The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan compact crossover is spacious and comfortable, and also the league-leader in modesty, Its big difference is a 185.1-inch body that is larger than most of its compact crossover competitors. It has a cavernous, 37.6 cubic foot cargo hold and room for up to seven in its conservatively styled confines.
That’s mostly good for the Tiguan, since it faces stiff competition from the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and the future. Next year, VW will overhaul the Tiguan for shoppers in the U.S. with more tech and better materials, although the looks won’t change much other than a revised front and rear end.
The trim levels for the 2021 Tiguan haven’t changed much since last year, either. Available in S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium, with an R-Line appearance package available on SE and standard on SEL Premium, the Tiguan clocks up to $40,000, fully loaded. We value what’s in the middle, where the Tiguan impresses with space, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and synthetic leather upholstery.
All are powered by an acceptable 184-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive costs $1,300 extra. The Tiguan’s gift is a smooth ride and unobtrusive performance; it’s competent, not thrilling, and comfortable.
Inside, the Tiguan is comfortable for anyone in rows No. 1 or 2. A third row is standard on front-drive crossovers, and optional on all-wheel-drive Tiguans. It’s short, tough to get into, flat, mostly unusable for adults, and cramped; leave it for cargo or leave people-hauling to small kids.
Every Tiguan gets automatic emergency braking, although crash-test scores are incomplete. The IIHS called it a Top Safety Pick last year, and optional extras such as adaptive cruise control and active lane control are reserved for top trims, unlike Toyota and Honda.
Cloth seats, 17-inch wheels, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen with smartphone software are standard on base versions. For less than $30,000 the 2021 Tiguan SE with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, three USB ports, synthetic leather upholstery, and heated seats can be had. That’s a good number, too.
When Volkswagen first introduced the Tiguan, it was different from the get-go. It was the first small crossover to have a standard turbo 4-cylinder, offered slightly more room, and was actually fun to drive. Since then, Volkswagen has continued to hone its recipe making the second generation Tiguan better in every way. The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is different, in the best way possible.