2020 VW Tiguan: It’s Loaded Before You Load It

VW says the 2020 Tiguan represents a value proposition.  In other words, it’s loaded.  Standard features include a driver’s assist pack and Car-Net with Wi-Fi.  You can top $40,410, when you pick the SEL Premium R-Line with 20-inch wheels, heated steering wheel, 360-view parking aid, 4-Motion and wireless phone charger.

The Tiguan’s chiseled bod covers a spacious interior.  Handling is responsive but this VW has several quirks.  For instance, VW hides the instrument “rheostat” on the eight-inch infotainment touchscreen where you cannot adjust the Digital Cockpit brightness while moving.  Setting seat heat or steering wheel warmth is confounding.  And, you must poke two steering wheel switches in order to disable lane-keep assist.

There are three USB-A ports, an 1/8-inch audio input, several 12-VDC sockets, two SD card slots, a CD player, plus a flinty ride.

Those exploring the Tiggy’s middle and rear environs confront hard plastics offset by pliable door-card inserts and carpeted bins.  The firm mid and the optional Lilliputian third-row seats are easily reconfigured.

Deep wells flank the stowage bay’s floor.  A retractable cargo cover stores in a cove.  VW illuminates this compartment well.  Operating the cargo cover snags the third-row’s shoulder belts.  My tester’s Easy Open rear lid didn’t work.

A 2.0-liter 184-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine with start/stop sips regular fuel.  It buttons to an eight-speed automatic.  I observed 24 mpg overall.  The EPA says 20-mpg city, 27 highway and 23 combined.

Unfortunately, this mill sometimes gurgles to loudly.  On highway trips, wind, road and engine murmur are subdued.  One bonus:  there’s some road sense.  Brakes are effective and automatic LED headlights lucid.  Acceleration from 60 mph is sluggish.

This Tiguan comes up short as a $40,000 chariot.  There’s a lot to like; it offers driver engagement.  Before you buy, check engine noise and try its user interface.