The Tiguan is one of the more conservative designs VW has produced in recent years--but that includes a knockout cabin that's attractive and gets all the details right. As if the Tiguan were designed from the inside out (maybe it was), this is a vehicle with an upright design inside and a straightforward presentation, yet with richer finishes than we've seen in some of VW's other small cars.
From the outside, there's really nothing adventurous and nothing exciting about it, and it ends up looking like a grown-upward version of the Golf--with only the larger wheels on some models helping throw it more decisively into the crossover category. Last year the Tiguan got a new grille and some subtle exterior changes that put it back in line with some of VW's recently redesigned vehicles. While the overall look is subdued—it's not really sporty, rugged, or adventurous—the front end is more crisply detailed now and the 19-inch wheels offered on top SEL models do give the whole design a little more punch.
Inside, the Tiguan has a lot more charm, and it's not because the styling itself is that much more flamboyant but because the cabin is so well detailed. It's very straightforward but richly textured, with nice materials and big round gauges, framed simply, and the interior feels like it's from a premium brand—a step up from the somewhat cheapened interiors of the Jetta and Passat sedans.