2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance review

  • Doors and Seats
  • Engine
  • Engine Power
  • Fuel
  • Manufacturer
  • Transmission
  • Warranty
  • Ancap Safety

The Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI sees the return of diesel power to the German brand’s medium SUV range. Rob Margeit finds out if the price premium over petrol variants stacks up.

  • Refined diesel engine
  • Quiet and insulated cabin
  • Plenty of standard equipment for the money

  • No DAB+ radio (although that’s about to change)
  • Wireless smartphone glitches
  • Occasional and minor hesitation from dual-clutch auto transmission

It’s a telling sign of the times that the Volkswagen Tiguan is the German brand’s best-selling vehicle globally, overtaking the company’s mainstay Golf and Polo models in 2020. That’s hardly surprising, the growth of SUVs of all shapes and sizes a phenom that shows no signs of abating.

It’s a similar tale in Australia where if you count sales of Tiguan and the elongated seven-seater Tiguan Allspace, Volkswagen’s mid-sizer flies the Wolfsburg flag locally, certainly so far in 2021.

Volkswagen brought a refreshed Tiguan range to our shores earlier this year but missing from the line-up (as it has been since 2018) was a diesel variant. The local arm of the German carmaker promised a diesel Tiguan would join the range later in the year. It has now come good on that promise.

Meet the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI, the diesel-powered mid-size SUV that slides into the wider Tiguan range right at the top. Two diesel variants are offered, both powered by the same 2.0-litre turbo-diesel making 147kW and 400Nm.

The Tiguan we have here is the entry point into the diesel range, the 147TDI Elegance. It’s priced at $52,990 plus on-road costs, $3000 more affordable than the only other diesel in the range, the 147TDI R-Line ($55,290).

Worth noting, though, that similarly specified petrol variants in the Tiguan range undercut the diesel variants on price by $2500. The 162TSI Elegance is priced at $50,790 (plus on-roads) while the petrol range-topping 162TSI R-Line asks for $53,790, both sitting at the top of the Tiguan petrol ladder that gets underway with the $39,690 110TSI Life.

But, for those with a bent for diesel, the more affordable of the two Tiguan oilers doesn’t want for equipment.

Standard kit highlights include seat upholstery in Vienna leather, electric front seats with lumbar support, 19-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights and premium LED tail-lights with dynamic indicators, heated front seats and steering wheel, a 9.2-inch infotainment touchscreen running VW’s Discover Pro satellite navigation system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, tinted rear windows, 30-colour ambient interior lighting, Volkswagen’s full suite of safety technology, and a 10.25-inch digital driver display.

Our test Tiguan wore a full complement of options. The Kings Red metallic paint adds $800 to the price tag while inside the $2500 Sound & Vision package brings premium sound, a head-up display and 360-degree view cameras. A panoramic sunroof adds $2000 to the bottom line. As tested? Try $58,290 plus on-road costs.

Visually, there’s little to distinguish the diesel Tiguan from its petrol brethren, the 147TDI’s bespoke design of 19-inch ‘Auckland’ alloy wheels the biggest difference. Matte chrome roof rails are joined by chromed exhaust tips, grille surrounds and lower body mouldings.

The overall profile is of a handsome and well-proportioned medium SUV.

But, is the diesel right for you? And does it warrant its price premium over similar petrol variants? Let’s find out.

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It’s familiar Volkswagen territory inside the Tiguan, which goes some way to mirroring VW’s new interior design language, as most notably seen in the new Golf. Overall cabin presentation hints at the premium aspirations of the Tiguan, with plenty of yielding surfaces and a quality of materials that wouldn’t feel out of place in some luxury brands.

It starts with the Vienna leather appointed seats, at once supportive and well bolstered.

Both the driver’s and passenger seat electrically adjustable including lumbar support. Heated too, for those chilly winter mornings.

Visibility all around is decent, thanks to the tallish (and adjustable) seating position affording a good field of vision over the bonnet. The adjustable steering wheel (also heated) helps to ensure an ergonomically sound driving position.

Ergonomically sound is the best way to describe the cabin, with plentiful thoughtful touches and conveniences. A 30-colour palette of ambient lighting can be adjusted via the 9.2-inch touchscreen to suit your ambient mood. Racy red is fun, although I prefer the calming hues of green found on the colour wheel.

The haptic slider buttons for the Tiguan’s climate control are easy to use on the move and can be used by either sliding or tapping the appropriate control. Further, and we love this feature, holding your finger over the middle of the temperature slider will change the temperature to what Volkswagen reckons is the ideal 22-degrees Celsius. Perfect.

