2019 VW Tiguan — About everything you want in a compact crossover

By Paul Borden

(September 26, 2019) Volkswagen gave its Tiguan compact SUV a much-needed makeover for 2018, and apparently designers/engineers got things the way they wanted because about the only updates for 2019 involve some shuffling of equipment.

The 2019 Tiguan crossover is offered in six trims (S, SE, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line) with the latter two topping the portfolio and getting VW's 4-Motion all-wheel drive as standard. The other four trims come with front-wheel drive as standard and 4Motion as an option.

VW's Digital Cockpit and Park Distance Control are now standard on SEL models after debuting on SEL Premium in 2018.

All Tiguans come with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It runs on regular unleaded fuel and is rated at 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Mileage figures are 22 miles-per-gallon city, 29 highway and 25 for with FWD and 21/29/24 with the 4-Motion system.

Those aren't particularly great numbers for the class, and it could use a little more punch when it comes to performance, though Sport mode does deliver more in the way of response.

This review is based on the 2.0T SEL Premium model, which comes packed with just about every and any feature you might desire included in the MSRP of $38,190 (that includes the $995 destination and delivery charge, but not the $295 for the Habanero Orange Metallic exterior that ran my test vehicle's total to $38,485).

In addition to the usual collection of seat belts and air bags, safety features include Anti Slip Regulation and Engine Brake Assist, Intelligent Crash Response System, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, blind spot monitor, lane-keeping assist, and a rear view camera, all standard.

Technology systems include an overhead camera system, VW's Virtual Cockpit, remote start and remote power liftgate, 8-inch touchscreen navigation, Fender Premium Audio, Bluetooth connectivity, and adaptive cruise control, all standard.

Other features include automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, leather seating surfaces, and 19-inch alloy wheels, all standard.

Third-row seating is available in FWD models and available as an option for 4-Motion models, though it cuts back considerably the available cargo space (a generous 37.6 cubic feet behind the second row).

If you can live without some of those features, the SE trim is well-equipped and has a starting MSRP of $27,690 (including the destination and delivery charge) with front-wheel drive and $28,990 for the 4-Motion system.

Even the SEL trim with FWD will save you $5,400 over the SEL Premium. It's definitely worth considering if you can live with Halogen headlights in place of LED, leatherette seats instead of leather, and without rain-sensing wipers. The SEL comes navigation and a power liftgate as well.

What I liked about the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium: After dealing with smaller screens in a couple of more expensive vehicles, the image for the rearview camera was a joy to see -- very clear in high def and good size as well. There's a good bit of technological features, and they are user-friendly to operate.

What I didn't like about the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium: Driving in Sport mode remedies what could have been a complaint about the lack of energy and performance in Normal mode.

Would I buy the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium? Yes. This meets a lot of what you are looking for in a compact SUV/crossover with good passenger and cargo space and easy handling. I would go with another color though!