2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line Test Drive: The Hits and Misses
We like this Tiguan, but it will set you back.
Personally, when it comes to Volkswagen SUVs, I prefer driving the much larger Volkswagen Atlas. But if you think the Atlas is a bit too much car for you, then the compact Tiguan might be up your alley. It was the marque's global best seller in 2019, with 109,572 Tiguans sold in the U.S. alone. Sure, you can find more exciting options to drive, like the Audi Q3 or Mazda CX-5, but the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line we tested is all about passenger comfort—well, maybe not the passengers relegated to its third-row seats, a $595 option that brings the total up to a not so tiny $40,410.
The third-row seat adds 10.7 inches to the length over the previous generation Tiguan, but I would skip trying to sit in them and simply get a bigger car, if need be. My parents owned a VW Beetle convertible in the early 1970s that had a little cubby hole behind the rear seats, and my brothers and I would try and squeeze into it by sitting sideways. Today, the same could be said for the Tiguan's third-row seat; you're better off using that space with the seats folded down to accommodate additional cargo. However, the Tiguan is due for a refresh in 2022, so here's hoping VW's designers find a way to make it work better.
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion: Styling
Our test Tiguan featured a coat of Pure White paint and a Saffrano (orange) and black leather interior. Overall, the Tiguan looks like a shrunken but stylish Atlas with a tri-bar grille flanked by LED headlights. Like most small SUVs, the rear end is the least attractive feature, but with the gate up there is plenty of space to swallow groceries, giant bags of dog food, and more. The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line wears R-Line bumpers, badging, and side sills, and it rolls on killer 20-inch wheels shod with all-season rubber that look great but bounce around over bumps. Still, the Tiguan is one tasty looking marshmallow with wheels.
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion: Engine and Transmission
Under the hood, the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI I-4 engine making 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The four is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with 4Motion all-wheel drive. Test its performance, and the Tiguan takes its time getting up to speed in Sport mode, and gearshifts can feel clunky when you punch it. Other modes include Eco, Normal, or Custom, with settings for snow, off-road, or hills. Combined fuel ratings average approximately 23 mpg.
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion: Interior and Safety
Inside, the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line is super sporty yet family friendly, with an overall simplistic touch. A flat infotainment touchscreen dominates the center stack, and all of its controls are easy to access and use. The panoramic sunroof is superb and a must-have for anyone who loves fresh air in the cabin and a big blue sky overhead.
Standard safety goodies include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. Nice touches for this trim include chrome pedals, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a wireless phone charger, and rain-sensing wipers.
Is it all worth it for $40,000? Arguably not, but the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line's size makes it easy to find parking spots in the city, and your kids will probably love it: Climbing in and out of the third-row seats can be a whole lot of fun for amateur gymnasts.
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion Pros:
- Compact size
- Clean looks
- Stylish interior and sunroof
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion Cons:
- Lackluster ride
- Third-row seat delivers limited usefulness
|2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line 4MOTION Specifications|
|PRICE||$39,815/$40,410 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/184 hp @ 4,400 rpm, 221 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 7-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||20/27 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||185.1 x 72.4 x 66.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||8.9 sec|
|TOP SPEED||120 mph (est)|