In storage terms, there’s a fair-sized bin in the centre console, and a pair of adjustable cupholders that can also be used to hide smaller valuables away from prying eyes thanks to a sliding cover. There’s also a smartphone-sized cubby fore of the gear lever although, unusually in a vehicle costing close to $60k on the road, isn’t fitted with wireless charging technology.

To charge your devices, you’ll need one of the two USB-C points up front, necessitating either the latest in smartphone technology or an adaptor. A minor quibble.

Large door pockets, flocked for extra noise insulation, can accommodate bottles up front, as can the matching door pockets in the second row.

That second row is spacious and comfortable, certainly behind my 173cm driving position. There’s plentiful space in all key areas, although middle pew commuters will probably not find the experience entirely pleasant on longer trips, thanks to a firm base and large transmission tunnel.

Still, those second row passengers are treated to conveniences such as separate climate controls and air vents as well as a single USB-C connection and a 12V outlet. The outboard seats are fitted with ISOFIX mounts for child seats while all three seatbacks feature top-tether anchor points.

Those back seats fold – almost flat – in 40:20:40 fashion, to free up a healthy 1655 litres of boot space, up from the 615 litres with the second row in use by humans. It’s a decent haul of capacity, comparing favourable to the best-selling Toyota RAV4’s 542 litres and the Mazda CX-5’s 442L/1342L. Additionally the convenience of having a fold-down middle section of the rear seat can’t be underestimated, allowing for the lugging of longer (and it should be mentioned, skinnier) items while still affording two people the ability to travel in the back row.

Nice touches in the Tiguan’s boot include levers that flip the back seats down and some little storage cubbies as well as hooks to help secure goodies. A space-saver spare lives under the boot floor.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance
Seats Five
Boot volume 615L seats up / 1655L seats folded
Length 4509mm
Width 1839mm
Height 1684mm
Wheelbase 2681mm

Infotainment and Connectivity

A crisp 9.2-inch touchscreen anchors the Tiguan’s infotainment system that includes satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and wireless smartphone mirroring (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Still no DAB+ radio although in recent weeks Volkswagen has confirmed it will finally bring the technology to its range.

Our test car was fitted with the optional ($2500) Sound & Vision package that brings a head-up display for the driver, 360-degree camera and a premium 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. It’s debatable whether this is a necessary option, but for those who value audio quality, you’ll probably want to tick this box.

The camera view is certainly crisp and clear, while having driver information projected onto a pop-up screen direct in the line of sight is a nice addition to the already excellent iteration of Volkswagen’s digital driver display, dubbed Digital Cockpit Pro.

VW has raised the bar for driver display technology with Cockpit Pro, its configurable and intuitive interface projected onto a 10.25-inch screen the new standard. It’s easy to use, with sharp resolution and can display vital information in any number of ways. It works well in a way that some iterations of digital cockpits don’t – intuitive, easy to configure and easy to read. Even the fonts used, a minor detail, to be sure, are spot on.

But, it’s not all bouquets. We had some issues connecting an iPhone via wireless Apple CarPlay. The connection itself was fast and easy, and while the various apps like mapping and radio, worked faultlessly, no complaints there. But, incoming or outgoing phone calls would not play through the Tiguan’s speakers. In all likelihood, this a one-off glitch, but one worth pointing out. And since we didn’t have a USB-C converter to hand, we couldn’t test if this was restricted to wireless smartphone mirroring only. Hopefully, an isolated case, but worth checking, is our tip.

The Tiguan range comes fitted as standard with Volkswagen suite of safety tech, dubbed IQ.Drive. It bundles autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go function, lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, parking assist and a driver attention monitor.

ANCAP awarded the Tiguan range a five-star safety rating in 2016 and that score carries over into this revised MY22 range. The safety body scored VeeDub’s medium SUV 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 80 per cent for child occupant protection and 68 per cent for pedestrian protection. It also scored the Tiguan’s safety systems at 68 per cent although the now standard IQ.Drive should see that score move upwards if it were tested today.

A full complement of airbags covers both rows of occupants.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance
ANCAP rating Five stars (tested 2016)
Safety report Link to ANCAP

The Tiguan 147TDI certainly plays at the upper end of the mainstream medium SUV segment in terms of pricing. That circa $60k on the road will buy a lot of Toyota RAV4 or Mazda CX-5, as examples. Still, the Tiguan is arguably the better-presented and more premium offering, straddling the gap between Japanese mainstream and full-blown Euro luxury.

Keeping the value proposition front and centre, the Tiguan 147TDI is nicely specified with a host of standard inclusions often found buried in options lists elsewhere.

