Refreshed Volkswagen Tiguan will hit the US in 2021

Debuting in Europe later this year, VW's popular small SUV is getting a substantial update.

Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole
3 min read
Refreshed Volkswagen Tiguan

Expect the new Tiguan to have a more sculpted front fascia.


Volkswagen is refreshing its popular Tiguan small SUV, the automaker confirmed Thursday. It will gain more technology, updated powertrains and, of course, a fresh look. This revitalized, short-wheelbase version of the Tiguan is slated to come out in Europe later this year, though the longer-wheelbase variant we get in the US is not expected to go on sale until late in 2021, for the 2022 model year.

The Tiguan is hugely important to Volkswagen globally. It's the venerable brand's top seller, with nearly 911,000 examples produced last year alone. Since it was introduced back in 2007, more than 6 million Tiguans have been made. A refresh is paramount if Volkswagen wants to keep this momentum going.

No photos have been released yet, but the German automaker did share the colorful design sketch you see above, which hints at what the revised Tiguan will look like. Speaking to media during a conference call Thursday, Dr. Hendrik Muth, head of product marketing for the Volkswagen brand, said this Tiguan will get a totally new front end, which will be "a little bit less horizontal" than before. The vehicle should appear sportier and more masculine, too, though in typical VW fashion, the rest of its body will likely remain untouched.

Flanking that new grille, LED headlights should be standard equipment across the range, ditto for taillamps of the same variety. VW's Matrix Beam Headlights will be offered in Europe, though, unfortunately, not in the US. This lighting technology uses a range of LEDs, which can be individually turned on or off as needed, shining as much light on the road as possible without blinding oncoming traffic.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

Clean styling and a versatile interior are two reasons why today's Tiguan is so popular.  


Inside, the refreshed Tiguan's cabin should look and feel similar to the one in Volkswagen's new, eighth-generation Golf. This means it's expected to offer plenty of screen real estate, be constructed of quality materials and feature a strongly horizontal design. Multicolor ambient lighting will be offered, as well.

The dashboard will dominated by Volkswagen's new MIB3 infotainment system. This multimedia array is expected to debut later this year on the refreshed Arteon sedan. It's upgradable, offers online services and should have plenty of other features baked in, including the usual Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone-mirroring tech.

Aside from bits and bytes, a fresh steering wheel is coming to the Tiguan. It will provide better usability and feel more substantial in your hands. It should look like the one currently used in the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport.

As for other technology, a range of improved driving aids will be offered. As in the Cross Sport and Volkswagen Atlas models, things like traffic-jam assist, road-sign recognition and advanced lane-keeping assist with lane centering will be made available.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

The next generation Tiguan's interior likely won't be radically different from what's offered in the current model.


In the US, this updated Tiguan will soldier on with a familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged engine under the hood. This four-cylinder should continue to deliver 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Volkswagen executives are considering other powertrain options, too, including a plug-in hybrid, but none of these are expected to launch with this refreshed model. A high-performance R version of the Tiguan is also in the works, but there's nothing to announce about that right now.

Outside North America, Volkswagen continues to offer diesel engines. In Europe, the updated Tiguan will still be available with this kind of powerplant, but making them a bit cleaner, a feature called twin dosing will be added, something that's already been introduced on the European Passat sedan and the new Golf. Essentially a dual-SCR emissions-treatment system, Muth said it reduces harmful NOX production by more than 80%. He noted it also helps cut CO2 emissions.

Globally, this updated Volkswagen utility vehicle will continue to be offered in two sizes, a standard model and an extended version with an available third-row seat. The larger of the two is known as the Tiguan Allspace in Europe, the Tiguan L in China and just the Tiguan in America since it's the only variant offered on our side of the Atlantic. This situation is not going to change going forward, so if you were hoping buy a slightly shorter Tiguan, you're still out of luck.

The standard Tiguan is slated to come out in Europe later this year, but the extended-length model is not scheduled to debut in the flesh until early next year, either at an auto show or online, depending the global coronavirus situation.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan is a competent compact crossover

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Watch this: 5 things to know about the larger 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan