The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan R packs 315 horsepower

It’s been almost four years since Volkswagen launched the second-generation Tiguan, and the crossover was just unveiled with a mid-cycle facelift. The Tiguan was mildly revised inside and out, but there’s big news in the form of a plug-in hybrid model, a performance-oriented R version, and a new AWD system with selective wheel torque control. Let’s find out more about all of that below.

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan boasts a fresh front end

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Facelifts are rarely about significant design upgrades, and the 2021 Tiguan is no exception from this rule.

The crossover carries over almost unchanged in the rear and onto the sides, but the front fascia looks different. The first thing that catches the eye is the organic design of the headlamps. Volkswagen abandoned the old rectangular lights for more rounded elements inspired by the latest Volkswagen Golf. The upper edge extends beyond the lends to run into the fender, while the lower line was rounded off to mirror the organic LED shape borrowed from the Golf Mk.8.

Fresh Looks, New Tech, and Electrification Spearhead the Many Changes of the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Exterior
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The grille between the light is notably taller now, so Tiguan looks a bit more like the bigger Atlas. The bumper looks about the same, but now there’s a clear separation between the main grille that runs into the side vents and the thinner opening just above the splitter-like element. There isn’t much to talk about in the rear, aside from trim-specific changes, most notably the sportier diffuser with the quad exhaust layout of the Tiguan R.

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan features extra tech inside the cabin

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The cabin remains largely unchanged when it comes to design and layout, but the facelift comes with important new technology.

For starters, the crossover is equipped with a new steering wheel with touch controls. Volkswagen also added digital climate controls with touch sliders and touch buttons, getting rid of the old unit. The infotainment system is also new. The MIB3 modular unit includes natural voice control, multi-phone pairing, wireless App-Connect, and the Digital Cockpit that allows you to customize the instrument cluster. The latter is an eight-inch screen as standard, but you can opt for the optional 10.25-inch display. New options include a 15-color ambient lighting system and new trim for every model.

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan carries over with the same 2.0 TSI engine

Fresh Looks, New Tech, and Electrification Spearhead the Many Changes of the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Exterior
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The Tiguan’s standard engine for the U.S. market remains relatively unchanged.

Volkswagen says it has made some software adjustments to the engine and the transmission, but the 2.0-liter four-cylinder continues to generate the same 184 turbocharged horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque.

It mates to the same eight-speed automatic transmission, so performance and fuel economy figures shouldn’t change. However, the European market will get two additional models.

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan goes hybrid

Fresh Looks, New Tech, and Electrification Spearhead the Many Changes of the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Exterior
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Joining the regular 2.0 model is a plug-in hybrid model, a first for the nameplate. There aren’t many details out there right now, but we do know that the gasoline-electric drivetrain cranks out a combined 241 horsepower. Volkswagen says that this model will be able to hit speeds of up to 80 mph on electric power alone. Interestingly enough, the plug-in hybrid isn’t scheduled to cross the pond to the United States.

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan has finally taken the R route

Fresh Looks, New Tech, and Electrification Spearhead the Many Changes of the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Exterior
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Rumored for quite a few years, an R-badged performance version of the Tiguan is finally scheduled to arrive in showrooms. Much like the hybrid, we don’t know much about it yet, but Volkswagen did say that the Tiguan R will hit the streets with 315 horsepower. That’s a solid 131 horses more than the regular version. We also know that the R model is fitted with a new 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with selective wheel torque control that supposed to lend the SUV "a new level of driving dynamics." Unlike the hybrid version, the Tiguan R will become available in the United States.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan pricing and on-sale date

Fresh Looks, New Tech, and Electrification Spearhead the Many Changes of the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Exterior
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Volkswagen has yet to announce pricing for the revised Tiguan, but it shouldn’t cost notably more than the outgoing variant, which retails from $24,945. The revised crossover will arrive in the U.S. in the fall of 2021 as a 2022 model.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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