With three rows of seating, the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan goes up against the 2021 Buick Envision. Which is better?
- The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan offers three rows for 7-passenger seating.
- The 2021 Buick Envision is all-new for this year and gets plenty of upgrades. It is, however, only available with one engine option.
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
Base price: $26,440 / Read our 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Review
What we like: Seven-passenger seating and huge cargo space; ride and handling; luxury touches.
What we would change: Offer another engine/transmission choice or even a hybrid option; make the styling less conservative.
Overview: A rare 3-row compact crossover, the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan offers what one might expect from VW, including a comfortable ride, sporty performance, and plenty of luxury touches throughout. It also boasts numerous safety features. Given its size, however, we would prefer an optional upgrade engine. Resale values also lag some Japanese competitors.
What’s new for 2021: The changes are mostly subtle and cosmetic for 2021. S and SE trims offer new 17-inch wheels, and the SE trim gets active cruise control and the MIB 3 infotainment system. The SEL Premium R-line trim gets a power front passenger seat.
Features and technology: One of the most important distinctions about the 2021 VW Tiguan is its three rows of seating for seven passengers in front-wheel-drive models. Tiguans optioned with 4Motion all-wheel drive get two rows as standard, with a third row optional.
There are five trims of Tiguan, ranging from the S up to the SEL R-Line. Base models are well-equipped, with VW’s Car-Net App-Connect package including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other tech includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity, and a rearview camera. Safety features include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert. Many of the items available on upper trims are also available as options.
The next trim up, the SE, includes adaptive cruise control, the latest MIB 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, automatic climate control, heated front seats, wireless phone charging, and keyless access with push-button start.
Moving up to the SE R-Line black adds 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, fog lights with cornering functionality, and some styling tweaks. The SEL includes 19-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, and a navigation system. The top-line SEL R-Line includes a 480-watt Fender audio system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel.
What does the future hold: We can’t read the crystal ball for the Tiguan, but VW continues is push into both crossover SUVs with the forthcoming Taos subcompact SUV and ID.4 all-electric SUV. Find a 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan for sale
2021 Buick Envision
Base price: $31,800 / Read our 2021 Buick Envision Review
What we like: Turbocharged engine; great safety suite; wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; top-of-the-line Avenir model; optional AWD across the lineup.
What we would change: Add power liftgate on the base model.
Overview: The Buick Envision is a compact premium crossover by Buick that offers tons of luxury amenities for a good price. It is a 2-row, 5-passenger vehicle that is built off the same chassis as the Cadillac XT4. While the vehicle is an American SUV, it is built in China.
What’s new for 2021: The Envision is all-new for this model year. It is about the same length as the previous generation, but it is lower and wider and comes in three trim levels: Preferred, Essence, and Avenir. All versions get a turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that makes 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. There are no other engine options, though you can opt for either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive across the lineup. The FWD version gets 24 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. The AWD versions are slightly less fuel-efficient at 22 mpg city/ 29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Adding AWD will cost you $1,800 regardless of the trim level you choose.
Features and technology: At the base level, or Preferred trim, the Envision comes equipped with bi-LED headlights, manual-adjust cloth-covered front seats, and an infotainment system featuring an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Sirius XM radio, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. It also comes with push-button ignition, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, cruise control, and a safety suite that includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.
The mid-grade Buick Envision is the Essence trim, and it adds heated and power-adjustable front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-inch touchscreen, an 8.0-inch multicolor driver information center, and a power liftgate.
Most luxurious is the Envision Avenir. At this level, you get a premium Bose 9-speaker audio system, a cargo compartment cover, premium floormats, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera, a massaging driver’s seat, heated rear seats, and an infotainment system with more memory. The Buick Envision Avenir also has front and rear park assist, plus larger wheels and tires.
In addition to a $1,450 optional moonroof, the 2021 Buick Envision Essence can be ordered with a $2,500 Technology Package that includes front and rear park assist, HD Surround
Vision camera, the 9-speaker Bose audio system, and a head-up display. The Essence and Avenir versions of the Envision also are available with a $1,965 Technology Package II. This includes enhanced versions of the automatic emergency braking and parking assist systems, plus adaptive cruise control, articulating headlamps, a video rearview mirror, and an active suspension with continuous damping.
What does the future hold: Buick sells more cars in China than it does in the U.S., which means that we may see some additional engine options in future iterations. Find a 2021 Buick Envision for sale near you
Tiguan vs. Envision: Strengths Comparison
Volkswagen Tiguan benefits: Optional 3-row configuration; optional seating for seven passengers
Buick Envision benefits: Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; luxury amenities; turbocharged engine
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan vs. 2021 Buick Envision: Which is better?
It’s a close call between the Envision and the Tiguan, though the Envision slightly edges out the very good Tiguan. The Tiguan gets larger wheels on higher trims, which makes the ride a touch stiffer and the interior a bit noisier. We also like the styling on the Envision a bit more than that on the VW.
|Popular Powertrains||2021 Volkswagen Tiguan||2021 Buick Envision|
|Engine||2.0-liter turbo I4||2.0-liter turbo I-4|
|Horsepower||184 hp @ 4,400 rpm||228 hp @ 5000 rpm|
|Torque||221 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm||258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm|
|Transmission||8-spd automatic||9-spd automatic|
|Fuel Economy||25 mpg (22 city/29 hwy)||25 mpg (24 city/31 hwy)|
|Basic warranty||4 years/50,000 miles||4 years/ 50,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||4 years/50,000 miles||6 years/ 70,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||5 stars||NA|
|Max Seating Capacity||7||5|
|Wheelbase||109.8 inches||109.4 inches|
|Overall Length||185.1 inches||182.5 inches|
|Width||72.4 inches||74.1 inches|
|Height||66.3 inches||64.6 inches|
|Turning Diameter||37.7 feet||38 feet|
|Headroom, Front||39.6 inches||39.6 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||39.1 inches||38.9 inches|
|Legroom, Front||40.2 inches||40.4 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||36.6 inches||39.3 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||57.0 inches||56.7 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||55.9 inches||55.9 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||123.9 cubic feet||100.4 cubic feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume||65.7 cubic feet||25.2 cubic feet|