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2022 Volkswagen Tiguan: New-ish and improved

Yep, this small SUV is better than before, but you may not notice at first glance since the visuals haven't changed much.

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The Tiguan is Volkswagen's top-selling nameplate globally. (Betcha didn't know that!) To keep this small SUV ahead of other models in the company's sprawling lineup, which includes products like the Golf, Jetta, Passat and Crafter Pritschenwagen, Vee-Dub spruced the Tiguan up for 2022, though you probably won't notice many changes, at least at first glance.

The current Tiguan is already a handsome vehicle. Some might call it boring, but I think it has a rather timeless design, one that will age well. Making its debut Tuesday, the 2022 Tiguan has a few nips and tucks that make it even more elegant and sophisticated. There are new bumpers at both ends. The vehicle's grille has been reworked and is now flanked by standard LED headlights (the daytime running lamps and taillights are of the LED variety, too). Around back, the nameplate badge on the hatch has been relocated underneath the VW logo and new wheels spanning between 17 and 20 inches are offered. For a bit of extra flair, two fresh paint colors join the palette, Oryx White and Kings Red.

Given the Tiguan's minor exterior changes, it should be no surprise there aren't really any mechanical enhancements. Ahead of the dashboard, a familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 is the only engine offered. It cranks out the same 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque it does today, adequate if hardly thrilling figures. However, this engine was retuned to deliver smoother acceleration and better highway performance. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment and no matter the trim level, you can get your 2022 Tiguan with front- or all-wheel drive.

Jazzing up the interior, some new colors are offered including Cinnamon leatherette and a rich brown cowhide called Noisette. Keeping Old Man Winter's icy mitts off your nether regions, heated seats are now standard, though the top-shelf SEL R-Line model also features ventilated front chairs for extra comfort in swampy weather. Based on customer demand, all front-drive Tiguans come with a third-row seat, but all-wheel-drive-equipped versions only have two rows of accommodations.

Once again, the Tiguan's interior is mature, spacious and well built. 

Volkswagen

This VW's refreshed interior looks nice, feels upscale and has loads of backseat room, but, depending on trim, the German automaker has switched to touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel and for the climate controls. In recent years, other automakers have backtracked from using these because they can be challenging to operate while driving (plus physical switches work extremely well and, let's be honest, there's no need to reinvent the wheel). In the Tiguan, at least, there are well-defined indentations where your fingers go and strong haptic feedback, so hopefully these controls are not a problem, 'cause they do look pretty cool.

An 8-inch digital instrument cluster is standard equipment, but a 10.3-inch display is fitted to SEL R-Line Tiguans. You can also grab a wireless charging plate, a Fender premium audio system and ambient lighting with 15 colors. Automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring are included across the range at no extra charge. But for folks that want more, Volkswagen's IQ Drive suite of aids is standard on all versions except the base model, where it's optional. This includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and lane-keep assist, among other things. Automatic high beams, road-sign recognition and a parking assistant are also available.

The Tiggy's styling is still pretty innocuous, but this is a design that will still look good 20 years from now, something that can't be said about some of its competitors.  

Volkswagen

The current Tiguan is probably a mid-pack offering and I don't really expect that to change for 2022. It competes in a very crowded segment, one that accounts for about a quarter of new-vehicle sales in the US right now. Its primary rivals include the Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota RAV4 to name just a few.

The new Tiguan is slated to go on sale in the September-to-October timeframe. It will be offered in four trim levels including value-oriented S, high-volume SE, stylish SE R-Line Black and top-shelf SEL R-Line. Pricing has not been made public, but the current model starts at about $26,500 including destination fees and this new version will likely be very similar. Pricing for the top-shelf model is expected to be adjusted so it's more in line with similarly equipped versions of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Yes, the 2022 Tiguan's updates are fairly modest, but thanks to its spacious cabin, handsome styling and extra serving of tech, there's no reason why it shouldn't continue to be Volkswagen's top-performer both in the US and globally.