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A white 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE is shown driving on an open road.

The 2022 Volkswagen SE Hits the Midsize SUV Sweet Spot

There are times you want to stand out from the pack when you want every head to turn at your passing and every ear to perk up at the smooth roar of your motor. All without sacrificing safety, stability, and knowing you’re backed by the #1 seller in the line. We all want the best of both worlds when it comes to perks and price, but sometimes have to choose between wants and needs. Fortunately, that isn’t necessary with the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE. The Golf and the Jetta may be the most recognizable Volkswagen names since the Beetle, but it’s the Tiguan that leads sales of the brand, not just in the U.S., but worldwide. This popularity is due to its style, safety, and fun, and the SE trim is the perfect package to showcase all three.

An Exciting Exterior

You can be forgiven for not immediately recognizing the 2022 Tiguan SE because a restyled version just hit the market this year. Borrowing from its bigger brethren, the Atlas and Atlas Cross, the 2022 Tiguan has a commanding stance. The bumper is lower and widens at the edges around the new, larger air dams, giving a sense of power and strength not entirely unlike a bulldog. Above that assertive bumper is a wide grille featuring the newly redesigned, more minimalist Volkswagen logo.

Lighting the way are LED headlamps with a sleek exterior repetition that’s far more eye-catching than the previous pedestrian version. Moving up, sleekness remains the name of the game with sharp lines. The 2022 Tiguan SE retains its distinctive side profile thanks to a character line that draws the eye along its length. Even the LED taillights are sharper and more angular than on the previous incarnation.

When you get the Tiguan SE model, you’ll find silver anodized roof rails for a glint of shine, nicely coordinating with the refreshed, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels. You also have the option to add on a big, beautiful, power-tilting panoramic sunroof with a sliding front section and a fixed rear section. The sunroof even has a one-touch sunshade. In addition, this trim means you can choose from two additional color options, both new for the Tiguan this year: Kings Red Metallic and Onyx White Pearl.

The black interior of a 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

An Impressive Interior

Getting into the 2022 Tiguan is a piece of cake thanks to keyless entry and push to start, not to mention a remote opening and closing power liftgate. All these perks are standard on the SE model. Also, in this trim, you’ll find a leatherette-wrapped steering wheel and perforated V-Tex leatherette seating. The front seats also come heated. The driver’s seat is eight-way power-adjustable and has lumbar support, so even your longest drives will be as comfortable as a trip around the block.

The exciting seating in the 2022 Tiguan SE continues in the back, thanks to options not seen elsewhere in the market. The front-wheel drive version of this compact crossover has three full rows of seats so that you can take up to six friends along for a ride. The second row of seats has over a yard of legroom, several inches more than the rear, but it’s great to be able to carry more people. When you fold down the third row of seating, you’ll find a roomy 33 cu.ft. of storage space, which is not bad for an SUV of this size.

The all-wheel drive version of the 2022 Tiguan SE only comes with two rows of seating, which means space for five passengers total. The second row here has about two more inches of legroom than in the three-row, front-wheel drive option, and you’ll find an extra few cubic feet of storage space. It’s great to find this kind of versatility in a compact crossover, just one more thing to love about the 2022 Tiguan SE.

The 2022 Tiguan SE redesign doesn’t just include those sleek exterior upgrades; it also comes with Volkwagen’s new Digital Cockpit. This means that the instrument cluster is fully digital, along with an 8-inch display touchscreen running the Volkswagen MIB3 infotainment system that you can customize with two different views and a variety of widgets to show your favorite bits of vehicle information.

Among that information is the heating and AC, which are adjustable with fully digital controls or with voice commands. Yes, you can tell your 2022 Tiguan SE that you’re feeling a bit chilly verbally, and it will adjust for you. The MIB3 also lets you wirelessly connect multiple phones with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. In addition, the touchscreen has a capacitive-touch sensor, which means you don’t have to apply pressure as you do on a regular touchscreen, making it easier to use.

The Tiguan’s Innovative Safety and Driver Assistance Features

Now, of course, you do not want to be configuring the MIB infotainment system in the Tiguan digital cockpit while driving. However, it is worth noting that the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE comes standard with the brand’s IQ.DRIVE. IQ.DRIVE is an impressively comprehensive collection of driver assistance features, including forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, active side assist with a blind spot monitor and adaptive cruise control. Even more impressive for this year is Travel Assist, a semi-automated driving assistance feature.

Travel assist can help you to steer, accelerate, and brake, as well as keep you in the center of the lane, as long as you’re going under 95 and have your hands on the wheel. While you can’t kick back and scroll on your phone, it’s certainly quite a feat, especially as a standard feature on a compact crossover starting at just over $30,000. But semi-automated driving isn’t all the 2022 Tiguan SE has going for it in terms of safety; it earned the model’s first Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ (TPS+) Award.

What does that little plus mean? It means that the 2022 Tiguan SE doesn’t just pass all of the IIHS safety tests with at least a “good” rating but has passed additional safety tests, as well. Among those tests is the notoriously difficult “passenger-side small overlap front test.” Never heard of it? Well, it seems many manufacturers have focused their safety features on the driver’s side. By earning the TSP+ award, you can know your front-seat passenger is equally protected. The Tiguan SE also earned superior and advanced ratings for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front-crash prevention, respectively. For your smallest passengers in the back seat(s), the 2022 Tiguan received top marks on the Car Seat Report Card, even for front-facing seats in the third row.

A blue 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE is shown with with an open trunk.

It’s Time to Take a Closer Look at the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

There is a lot to love about the redesigned 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan. It has an exterior made for turning heads, an interior full of comfort and technology, and top safety marks across the board. For all of that value, Volkswagen manages to keep its price relatively low. It falls in the middle of the Tiguan’s trims and is chock full of features, like keyless entry, a power liftgate, MIB3 technology perks, and IQ.DRIVE safety for less than $4,000 more than the MSRP for the base S line. You can even add the sunroof and Kings Metallic Red paint, unavailable on the S line, and still, get an MSRP that’s less than the next highest SEL R-Line. The Tiguan is Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. and worldwide, and the 2022 SE is the best trim in the model’s expansive lineup.