Officially, the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact crossover/SUV. In reality, it’s big enough to offer three rows of seating and generous cargo capacity. The reclining second-row seats are friendly for adults and bulky child seats alike. The third row is not so accommodating, but could certainly be useful when the school run duties come around.
The interior also has a certain premium feel, although its materials aren’t necessarily better than those of the top rivals, such as Honda and Mazda. Fuel economy also trails those rivals by a considerable margin. However, the Tiguan’s size, sense of solidity and sophisticated ride sets it apart, making it a generally appealing crossover/SUV. Like every 2019 Volkswagen, the Tiguan comes with an industry-leading 6-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.
What’s New for 2019?
The VW Tiguan gains a couple of R-Line variants to its SEL and SEL Premium trim levels. An alarm becomes standard in the SE trim, while SEL trim gains the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit (a configurable 12.3-in driver’s information display) plus parking sensors front and rear.
The SEL R-Line will be replaced later in the model year by the SEL R-Line Jet Black, which brings 19-in alloy wheels with a black finish and various other exterior elements brought over to the dark side. See the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan models for sale near you
What We Like
- Abundant passenger and cargo space
- Availability of third-row seat
- User-friendly technology
- Comfortable and refined ride
- 6-year warranty
What We Don’t
- Below-average fuel economy
- Less agile than top rivals
- Sluggish throttle response
The 2019 Tiguan employs a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive (FWD) are standard, while all-wheel drive (AWD) — called 4Motion — is optional in the lowest four trims.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), estimated fuel economy with FWD is 22 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving. The 4Motion system lowers those figures to 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined. The combined-cycle estimates of top rivals are between three and six mpg better, which is significant.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan is available in S, SE, SEL ,SEL R-Line, SEL Premium and SEL Premium R-Line trim levels. FWD versions come with standard 7-passenger seating; the third row is optional with AWD.
Where it’s not standard, the 4Motion system is an extra $1,300. It also includes hill-start assist, hill-descent control, plus selectable modes for snow, on-road and off-road conditions.
The Tiguan S ($25,290) comes standard with 17-in alloy wheels, roof rails, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated side mirrors, automatic climate control, manually adjustable front seats, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, a USB port, VW’s Car-Net smartphone app suite that includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, a 6.5-in infotainment touchscreen, an AM/FAM radio and a 6-speaker audio system.
An optional Driver Assistance package adds forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.
SE ($27,690) has the Driver Assistance package plus a keyless entry/ignition, heated washer nozzles, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat (plus 2-way power lumbar), two additional USB ports (one front, one rear), an 8-in infotainment touchscreen with enhanced functionality and voice controls, a satellite/HD radio, an alarm system and Car-Net Security and Service emergency communications (see Safety section). A panoramic sunroof is optional.
SEL ($32,790) includes that panoramic sunroof then adds 18-in wheels, a powered lift gate, fog lights, remote start, Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, adaptive cruise control (operates in stop/go traffic), navigation and front/rear parking sensors.
SEL R-Line ($34,690) brings 19-in wheels and some cosmetic additions.
SEL Premium ($38,190) adds AWD, LED headlights with automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, ambient cabin lighting, a hands-free lift gate, power-folding mirrors, a heated steering wheel, leather seating surfaces, driver’s-side memory settings, a 40/20/40-split folding back seat, a cargo cover, an automatic parking system, an overhead-view camera system, lane-keeping assistance, active blind spot monitoring, reverse emergency braking and a 9-speaker Fender audio system.
SEL Premium R-Line ($39,890) comes with 20-in alloy wheels (which will have a detrimental impact on ride quality) along with the R-Line cosmetic package.
Every Tiguan comes standard with anti-lock brakes, stability control and front-side and full-length side-curtain airbags. The Driver Assistance package, optional on the S and standard on all other trims, includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic warning systems. Lane-keeping assistance and reverse emergency braking are standard on the SEL Premium. All but the base trims also come standard with Car-Net Security and Service, which includes automatic collision notification and an emergency call button.
The government has not yet crash-tested the new VW Tiguan, but the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick for its best possible ratings in crashworthiness and crash avoidance technology.
Behind the Wheel
The 2019 VW Tiguan is a heavy, comfort-focused machine. There’s little to encourage the driver, given its sluggish throttle response and numb steering. The Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are considerably more enjoyable. They’re just as quick and more efficient. Yet the Tiguan has a European feel on its side. It moves down the road with a certain sophistication and solidity that’s a Volkswagen hallmark.
The cabin plays host to easy-to-use electronics, sensibly placed controls, a decent amount of storage space and the same high-quality switchgear found throughout Volkswagen’s lineup. The plastics and rubbery dash pad look and feel a bit cheap, though. If anything, the CR-V and CX-5 are just as classy inside.
At least the 2019 Tiguan is impressively spacious. The third seating row is best suited to kids, but gives the Tiguan something most rivals don’t even offer. Keep in mind, though, that it does alter cargo capacity. With it, cargo space is a perfectly average 65.7 cu ft. (all rear seats down) and 33 cu ft. (second row raised) for the segment. Without it, there’s 73.5 cu ft. and 37.6 cu ft., respectively, which is among the best. The trunk floor is usefully wide and deep, and effectively lower without the third row.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Honda CR-V — A well-rounded champ. Pick a vehicle aspect and if it isn’t objectively or subjectively number one, then it’s probably a close second. No compact crossover search would be complete without considering it.
2019 Mazda CX-5 — Sharp driving dynamics and a ritzy interior are just two of its many virtues.
2019 Toyota RAV4 — A little pricier than its Japanese rivals, but still a big seller. Offers a hybrid version as well.
2019 Kia Sorento — If a third row is required, but not an SUV that’s too large, the reasonably priced midsize Sorento crossover might be a good compromise. It’s also quite sophisticated inside, packed with equipment and comes with a lengthy warranty to rival VW’s.
Used Audi Q5 — This premium 5-seater from VW’s corporate cousin could be a good used alternative for those attracted to the Tiguan. It’s smaller inside and will have less in-car technology, but its quality, luxury, power and overall driving experience is superior. Check out Audi’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.
The SE trim should be the starting point, but we like the extra equipment in the SEL. Buyers who need every ounce of help with parking should look at the SEL Premium. The R-Line versions are merely superficial. Find a Volkswagen Tiguan for sale