2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL 4Motion: Review

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
Currently the best-selling model in the Volkswagen lineup, Tiguan is Volkswagen’s compact crossover that first arrived in the U.S. as a 2009 model. When Volkswagen engineers retooled Tiguan for its second generation, they added a long-wheelbase version. The second-gen Tiguan arrived in the U.S. as a 2018 model, but the only version available since then has been the extended wheelbase, which provides enough room for available third-row seating. We recently spent some quality time in the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL 4Motion.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
Our test vehicle was finished in Platinum Gray Metallic with Titan Black interior and V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces. Equipped with the optional third-row seat package, this Tiguan’s MSRP comes in at $35,160 including a $1,020 destination charge. Volkswagen offers Tiguan in five trim levels for the U.S., and the SEL is second only to the SEL Premium R-Line. The SEL comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit and a power liftgate.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceDesign
Redesigned specifically for the U.S. market, this latest generation of Volkswagen’s compact crossover offers more interior space and third-row seating. Adopting Volkswagen’s current design language, the exterior includes sharper, stronger lines and a lower, wider stance. The front bumper possesses a more rugged off-road appearance and provides a 26-degree approach angle. Roof rails come standard and accommodate accessories for carrying sports equipment or additional storage.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
Inside, the Tiguan 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion offers a sporty interior with standard leatherette seats, a heated steering wheel, power seats and dual-zone Climatronic automatic climate control. The second-row seat slides 7 inches to maximize second-row legroom or create additional cargo capacity behind the seat or third-row legroom.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceDiscover Media
Also standard on Tiguan SEL is the Discover Media system with navigation, featuring an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen display that allows swiping and pinch-zooming. Next generation Car-Net is standard with an updated mobile app, no-charge services and subscription services in four general categories: Remote Access, Safe and Secure, Hotspot, and Guide and Inform.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
The 2020 Tiguan is motivated by the latest version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter TSI engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque available from 1600 to 4360 rpm. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, and our tester also had optional 4MOTION all-wheel drive, so EPA fuel economy ratings come in at 20 mpg city / 27 mpg highway / 23 mpg combined.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience4Motion All-Wheel Drive
Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive delivers power to the front wheels and utilizes and electro-hydraulic center differential to transfer torque to the rear wheels when needed. The system uses information based on driving conditions to activate before wheelspin occurs. Electronic differential locks can also transfer torque from side to side on each axle.

© Volkswagen of AmericaActive Control
When equipped with 4Motion all-wheel drive Tiguan also has Active Control, which allows the driver to select from four settings to tailor the vehicle to a variety of driving conditions: Onroad, Snow, Offroad and Custom Offroad. The default Onroad setting allows additional adjustment: Normal, Sport, Comfort and Individual. The drive modes adjust the parameters and responsiveness of the engine, transmission, steering and adaptive cruise control, as well as hill descent assist and hill start assist.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceTiguan SEL
As Volkswagen’s entry in one of the most competitive segments of the U.S. market, Tiguan remains one of the most sporty and fun to drive of all compact crossovers . The current design has a crisp look and is nicely proportioned — our SEL test vehicle had a premium look with its Platinum Gray paint and the 19-inch alloy wheels.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan is sporty and responsive — the overall feeling is more like a Golf or a GTI even though the crossover is considerably bigger. Steering feedback also is direct and responsive, making Tiguan feel nimble and quick. Even though the rated engine output might seem a little low, Tiguan has plenty of usable power with maximum torque available at 1600 rpm; the 8-speed automatic does a fine job of keep the engine in the powerband where needed. The transmission offers Sport mode and manual shift as well.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceThrottle Response
One noticeable aspect of Tiguan is its throttle response. During our test drives, occasionally the vehicle did not respond as quickly as expected when accelerating from a stop — something we had to be aware of when turning across or pulling out into traffic. This could be attributable to brake release and throttle engagement; those who left-foot brake (yours truly) might notice a lag or overlap when simultaneously releasing the brake and stepping on the accelerator. Either way, with more time in the Tiguan a left-foot-braking driver would learn what to expect and adjust accordingly.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceSeating Capacity
The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan’s third-row seat is standard with front-wheel drive and optional with 4Motion; that said this is not a 7-passenger vehicle — it’s a 5-passenger vehicle with two additional seats for occasional use. Although two adults could ride in the third row for a short distance, the third tier is really best suited to smaller children — or taller folks in a pinch. Moving the sliding second-row seat to its most rearward position offers comfortable legroom for second-row passengers when the third row is not in use.

© Volkswagen of AmericaInterior Design
The interior design of the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan is clean and engaging, with the touchscreen integrated into the center stack below the center vents and above the climate control. The digital cockpit is an upscale feature, and the infotainment system includes knobs for volume and tuning. A clever feature of the Volkswagen interface is part of the SXM radio — users can scroll through the channel list and see information for the artist and song currently playing on each station — while the system continues to play the current selection — until the user changes the channel by pressing the tuning knob.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.0
With the second-generation Tiguan, Volkswagen captures the feeling of a German sport sedan in a compact crossover design that is both practical and functional. For compact crossover shoppers who value driving dynamics in a sporty, fun-to-drive vehicle, the Tiguan should definitely be on their test-drive lists.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion
Platinum Gray Metallic

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion
Third-row seat

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion
Platinum Gray Metallic

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion
Platinum Gray Metallic

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion
Platinum Gray Metallic

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion
Platinum Gray Metallic

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