available on all models as well for an additional $826. Aside from these minor options, you have to climb the trim ladder to add more functionality, with the only other options limited to cosmetic accessories.

πŸš—What Volkswagen Tiguan Model Should I Buy?

If you aren't that interested in all the frills, fancy spoilers, and shiny wheels, the SE is the best option to go for within the Tiguan lineup. It is just one model above base yet it comes with a bigger eight-inch infotainment screen, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, an additional two USB ports, heated leatherette seats, and push-button start, without completely breaking the bank at an MSRP of $27,096. Sure, you miss out on Volkswagen's Virtual Cockpit, but in a compact crossover, this is arguably an unnecessary luxury in any case. We'd stick with the standard FWD model unless you live in a snow-prone state, but if you need additional storage space, we'd opt for 4Motion purely for the standard five-seat configuration's cargo prowess.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Comparisons

Honda CR-V Honda
Volkswagen Atlas Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan vs Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V has long been the benchmark in the compact crossover segment, and for good reason. Although it may lack the seven-seat capacity of the Tiguan, the five it can accommodate are housed in spacious accommodation, surrounded by high-quality materials. There's also a few cubes more cargo volume to be found in the Honda, and the turbo 1.5-liter engine delivers better real-world performance and better gas mileage to boot. The CR-V is enjoyable to drive and equally as loaded with safety features as the Tiguan, however, it can't match the Volkwagen's intuitive infotainment system, even if the capabilities are almost identical. While the Volkswagen has style, the CR-V has far more substance, making it the better compact crossover.

See Honda CR-V Review

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan vs Volkswagen Atlas

The Atlas is essentially Volkswagen's bigger, more expensive take on the Tiguan with a substantial number of similarities between the two models, including a third row of seats and MQB underpinnings. However, with the Atlas classified as midsize, there's a lot more space in the rearmost seats, and all seats for that matter. The big selling point with the Atlas is that it dominates its competitors with outright interior space. The Tiguan has the upper hand in terms of safety, boasting a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS, where the Atlas missed out. The Atlas has a selection of two engines, though, with a 2.0-liter turbo-four making up the basic setup, while an available V6 provides more power, greater towing capacity, and more refinement - at the expense of gas mileage, of course - where the Tiguan beats it by some margin. Price is the biggest differentiator between the two, however, with $6,600 separating the two at a base level. But for the extra money, the Atlas is a lot more Volkwagen and is our pick overall.

See Volkswagen Atlas Review

Volkswagen Tiguan Popular Comparisons

$24,945 - $38,795
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