A couple of years ago, we reviewed the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan and said it was like a girl with a nose ring and a master’s degree. That description, which says that you can bring her home to meet Mom and not feel like a sellout, still rings true today. The new 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan gets a couple of upgrades, like a larger infotainment screen option and more technology, but otherwise stays its same nose ring self.
The Volkswagen Tiguan is considered a compact crossover, though we’d say it’s more “small” than it is “compact.” It rides in the same category as does the Kia Sorento and the Mitsubishi Outlander. Which are, coincidentally, some of the only other small crossovers with three rows of seating. Yep, the 2021 Tiguan has a third row that can be useful in a pinch, especially when kids are involved.
The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that puts out 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. That runs through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels with all-wheel drive as an option. Every one of the five trim levels of the Tiguan has this same powertrain. The third row is standard in front-wheel drive models and optional in all-wheel drive setups.
Technology in the 2021 VW Tiguan is pretty impressive. Especially given its price tag. The base model comes standard with forward collision warning and automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, a 6.5-inch color touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, working roof rails, VW’s Car-Net mobile app connectivity to remote start, lock/unlock doors, vehicle finder, and more. That last bit won’t be found in many of the VW’s competitors.
The SE and SE R-Line Black trims (next step up from base level) are really where it’s at with the VW Tiguan. These add the 8-inch infotainment screen, wireless CarPlay/Auto, a wireless charging pad for your phone, more USB ports, voice-activated controls, simulated leather, heated front seats, and adaptive cruise control. The R-Line Black adds some great-looking aesthetics like blacked exterior and interior accents, 20-inch wheels, adaptive fog lamps, black roof rails, and a panoramic sunroof.
The 2021 Tiguan is comfortable to sit in, easy to drive, and more capable than it’s often given credit for. Both the front and second row are comfortable for adults with plenty of room. The third row, as mentioned, is really for kids. We like the pickup that the turbocharged engine has too. Though it’s not the sporty drive the Tiguan was in its previous generation, this new-gen Tiguan has good confidence and the added size means more room and versatility. Cargo space is particularly good in this generation of the VW Tiguan.
The basic gist is that the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is still engaging to drive, has a comfortable usefulness that makes it a good daily driver, and it’s smart enough to have all the capabilities you’re likely to need. It also has classy good looks. It’s an unusually good bit of packaging on VW’s part.
The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is rated at 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Pricing starts at $25,995 plus delivery. Our recommended SE and SE R-Line Black models have starting prices at $31,054 and $33,293 respectively, which deliver quite a bit bang for the buck.