The Volkswagen Tiguan has been baffling thousands of customers since it first came out in 2007. Whether you pronounce it “tee-guah-ahn” or “ti-gwan,” (or any other way, for that matter), the Tiguan settles below the recently retired Touareg in terms of size and seating. However, VW’s smallest SUV did welcome a new big brother last year, the Atlas, to fill the true seven-seater need (although the Tiguan can be upgraded to also seat seven.)

Along with adding another VW representative to the SUV catalog, the Atlas also brought a much-needed refresh to the Tiguan platform. And giving the Tiguan a makeover has certainly aligned it closer to the aggressively handsome styling of competitors like the Audi’s Q5 or Q7. We’ve gathered all you need to know about the newest Tiguan below, so keep reading if this model has made your short list.

Performance

The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan is powered by a single engine choice, a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Capable of towing up to 1,500 pounds, the 2019 Tiguan is available in front-wheel and all-wheel drive variants. This turbo engine is capable of 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque.

Trimlines and Safety Features

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the 2019 VW Tiguan, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the model “Good” in all categories. For more information on the safety features available on the 2019 VW Tiguan, take a look at the available trim levels we’ve listed for you below.

There are five trim levels to choose from on the 2019 Tiguan:

Base S models include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a 6-speaker sound system, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen. Beginning around $24,295, this base model also includes a rearview camera and cloth seating. Round out your cost to about $25,000 and you can add in safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, and forward-collision warning. The base model rides on 17-inch wheels.

Moving up the ladder, the SE model will cost you at least $26,695 and adds those optional safety features we mentioned above as standard equipment. If you choose this model, you’ll also receive an 8-inch touchscreen, push-button start, keyless entry, a few leather highlights around the driver’s seat, heated front seats, leatherette seating, and dual climate control. If you want a panoramic sunroof, it’ll cost you nearly as much as all-wheel drive. Provided you don’t add the third row back in, that is.

Choose the SEL model if you’re partial to navigation, remote start, a power rear hatch, and the optional sunroof from the previous trim. Adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking sensors round out the safety features available on this trim level. You’ll also ride on 18-inch wheels.

The SEL R-Line starts around $33,645. Previously an optional package, this trim level can easily be defined as more of an exterior upgrade than anything else. A stop-start system is the only other notable feature on this model.

Top-shelf SEL Premium models come in just under $38,000. All-wheel drive is standard on this model, along with leather seating, rain-sensing wipers, a Fender sound system upgrade, a heated steering wheel, and a hands-free hatch. A surround-view parking system, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning are additional safety features available on this model. The SEL Premium is also available with the R-Line package, which adds a sportier feel to the appearance of the car.

Choosing to add all-wheel drive onto your 2019 VW Tiguan will cost you an extra $1,300, though you can upgrade it at any trim level. However, you will sacrifice the third row, and pay nearly $600 more if you want to add it back in.

Fuel Efficiency

The Volkswagen Tiguan is fairly average when it comes to fuel efficiency, mainly because it only has one number to post. Many other brands equip their small SUVs with at least a smaller displacement engine and/or a partial or full-hybrid option, tooling which VW lacks in the bigger picture.

However, the Tiguan does make 22 city and 29 highway EPA-estimated miles-per-gallon (mpg) in front-wheel drive variants, with all-wheel drive models only losing a point in the city measurement. While it’s enough to keep the model at the middle of the pack, Volkswagen should probably consider improving this feature on the next Tiguan refreshment.

How the 2019 VW Tiguan Compares

Unlike the larger Touareg or Atlas, the Tiguan competes in a piping-hot segment known for crossing the lines between large family sedan and three-row all-wheel-drive-capable SUVs. Whereas the larger VW models compete with the likes of the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson twins, the Tiguan must take on the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Murano, Honda CR-V, and the BMW X5, to name a few.

Popular features in this segment include off-road capability, generous cargo space, superior handling, and above-average interior materials. What the Tiguan can’t deliver in terms of luxury, it makes up for in overall packaging. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts found the “good outward visibility and a decent turning diameter combine to make it a breeze in parking lots.” Experts at KBB also found the model to be “elegant, sporty and not so commonplace,” a sentiment echoed by Edmunds’ reviewers who named the Tiguan a “distinctive choice in the small SUV class.” The Tiguan will find it hard to match the ruggedness any Jeep model can offer but it’s also better equipped to handle the harsh realities of daily family life than any BMW or Audi.

Though Volkswagen trails Honda, Toyota, and Nissan still in terms of reliability and resale value, there are many signs the brand is continuing to push towards a higher caliber of vehicle. It won’t cost you as much to own a Tiguan as it would an Audi or other luxury brand. However, there are still comparable models on the market that package together desirable features at roughly the same price point. Research the market before you buy in order to find out what’s available in your budget range.

The Good

  • Upscale interior appointments
  • Variety of available interior and exterior upgrades
  • Improved exterior styling

The Not-So-Good

  • Fuel economy is lacking
  • No engine choices
  • Poor reliability rating

The Last Word

The Volkswagen Tiguan nestles itself between the Honda CR-V and Toyota’s RAV4 as a capable all-wheel drive model you won’t have to worry about destroying. After all, the affordable pricing and Volkswagen’s “best bumper-to-bumper warranty in the segment” make it a prime choice for a first car, a college-student mobile, and even a young family. If you’re not sure whether a VW Tiguan is the right choice for you, test drive one at your nearest Volkswagen dealership today.

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