2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line Review: Disappointing MPG
This popular crossover has impressed in the past, but woeful fuel mileage on this new 2022 model is why you should skip it.
2022 VW Tiguan SEL R-Line 4Motion review by The Road Beat.
Unless you’re Patrick Star and living under a rock in a cartoon, gasoline is expensive. Shoot, everything is expensive these days. So, it might make sense that, with many peoples’ monthly gasoline expenditures literally doubling compared to just earlier this year, you might be interested in saving some coin. If that’s what you’re after, this Tiguan is not for you.
I have tried two Tiguans in the past and have liked the way they drive and handle, not to mention their spaciousness inside. They’re competitively priced with other crossovers of the same size, and they offer a third-row seat option even, albeit one best reserved for the single-digit age groups. What they have always lacked is performance and class-trailing MPG. While their economy was never truly dreadful, with prior examples averaging 25 MPG (on the same exact some roads as driven here), it just was at the tail-end of a crowded, competitive field. Toyota’s standard RAV4 can do about 27-28 MPG in testing, and their hybrid model can leap all the way to above 35 MPG even. This most recent Tiguan, however? 21. Twenty-one MPG is all it could muster. In a time when combustion is so expensive to ignite, that’s a dog that doesn’t hunt. Even on the highway, MPG never surpassed 25. A much bigger Toyota Highlander, with a comparatively burly V6 engine, gets better MPG than that even. And no, I didn’t drive it like a lunatic - quite the opposite in fact. It’s baffling, really, and I can only hope that maybe I had a bad batch of gas in mine or something bizarre.
Maybe they sacrificed efficiency for speed? Nope, as this is one of the slowest new vehicles on sale today. Under its hood is a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 184 horsepower and notable 221 pounds of torque, but it feels like half that at times. Throttle response in its standard mode is poor to begin with, with sluggish getaways from a stop that are compounded with a transmission that hunts for gears; There might be eight gears, but somehow none are ever the right one with such a puny motor. Leaving a stop sign and merging onto a 45 MPH road, for example, the first instance of throttle does nothing, so you press down a little more, waiting for something, and then you get this lurch of power as the turbocharger’s boost finally builds. It’s not a graceful means of travel, and disappointing that the drivability can be so affected by the weak engine. It’s not noticeable every time, but no car in two-thousand-freaking-twenty-two should exhibit behavior like this. Oh, and 0-60 MPH takes a heady 9.5 seconds. Bummer.
But, let’s look on the bright side. The interior has improved somewhat with new digital air con controls that look better than the old, cheap knobs; After one try, I found them easy enough to use. Interior volume impresses, too, with a surprisingly large space inside despite being classified as a ‘compact’ vehicle by some. The Fender-branded stereo is just okay, nothing to shout about, but the logo does earn cool points. The front seats are comfortable, and the steering wheel feels lovely in the hands with its quality leather even if there are too many buttons on the wheel itself. In actuality, the digital cluster is pretty to look at, but it’s so crowded with information that it makes finding what you’re looking for sometimes a chore.
On the outside, it’s as handsome as ever, especially in R-Line trim with classy chrome details and badges here and there and sexy alloy wheels; The blue paint on this one is particularly nice, too. The nose has been refreshed and now appears sleeker and more low-slung - this is a good thing. Some might find it still a tad reserved, but it’s an elegant shape no doubt and looks unequivocally German.
Tiguan remains a fine handling car for sure, maybe the best in its class. Steering is a tad too light and overboosted for my liking, but it does make driving easy and tireless. Add to the fact it’s also accurate and the chassis responds well to being driven aggressively, and yeah, it drives very fine indeed. I liked that the steering didn’t have as much of a rubbery effect like on a recent Jetta I tried, instead feeling more natural in its operation. Turn into corners with purpose and you’ll be met with a surprising poise and balance, with the 4Motion all-wheel drive system definitely lending a hand when it comes to traction. The ride quality is quite good, and doesn’t get unnerved by bad pavement as bad as, say, Hyundai’s Tucson does. It’s a shame the engine is so dreary, because a Tiguan could easily handle loads more power.
There’s no way to sugar-coat this cold, unsweetened truth: I can’t recommend the Tiguan. Not everyone will notice or care that it’s slow or be keen enough to complain about the throttle from slow speeds, but its lackluster fuel economy really does pose huge problems for potential buyers. With other bills and goods all rising around us in our everyday lives, you will feel the difference and it will hurt. That being said, if my fuel economy is an isolated experience and some strange instance of a bad batch of gasoline, then you can throw the entire economy argument out the window. It’s still slow, though.
2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line 4Motion
As-tested price: $37,790
Pros: Same handsome exterior, improved interior
Cons: Slow and THIRSTY
Verdict: The sinking MPG makes it tough to recommend