The good news: After eight years, the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan is finally all-new! The bad news: We aren't getting it in the United States, at least not as a 2017 model. The Tiguan was introduced in 2009, and while all of its major competitors in the compact crossover SUV segment have been redesigned at least once, the Tiguan sold in America for the 2017 model year will be the same as the one sold last year...and the year before that...and the year before that.
To be fair to Volkswagen, the 2017 Tiguan has its strengths. Though it is one of the more expensive vehicles in this segment, VW justifies its asking price with a high-quality cabin and a sprightly turbocharged engine. One change Volkswagen has made for 2017 is to upgrade the infotainment system, which now integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Still, the Tiguan is beginning to show its age: the dashboard is starting to feel dated, and the feature list is short on safety-oriented driver aids.
From a functional standpoint, the Tiguan works well. Though the dashboard may be showing its wrinkles, it's functional and attractive, and we like the upright driving position. Rear-seat passengers will appreciate the headroom and the reclining rear seats, which are adjustable fore and aft. But the Tiguan is short on backseat legroom. And the 23.8-cubic-foot cargo area trails the competition by a significant margin; it doesn't hold any more luggage than the latest batch of smaller subcompact crossovers.
We do like the way the Tiguan drives, however. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, and it makes the SUV quite fleet of foot, but the trade-off is poor fuel economy — EPA estimates are 22 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 21 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. (City and highway figures are identical for both versions — 20 city/24 highway.) Most of the Tiguan's competitors offer a non-turbocharged engine option that gets better fuel economy.
The Tiguan's ride is quiet and comfortable, and the handling is very enjoyable, but unlike most of its competitors, it offers no active accident-avoidance features whatsoever. Its crash-test scores aren't great either — four out of five stars from the government (including just three stars for front-impact protection). The Tiguan fared better in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests, although it did not score well in the tough new small-overlap crash test — another sign of its aging design.
Volkswagen has shuffled the model range a bit for 2017, replacing the midlevel SE and R-Line trim levels with the Wolfsburg and Sport editions. They are bracketed by the base-model Tiguan S, which is as well equipped as the midline models of some competitors, and the range-topping SEL, which actually doesn't add too much equipment over the nicely loaded Sport model. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.