More carlike in many ways than SUV-ish, the Volkswagen Tiguan gets a mild restyling for the 2012 model year. Look at the front end to see where it's most obvious: the new grille has been redesigned to stand out more, as VW has done across its lineup, from Jetta to Passat to Touareg to Golf. The front end's brighter and less subdued than the rest of the shape, which has the typically tasteful but almost blandly contemporary VW look. It's hardly sporty, not very adventurous, but certain to look tasteful for a very long time. If nothing else, it looks like a grown-up version of the Golf, save for the massive new 19-inch wheels on top SEL models.
The Tiguan's cockpit is one of the nicer ones in the crossover realm, and better finished than Volkswagen's own Jetta and Passat. It's again, very straightforward, but richly textured, every bit up to its premium pricetag and positioning. The VW's big gauges are framed simply, drawing emphasis on them; the newly integrated navigation systems don't quite fit seamlessly with the look of the rest of the cockpit, since they're late-in-the-program additions, but they work well enough in the context of the dash. While other Volkswagens are getting less expensive interiors, the Tiguan's a great example of an era of interior design and quality that the automaker will have a hard time equaling.