Being a diesel, you’d expect decent fuel economy. For its part, VW claims the Tiguan diesel will make do with 6.1L per 100km on the combined cycle. After a week with the rejuvenated oiler, we saw an indicated 6.7L, covering a wide array of conditions, a decent return against Volkswagen’s claim.

Like the broader Volkswagen range, the Tiguan wears a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, increasingly the standard in the mainstream field.

Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. Thanks to VW’s capped price program, three years/45,000 worth of trips to the workshop will set you back a total of $1775. Extend that out to five years and 75,000km and the number is $3139. That’s for pay-as-you-go-servicing.

VW also offers servicing plans that can save you a fair chunk of change when paid up front at time of purchase. For the Tiguan 147TDI, those plans run to $1500 (three years) and $2580 (five years), savings of $275 and $559 respectively. Nice.

The Tiguan’s diesel engine is Euro 6 compliant thanks to the addition of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology. This will require owners to top up with AdBlue, a liquid that turns harmful NOX emissions into harmless nitrogen and water. A cleaner diesel in other words. AdBlue will typically be required every 5000-6500km or so. A 10-litre bottle of AdBlue costs around $30.

At a glance 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance
Warranty Five years / unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months / 15,000km
Servicing costs $1500 (3 years prepaid) | $2580 (5 years prepaid)
Fuel cons. (claimed) 6.1L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 6.7L/100km
Fuel type Diesel (with AdBlue)
Fuel tank size 58L

The Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel. It makes, as its name suggests 147kW at 4100rpm and a decent wallop of torque, 400Nm at a user-friendly 1750-3500rpm. It’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sending drive to VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

And it is a perfectly willing and able combination that serves its purpose nicely. Around town, in daily driving duties, the engine feels effortless and refined, quick off the mark without being stupidly fast. Acceleration is perfectly predictable although there is ever so slight a hint of the low-down hesitation of the dual-clutch automatic when moving away from standstill. On the move, however, it works away seamlessly.

It’s a similar tale out on the highway, where the full whack of 400Nm available from 1750rpm makes for an effortless highway cruiser. The tacho needle barely passes the 1500rpm mark at 100km/h, the Tiguan diesel feeling relaxed, as if it’s simply out for a morning stroll.

There is a moment’s hesitation from the dual-clutch auto when more is asked of the engine for say and overtake or merge, but it’s probably no more than the time it would have taken anyone to down-change a manual transmission from yesteryear.

You can add some responsiveness by flicking the gear selector into ‘S’ for Sport mode which increases not only how long the engine is willing to hang onto revs, but also adds some slickness to the dual-clutch auto. The price comes at the bowser however, those higher revolutions not conducive to the most efficient use of diesel in the tank.

The Volkswagen’s damping errs on the side of cushioning, soft and compliant without being overly soft. It’s comfortable and cosseting, even over scrappier roads while road noise remains minimal, thanks to decent insulation despite the presence of slim 19-inch rubber.

It adds up to a refined experience behind the wheel, with signature the hallmark of diesels of old – gruff engine clatter – not in evidence. Instead, the Tiguan remains quiet, refined and eager to please when asked.

Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system favours sending drive to the front wheels. However, depending on driving styles and conditions, can apportion drive to the rears for added surety as required. You don’t feel it, of course, but if you were to hustle some corners – as we did, briefly – the Tiguan’s response is eager and predictable.

The chassis feels nice and taut, while grip levels remain, and there’s that word again, predictable. There are no surprises lurking under wheel. Instead, the Tiguan simply feels relaxed and effortless. And quiet.

Key details 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power 147kW @ 4100rpm
Torque 400Nm @ 1750-4000rpm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power to weight ratio 85.4kW/t
Weight 1721kg (tare)
Tow rating 2500kg braked, / 750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.9m

Volkswagen’s reputation with diesel took a battering a few years back, necessitating a rethink and re-engineering of the engine technology. It’s come back fighting, with the latest iteration of its 2.0-litre diesel four-pot a refined experience.

While diesel isn’t for everyone, those who do venture into oiler territory will be rewarded with a quiet and reasonably economical mid-size SUV. We can see the Tiguan 147TDI as a viable option for those who drive plenty of kilometres.

But, with the fuel consumption gap between diesel- and petrol-powered cars ever-closing, we can’t help but wonder if a higher-specification Tiguan 162TSI R-Line petrol variant might not be the better option in the range. It costs similar money, is petrol-motivated, won’t need messing around with AdBlue every six months or so (depending on how far you travel) and features some design flourishes that lend it a more premium profile.

Still, there are those buyers whose needs run to diesel power, and the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance will meet those needs. And meet them well.

Ratings Breakdown

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance Wagon

8.2/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

Read more about Rob Margeit