27 May 2021

Volkswagen Tiguan 2021 Car Review

Volkswagen has recently given the current model Tiguan (which was all-new when launched back in 2016) a bit of a mid-life update.

Image 1
Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 2021
Image 2
Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 2021
Image 3
Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 2021
Image 4
Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 2021
Image 5
Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 2021
Image 6
Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 2021

The German manufacturer has added new innovative technology to one of their bestsellers, as well as some minor changes to the exterior design.

The Volkswagen Tiguan is definitely at the top of the class when it comes to Volkswagen SUVs. Sales have remained strong over the past 18 months, with supply issues and sales not as detrimentally affected as other SUVs were during the pandemic. Fun fact: Globally, a Tiguan rolls off the production line every 35 seconds.

We previously reviewed the Volkswagen Tiguan back in 2016 and the extended wheelbase Tiguan Allspace in 2018.

So what’s different?

The new facelift Tiguan’s physical changes are headlined by a larger front grille shrouded by slimmer LED headlights and an updated bumper. At the rear, the Tiguan boasts new taillights, a new rear bumper and the letters ‘TIGUAN’ emblazoned on the mid-size SUV’s tailgate. There are also four new body colours added in the mix, with the hero colour Nightshade Blue Metallic exclusive only to the Tiguan.

The interior styling of the Tiguan remains refined and of a high quality and has escaped any major, drastic changes. One of the most noticeable differences in the interior is the new Air Care Climatronic system – the three round dials that previously controlled the heater/air conditioning have now been substituted for an attractive display panel. The controls for the main infotainment have been moved inside the perimeter of the unit which gives a more stylish look, and the steering wheel now has the new style VW insignia and the control buttons on either side have changed to a more simplistic one piece design.

The model we reviewed was the R-Line 2WD, which adds an Area View Camera, Sat Nav, the 10.25-inch Active Info Display over the base ‘Life’ model, along with power heated electric front seats, ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery and R-Line trim finishing touches - the ‘R’ symbol itself has undergone a change also and looks very modern, simplistic and stylish. There are also 30 colours of ambient lighting to choose from. Curiously, the mag wheels are named after cities such as Tulsa, Auckland, Suzuka and, as demonstrated on the vehicle model we reviewed - ‘Valencia’.

One Touch Assistance

A new standard driver assistance feature is Travel Assist; a one-button assisted driving suite that utilises the Adaptive Cruise Control system along with the Active Lane Assist lane keeping system. This proves best in motorway traffic where the system can support the driver in monotonous or tiring driving situations. Alongside the intuitive driver-oriented cockpit controls, it allows the driver to concentrate completely on the essentials. The Tiguan still holds its 5-Star ANCAP safety rating from testing carried out in 2016.

Like with previous Tiguan models we’ve tested, this medium-sized SUV felt very comfortable on the road, and incredibly easy to drive. It’s agile, grounded and feels more grown up compared to older models. After testing the car for just a few days, everything became second nature and it felt very easy and familiar to drive.

The 1.4-litre turbo engine provided more than enough drive to the front wheels, with the turbo giving smooth power delivery. Due to the small size of the engine, fuel efficiency is good at 7.6L/200km – this translates to a CO2 emissions rating of 172g/km.

What model will Kiwis lean toward?

The top-spec Tiguan R is penned as the enthusiasts’ choice of the bunch but won’t land in New Zealand until the end of 2021. The R-Line 4WD (which has just got here) is tipped to continue to be the bestseller.

What other vehicles should I consider?

The Tiguan R-Line has a nice middle price point and sits in a position to offer a very good package for your money. Similarly-sized vehicles are also available, such as the Hyundai Tucson 2WD Elite (from $45,990 +ORC), the Seat Ateca 1.4T 2WD (from $46,900 +ORC) and the similarly luxurious Audi Q2 Advanced wagon (from $56,900 +ORC).

At a glance


Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line 2021


1.4-litre TSI 2WD


From $55,990 (+ORC)

ANCAP safety rating

5 Star (tested 2016)

Power and Torque

110kW, 250Nm


Six-speed DSG

Fuel economy/CO2

7.6L/100km, 172g/km

Towing capacity

1,800kg (Braked), 750kg (Unbraked)


2WD (Front)

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

615 litres

Safety systems

  • Electronic Diff Lock, Electronic Stability Program
  • Front Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning
  • Anti-slip Regulation
  • Pedestrian Monitoring
  • Trailer Stabilisation
  • Proactive Occupant Protection System
  • Nine Airbags
  • Lane Assist, Side Assist and Rest Assist Systems

Find out more on how the AA can help you when buying a new car:

Vehicle experts you can trust

Previous review
Next review
Ford Focus 2021 Car Review
Read more
Volkswagen Golf 2021 Car Review
Read more