As far as recent VW design goes, the Tiguan lands on the more conservative side of the spectrum. But, that includes excellent attention to details that come together for one knock-out interior–it's almost as if the Tiguan was designed from the inside out. It's a straightforward vehicle with upright design and a clear presentation, but it also comes with nicer appointments than we've seen in many of VW's small cars.
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.
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.