2020 Volkswagen Tiguan (VW) Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos

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The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan is a well-rounded crossover SUV, just don’t expect to use its third row for anyone bigger than the family dog.

The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan is a crossover SUV that doesn’t chase trends. It’s a conservatively styled, well-proportioned family hauler made a more attractive value this year by the addition of standard collision-avoidance technology.

The spacious 2020 Tiguan doesn’t shout for attention. It relies instead on its relatively balanced overall package to earn 6.0 out of 10 points on our scale. It’s a low-stress bet worth including on a shopping list, but look closely at its rivals as well. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Available in S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium trim levels, the Tiguan makes use of a 184-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 that pairs with an 8-speed automatic transmission to send power to the front or, optionally, all four wheels. The docile powertrain provides the Tiguan with decent acceleration, though the engine rumbles at low speeds more than we’d like to see. Handling is composed, if not eager, and the optional R-Line appearance package adds the illusion of zip but no substantive changes.

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Sized a little larger than rivals such as the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4, the Tiguan can be had with three rows of seats. Draw your straw carefully, however, as the available third row is best for kids who really should be in child seats or perhaps the family pooch.

Otherwise, the Tiguan has a nice, spacious interior composed of low-sheen, soft-touch materials and hard-wearing upholstery. The standard 6.5-inch touchscreen is a tad small, but it works well with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and the optional 8.0-inch display is available for not too much more.

The Tiguan has earned mixed crash-test results. The IIHS criticized its headlights while the federal government noted that the driver’s door opened during a side-impact test.

The 2020 VW Tiguan tries no harder than it needs to when it comes to exterior and interior styling.

The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan plays it safe. It’s the Target of crossover SUVs, a ‘ute draped not in designer duds but in crisp, clothes that won’t raise an eyebrow.

We rate it at 5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

At 185 inches between its bumpers, the 2020 Tiguan is on the large side for a compact crossover SUV. It looks every bit its length, though those wide doors help passengers climb aboard. The sharp front end features a wide grille flanked by either halogen or optional LED headlights. Wheels range from 17 inches on up, and the optional R-Design package has some glossy black styling bits that don’t seem worth the money to us. It’s a straightforward design that doesn’t believe in frills of any kind, for better or worse.

The Tiguan features a low dash inside that houses either a 6.5-inch or an 8.0-inch touchscreen mounted high. Interior shades range from relentless black to gray to a two-tone orange and black that works better than it sounds. It’s a similarly plain environment in which to work, a marked contrast from the extravagant shapes found in some Korean and Japanese crossovers. It’s functional, but lacks fun and warmth.

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A long wheelbase helps give the 2020 VW Tiguan a composed ride.

Though it may have been built by a company that tests its cars on the Autobahn, the 2020 VW Tiguan has a gentle, family-friendly demeanor. Even in R-Design grade, it prioritizes a soft ride over blistering acceleration or handling tenacity.

We wind up at a 6 out of 10 for performance for the 2020 Tiguan, with a point above average for its comfortable ride. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

No matter the Tiguan trim level or paint color, every model leaves the factory with a 184-horsepower, 221 pound-feet of torque 2.0-liter turbo-4 teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Power goes to the front wheels in Sun Belt models, while all-wheel drive is optional. Every Tiguan has a few drive modes, including a handy user-configurable one that lets drivers adjust features such as steering heft or throttle sensitivity. In every mode, the turbo-4 furnishes decent, but not thrilling power, and it can sound gruff at low speeds. The 8-speed automatic transmission can also seem confused at times and it can be slow to downshift for highway passing.

Steering feedback is nonexistent, though the three-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel points the wheels forward with unusual precision on a winding road. There’s plenty of lean into curves, a byproduct of the soft suspension that helps the Tiguan coddle its occupants on rutted terrain.

With just under 8 inches of ground clearance, the Tiguan is hardly a rock crawler. It’ll be fine for snowy roads, however.

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So long as you’re not shoehorned into the third row, the 2020 VW Tiguan has a comfortable interior.

The 2020 VW Tiguan earns 8 out of 10 points for comfort, with ticks above average for its spacious cabin, its good front seats, and its roomy second row. We don’t dock the 2020 Tiguan a point for its comically cramped third row of seats since it’s optional, however. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The front seats are upright and firmly padded, and they sit high enough to afford a commanding view forward. Power controls and seat heaters are optional. 

Row two slides forward at the tug of a lever or pushes back to open up more or less cargo space or leg room. Five-seat Tiguans can lug nearly 38 cubic feet of cargo with the second row upright and slid forward. The optional third row—it’s mandatory with front-wheel drive—steals about 2.5 cubic feet, however. Fold row two flat and maximum cargo capacity swells to 73.5 cubic feet in five-seaters but just 65.7 cubes in seven-seaters. That’s good, but not as spacious as the Subaru Forester.

Tiguans make good use of soft-touch, low-sheen materials. The standard cloth upholstery has a pleasingly tough feel, while the optional synthetic leather fitted to SE and SELs makes cleaning up a cinch. Leather seats are included on the SEL Premium, as they should be for nearly $40,000.

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The 2020 VW Tiguan now comes standard with automatic emergency braking.

The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan includes an array of collision-avoidance tech as standard, but limited crash testing means we can’t assign it a score here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts are standard on the 2020 Tiguan. That previously optional tech joins six airbags and a system that locks the brakes in place in the event of a collision. 

Federal testers haven’t fully assessed the Tiguan, though they noted in previous testing that the driver’s door popped open during a side-impact evaluation. The IIHS rated the Tiguan “Good” in every crash test, but poor headlight performance prevented it from a Top Safety Pick award.

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The 2020 VW Tiguan can be a good value as long as you stay away from costly loaded-up models.

The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan comes in four trim levels, with a handful of options available. We rate the lineup at 7 out of 10, with points above average for good base equipment and a stellar 6-year, 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The best value in the lineup is the base Tiguan S, which now comes with automatic emergency braking that joins power features, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, alloy wheels, and air conditioning. A third row of occasional-use seats comes standard on front-wheel-drive versions. It’s not lavish, and at around $27,000 with a mandatory destination charge, the 2020 Tiguan S with all-wheel drive isn’t inexpensive, but it’s a bargain compared to the range-topping SEL Premium. 

At nearly $40,000, the SEL Premium comes with leather upholstery, a power panoramic moonroof, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Fender audio, and a number of other upgrades.

In our eyes, the smart buy here is the Tiguan SE. Forabout $29,000 with all-wheel drive, it adds to the base Tiguan S easy-clean synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic climate control, keyless ignition, and more. 

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There are thriftier crossover SUVs than the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan.

The 2020 VW Tiguan doesn’t impress for its fuel economy. We score it at just 4 out of 10, where some rivals earn 5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With all-wheel drive, the 2020 Tiguan is rated at a not-so-great 21 mpg city, 29 highway, 24 combined. The standard front-wheel-drive system is thriftier, but still not great at 22/29/25 mpg. Several rivals earn as high as 30 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, while the Subaru Forester is rated at an impressive 29 mpg combined with standard all-wheel drive. With no hybrid version on offer like the Toyota RAV4, the 2020 Tiguan has some catching up to do. 

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