New Model News

Volkswagen introduces refreshed Tiguan, but the U.S. won't get it until Fall 2021

Volkswagen has given the Tiguan a thorough once-over. European model shown.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Over 6 million Volkswagen Tiguans have been produced since the automaker kicked off production of the model 13 years ago. In 2019 alone, the company sold nearly 1 million of the SUVs. As part of a mid-generation refresh, the model is getting new exterior and interior styling, additional driver assist features, and more comfortable surrounds.

The front end of the refreshed 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan will now match the refreshed 2021 Atlas. It has a new grille that combines with standard LED headlights and new bumper to give the car the appearance of a wider front. The new Volkswagen badge sits front and center at the front.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan (European Model) The longer wheelbase version of the Tiguan will continue to be sold in the U.S. European model shown.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

At the rear, there are new bumpers as well as "Tiguan" lettering below the centrally located VW badge, which features a new design. Models equipped with all-wheel drive have redesigned "4Motion" letter as well.

Each model has new wheel designs. Buyers can upgrade to a hands-free open and close power lift gate.

Europe will continue to get the short wheelbase version of the model. The Tiguan for the U.S. will continue to be the long wheelbase version. Only photos of the European model are currently available, but word from Volkswagen is that the modifications are the same for the U.S. and European models.

Volkswagen has not changed the engine in the Tiguan for the new model year.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan (European Model) The rear of the SUV features new "Tiguan" lettering and Volkswagen badging. European model shown.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The cabin of the SUV has gotten a tech-heavy upgrade. Its steering wheel now features illuminated touch islands and sliders. A new climate control touch module is available on midrange models. It can be used to turn on or off the Tiguan's new standard heated front seats, rear window defrost, and open the SUV's air conditioning menu. Illuminated USB-C ports sit until the module.

The Tiguan gets the latest generation of Volkswagen Group's modular infotainment system (MIB3) with a standard configurable digital instrument panel. Each Tiguan also gets Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. An 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen is standard and a 10.25-inch is available.

Tiguan owners can personalize their experience in the vehicle from the driver's seat and mirror settings to driver assist technology preferences.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan (European Model) It looks like Volkswagen Tiguan R models will receive a paid interior. European model shown.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

A 15-color ambient lighting system is available. Each trim level has new decor options.

New driver assist technology, called Travel Assist, is capable of steering, braking, and acceleration of the Tiguan at speeds up to 130 mph. The system is not hands-free. It uses functions like adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist to guide the SUV. It's available in an Advanced Driver-Assistance Package on base models and comes standard on midrange models.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan (European Model) An 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen is standard. European model shown.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen has also upgraded the SUV's adaptive cruise control. It now proactively takes into account speed limit changes, town boundary signs, junctions, and rotaries using a combination of data from the Tiguan's front camera, GPS system, and map data.

The U.S. version of the Volkswagen Tiguan will arrive in Fall 2021 as a 2022 model.

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Interesting backstory

Volkswagen Bus part inspired popular dog toy

The classic VW Bus inspired one of the most popular dog toys of all time.

Volkswagen

Product designs sometimes take inspiration from the places we expect the least. Moments of genius are driven by finding solutions to unique problems, and as it turns out, that's exactly how we ended up with KONG. The beefy, durable dog chew toy is modeled after a Volkswagen Bus part.

Joe Markham's shop Markham needed a dog for security, but he unexpectedly got a chew-crazy pet.Volkswagen

KONG's inventor, Joe Markham, adopted a German Shepherd to help with security at his auto repair shop in downtown Denver, CO. The dog, while a great addition to the shop, came with a few bad habits. The dog's most worrisome hobby was chewing, which he would do with almost anything he could find, especially rocks. As you might imagine, chewing on rocks is not good for the dog's teeth. Markham needed a durable chew toy, but nothing seemed to work, from animal bones to radiator hoses.

The solution came from an unlikely place: While working on a 1960sVW Type 2 Bus, Markham discovered that the rubber axle stop made a perfect chew toy. The dog had gotten ahold of the rubber stop, and while he was chewing viciously, neither the stop nor his teeth were damaged.

The discovery led Markham to spend the next six years experimenting with various rubbers, sizes, and shapes for his dog toy. After working with rubber experts in Germany, the design was finalized and the KONG was born. The shape for the toy ended up being very close to that of the axle stop. The funky, bulbous design meant that the toy wouldn't bounce like a ball, and would instead flop around randomly, which is similar to the way that small animals run away from predators.

VW Bus axle stop The axle stop from a VW Bus inspired KONG's shape.Volkswagen

It's worth noting that you should not intentionally let your dog chew on any part of your vehicle. Even unused automotive parts can contain chemicals and other harmful materials that could make your dog sick or worse. This isn't a pitch to buy a KONG, just a warning about the hazards of car parts being used as dog toys.

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Buying guide

How to buy a modified car: Three tips

This is a clean modified truck, but they don't all end up this way.

Bring a Trailer

Modified cars are a mixed bag. Sometimes, they're incredibly well built and better than the original, but too many times they're only partially finished or end up being rushed as their owners get late-project anxiety. Whatever the case, buying a modified car can be a stressful process if you haven't done your homework ahead of time. The good news is that you can get a good deal on a reasonably well sorted project or modified car, but you'll need to be careful. Looking at used Lexus LXs earlier today, it became clear that there are as many modified vehicles for sale as there are clean examples.

This LX got me thinking about the breakdown between buying a rig and building one. The modifications made by this Lexus' seller are almost exactly what I would do if I were building a light overlanding rig. What could go wrong? I'm still on the fence about the Lexus, but the three topics below will help you make the right decision on buying a modified car.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Even if the mods are well done, you'll want to have the vehicle inspected before you buy.Bring a Trailer

Understand your personal taste

I mentioned the LX470 and how the owner's updates were pretty close to what I'd do with the truck. That's an exception to the rule, because 90 percent of the time I walking away from a sales listing because of modifications, rather than the other way around. If you're hoping to find a tastefully modified car that matches your exact tastes, you could be waiting a while. If you're hoping to sell a modified car, the same is true in reverse. Finding a buyer for your extremely personalized project car may not be the easiest thing you've ever done.

2004 Lexus LX 470 It's a good idea to seek out vehicles in solid shape, regardless of mods.Bring a Trailer

Be aware of condition and quality

This Lexus looks to be well maintained and in good shape. It also doesn't hurt that the LX is one of the most reliable vehicles built by one of the world's most quality-conscious automakers. Even so, it's hard to know what you're getting with this, or any other, modified vehicle. There's a little rust in this image, but the lift kit, wheels, and bumper mods all look good. However, even if the truck looked brand-new, you'd want to get a pre-purchase inspection. An independent mechanic can tell you if there are potential issues that are unrelated to mods, and you'll want to be sure that any modifications are installed properly.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Some mods are more useful than others.Bring a Trailer

Keep an eye on the price

Most people are reasonable when it comes to selling their modified cars, but there are hundreds of "I know what I got" memes on the internet for a reason. Some sellers want to recover every penny of the money they spent customizing their cars. They're convinced that the mods drastically increased the car's value and can't understand why the customized car isn't as attractive to you as it is to them. Tread lightly and be careful not to insult the owner, but it's your job to work toward a reasonable, fair price.

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