2021 Volkswagen Tiguan to get a fresh face, better tech

The refreshed 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan compact crossover will get a sportier design when it debuts this summer, the automaker confirmed Thursday. 

The German brand’s bestselling vehicle will get a facelift with a new hood and a broader, wider front and rear bumper to look sportier and “more masculine in stance,” Hendrik Muth, head of marketing for VW, said. 

LED headlights will be standard equipment on the 2021 Tiguan, but the matrix lighting systems offered in Europe will not be on Tiguan crossovers sold in North America.

Aside from technology upgrades, not much changes inside one of the few compact crossovers with an available third row in the U.S. The version sold in the U.S. is larger than most other compact crossovers on sale. The cramped third row is sticking around, despite the presence in the showroom of the larger three-row Volkswagen Atlas. 

“We have an advantage in the space that lets us offer the third row,” said Hein Schafer, senior vice president of product marketing and strategy.

The 2021 Tiguan will come with Volkswagen’s latest infotainment system, dubbed MIB 3, with faster processors, better graphics, and over-the-air updates.

The powertrain from the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan carries over with a 184-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. 

The Tiguan plug-in hybrid and Tiguan R performance models slated for Europe are not likely to cross the Atlantic. 

“We’re always looking to find more fuel-efficient engines…and more powerful,” Schafer said. “At this stage it is very difficult to confirm if and when that will happen.”

Shafer added that a plug-in powertrain for the Tiguan isn’t likely to appear in the U.S. soon due to higher costs, among other factors.

“This is a very price-sensitive market,” he said.

Mark Gillies, a spokesman for VW, added that a performance version of the compact crossover would “enrich the Tiguan’s lineup,” but added that the company would talk about that version “at a later point.”

The ID.4 electric crossover will debut this year, and a crossover smaller than the Tiguan will be announced this year as well.

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