2021 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift brings tech updates

Volkswagen has revealed a facelift to the current generation Tiguan, due to arrive in Australia next year.

Volkswagen has launched a revised version of the Tiguan SUV. The facelifted Mazda CX-5 rival has been given a thorough cosmetic and technology update, as well as a new plug-in hybrid powertrain and a 235kW R-badged variant.

The facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan will go on sale during autumn this year, with the SUV’s most popular petrol and diesel engines (such as the 1.5-litre TSI and 2.0-litre TDI units) reaching showrooms first. These will be joined by the new R variant towards the end of the year and the new PHEV model in early 2021.

In essence, the new Volkswagen Tiguan R is a rebodied version of the recently revised Cupra Ateca. It uses the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as its Spanish sibling but, as Volkswagen sits above Cupra in the Group’s pecking order, its output increases to 235kW – which is 15kW more than the 221kW Ateca.

The Tiguan’s R’s range of chassis revisions are similar, though. Buyers get four-wheel drive, adaptive suspension, bigger brakes and a set of unique 21-inch alloy wheels. There’s also an aggressive exterior styling package, an optional Akrapovic exhaust system and a new, seven-stage configurable traction control system.

Volkswagen has also fitted the Tiguan R’s four-wheel drive chassis with a torque vectoring system, which can send up to 100 per cent of the engine’s power to the outside wheels when cornering.

Meanwhile, the new plug-in Tiguan shares the same 180kW turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor as the Mk8 Golf PHEV, which Volkswagen says will give the SUV a maximum all-electric range of 50km. The system also allows the Tiguan to travel at speeds of up to 130km/h in electric-only mode.

Volkswagen Tiguan: styling and interior revisions

Cosmetic revisions over the outgoing Tiguan are fairly extensive, as Volkswagen has tried to bring the SUV’s styling in line with the new Mk8 Golf hatchback. As such, the updated Tiguan features the same winged LED headlamps, radiator grille and broad bumper intakes as the hatchback, along with a new bonnet, new LED tail lights and a tweaked rear diffuser.

Inside, there’s a new sports steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls and new capacitive buttons for the air conditioning and ventilation systems. Buyers also can also have a configurable ambient lighting system and a 480-watt 10-speaker Harman/Kardon surround sound system as optional extras.

Volkswagen’s latest MIB3 infotainment system has been added, too, which comprises a 10-inch digital instrument cluster and a central infotainment screen in either 6.5-inch, 8.0-inch or 9.2-inch sizes. The system offers support for natural voice commands, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

There’s also some extra safety technology, such as lane-keeping assist, front assist, predictive adaptive cruise control and Volkswagen’s new “Travel Assist” semi-autonomous driving function, which can assume control of the vehicle’s steering, acceleration and braking on the freeway at speeds up to 210km/h.

Volkswagen Tiguan: engines and drivetrain

Specifications for the rest of the Tiguan’s engine range are yet to be confirmed but we expect it’ll consist of a familiar line-up of Volkswagen Group petrol and diesel powertrains.

So, the base-model should be powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit, with 110kW and 250Nm of torque. The engine will come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will be optionally available.

There’ll also be a less powerful version of Volkswagen 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which will sit below the flagship R model with 140kW and 320Nm of torque. Unlike the lower capacity petrol engines, though, it’ll likely only be offered with a seven-speed DSG and four-wheel-drive.

Buyers should also get a choice of diesel engines, all based on the Volkswagen Group’s versatile EA288 2.0-litre four-cylinder. Like the Ateca, there’ll be a 110kW variant – although it remains to be seen whether Volkswagen will continue offering the old Tiguan’s 140kW and 177kW diesel engines on this facelifted model.

Luke Wilkinson

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