What is the Tiguan?
If your priorities in a new small crossover are space, comfort and standout looks, we recommend considering the Volkswagen Tiguan. The Tiguan is one of the more outgoing vehicles in its class, with an exterior design reminiscent of the larger Volkswagen Atlas and even budget-busting Audis. The interior is also quite nice, especially on the top-trim version that has real leather seating, contrast-color stitching and a sharp digital instrument panel. A pleasant, controlled ride is another Tiguan strength, as is the vast amount of passenger and cargo space. There's so much room, in fact, that the Tiguan is one of the few compact SUVs with an optional third row of seating. It's a little tough getting in the back — and there's not as much third-row space as in the Tiguan's chief rival, the Kia Sorento — but it'll do in a pinch.
The tough truth, though, is that many two-row crossovers in the compact segment offer those same strengths. Competitors like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are quicker, while the Hyundai Tucson and Subaru Forester are less expensive. We were also not won over by all the changes VW made to the Tiguan last year. While the restyled exterior and new driver aids were welcome, the new touch-sensitive control panels are unintuitive and difficult to use.
Hopefully, Volkswagen sorts out the Tiguan's foibles when the all-new model launches. We've seen camouflaged versions of the next-generation Tiguan EV testing, and given the current model's advanced age, we have reason to believe that we'll see a full redesign before too long. Still, if you're in the market for a three-row small SUV right now — and you don't want the Kia Sorento or one of the many worthy two-row crossovers — the Tiguan is a solid pick.