Among compact crossovers, the 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan is the only one that offers a distinctly European flavor, with crisp handling and elegantly tailored styling. The only engine choice is a smooth, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and while performance is merely adequate, it does deliver on fuel efficiency. A host of tech features is included in every model, including a digital gauge display, contemporary infotainment connectivity, and driver-assistance features. The cabin, while a sedately styled, is spacious for people and cargo; a third row of seats is available as an option, something only the Mitsubishi Outlander matches in this segment. More than anything, though, we like the Tiguan because it’s sporty and fun to drive.
What’s New for 2023?
The Tiguan sees very few changes for 2023, which is understandable considering its more thorough freshening for the 2022 model year. This year, the SE R-Line Black trim gets a new 19-inch wheel design and the Tiguan’s USB-C ports have been upgraded for 45W charging.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Stepping up to the mid-range SE trim adds 18-inch wheels, a power-operated rear liftgate, lane-keeping assist, and the new semi-autonomous driving mode. A panoramic sunroof is a $1200 option on the SE and may be worth the upgrade for buyers who like to catch a few rays while driving.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Under the hood of every 2023 Tiguan is a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 184 horsepower; front-wheel drive is standard but Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is optional. This is an athletic, fun-loving SUV with a smooth, willing engine and a well-coordinated automatic transmission. Like most of its competitors, it’s far from fast, but it makes up for that with a taut ride, nimble handling, and responsive steering. There’s a a whisper of sportiness here that recalls VW’s well-respected GTI hot hatchback. The Tiguan’s brake-pedal action is soft and it doesn’t match up to the firm, progressive pedals we enjoy in other members of VW’s family tree. At our test track, the Tiguan delivered a rather languid 9.1-second zero-to-60-mph time. On the road, though, the Tiguan doesn’t feel as slow as its test results indicate, with enough low-end grunt to feel perky around town. Merging onto the highway may be the only time you’ll wish the Tiguan had a bit more power.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates that the front-wheel drive model will be the most frugal, with ratings of up to 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. All-wheel drive drops those numbers to 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The top-spec SEL R-Line carries ratings that are lower by 1 mpg in both metrics. When we get a chance to test the Tiguan on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, we’ll update this story with the results. For more information about the Tiguan’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Tiguan’s interior is classically Volkswagen, which is to say that it is simple and functional but not particularly stylish. Others offer more legroom in the second row, but the Tiguan is one of the only vehicles in the class that can be had with seating for seven. The Tiguan comes standard with cloth seating and partial power adjustment for the front seats. Opting into more expensive versions can net full power adjustment for the driver, faux-leather seating, and a panoramic sunroof. With just 12 cubic feet of cargo space behind the available third row, the Tiguan simply can’t be a hauling vehicle when the third row is in use. With the third row folded, the Tiguan’s cargo measurements put it about in the middle of this class for raw space. With all the seats folded, we fit 19 of our carry-on boxes in the Tiguan, less than we stuffed inside key rivals including the Honda CR-V.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
Volkswagen’s infotainment system is sleek-looking but features touch-sensitive controls integrated into a large glass screen which we have found difficult to use. The system comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so drivers who prefer their smartphone’s familiar interface to Volkswagen’s system are in luck; a Wi-Fi hotspot is standard. A 480-watt nine-speaker Fender audio system is available for audiophiles, but only in upper trims. All models come with either an 8.0- or 10.3-inch digital gauge display which can be reconfigured to display a variety of information.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Forward-collision alert with automatic braking and a blind-spot warning system are standard, but Volkswagen charges extra for more desirable driver-assistance features such as lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. For more information about the Tiguan’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with forward collision warning
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
What was previously the industry’s best bumper-to-bumper warranty at six years and 72,000 miles of coverage has been shortened to four years or 50,000 miles. To help make that reduced coverage a little easier to handle, all new Volkswagens offer two years of regularly scheduled maintenance included at no charge.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 2 years or 20,000 miles
2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line 4Motion
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $37,790/$37,790
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve Miller-cycle inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 121 in3, 1984 cm3
Power: 184 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 221 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.4-in vented disc/11.8-in vented disc
Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season
255/40R-20 101H M+S
Wheelbase: 109.9 in
Length: 186.1 in
Width: 72.4 in
Height: 66.5 in
Passenger Volume: 100 ft3
Cargo Volume: 38 ft3
Curb Weight: 4005 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 9.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 16.9 sec @ 83 mph
100 mph: 25.9 sec
110 mph: 34.9 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 9.7 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 5.0 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 6.4 sec
Top Speed (C/D est): 125 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 183 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.83 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 26 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 24/21/28 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs