Best & Worst Volkswagen Tiguan Years

I've analyzed each Volkswagen Tiguan model from 2009 until the latest model and categorized the best & worst years in this simple guide.

In this guide, I’ll break down all Volkswagen Tiguan generations, pinpointing every best year for the Volkswagen Tiguan to buy and the worst Tiguan model years to avoid.

Leveraging detailed data and reviews from authoritative sources such as the NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and Kelley Blue Book, our comprehensive approach ensures accurate and valuable information for our readers.

This article will specifically highlight each Volkswagen Tiguan model year’s engine performance, safety features, yearly reliability, common problems, recalls, and resale values.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

Volkswagen Tiguan Generations

The Volkswagen Tiguan, introduced in 2009, quickly became a key player in the compact SUV market. Known for its sleek design, practicality, and robust performance, the first model of the Tiguan set a high benchmark in its segment.

It combined the comfort and sophistication typical of Volkswagen with the versatility and space of an SUV, making it a popular choice among consumers looking for a vehicle suited to city driving and outdoor adventures.

Here is a table outlining the Volkswagen Tiguan generations from 2009 to the present:

1st generations (5N)2009-2017
2nd generations (AD/BW)2018-2024

Significant changes between each generation, particularly in design, technology, and performance, can significantly influence a buyer’s decision.

Volkswagen Tiguan Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

In our analysis and categorization of the best and worst Volkswagen Tiguan model years, we consider a range of factors, including:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

This upcoming graph combines all the ratings from these mentioned sources. Let’s have a look.

Volkswagen Tiguan Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Next, we have a table categorizing all model years of the Volkswagen Tiguan into best, neutral, and worst years based on comprehensive research and data compilation.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation (5N)2014
2nd generation (AD/BW)2020

“Neutral Years” did not exhibit standout excellence or significant issues, making them a balanced choice for potential buyers.

Certain factors, such as NHTSA recalls, contribute negatively to our rankings. A higher number of complaints and recalls typically indicate lower reliability for the vehicle.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst years of the Volkswagen Tiguan.

Best & Worst Years for Volkswagen Tiguan 1st Generation (2009-2017)

Volkswagen Tiguan 1st generation 2009 model
The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan

The first generation of the Volkswagen Tiguan was designed to offer a premium feel, focusing on comfort and efficiency, targeting drivers seeking a versatile and upscale compact vehicle.

The best years for the first-generation VW Tiguan are between 2014 and 2017, while the worst years to avoid span from 2009 to 2013.

The Best Years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

The best years for the first-generation Volkswagen Tiguan, specifically from 2014 to 2017, were marked by significant improvements in reliability and features.

Equipped with a 2.0L TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine, these models delivered around 200 hp, providing a satisfying power and fuel efficiency blend, averaging 21 city/26 highway MPG.

The 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic and Sport mode offered smooth shifts and an engaging driving experience.

These years saw advancements in technology and safety, including an updated infotainment system with touchscreen capabilities, Bluetooth connectivity, and a standard rearview camera.

Trim levels like the SE and SEL offered premium features such as panoramic sunroofs, leather seating, and keyless entry with push-button start.

Despite some minor lingering problems, these years are considered the most dependable within the first-generation VW Tiguan lineup, with fewer complaints and recalls than earlier models.

The Worst Years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Volkswagen Tiguan years to avoid, the 2009 and 2010 models, were particularly problematic, with issues like timing chain tensioner failures that could lead to severe engine damage and rear main seal failures causing oil leaks.

Electrical problems were also common, including degraded headlight insulation and sunroof leaks.

The 2010 and 2011 models saw additional problems like power steering loss and airbag malfunctions due to clock spring failures.

In the 2012 and 2013 VW Tiguan models, water pump failures and coolant leaks became prevalent, leading to overheating and potential engine damage.

These years were also marred by recalls addressing the partial loss of exterior lights due to melted fuse boxes and airbag clock spring failures.

The frequency and severity of these problems significantly affected the reliability and desirability of these early Tiguan models, making them less attractive to potential buyers.

See NHTSA 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Volkswagen Tiguan 2nd Generation (2018-2024)

Volkswagen Tiguan 2nd generation 2018 model
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

The second generation of the Volkswagen Tiguan, introduced in 2018, targeted a broader audience with its increased size, more sophisticated features, and improved driving dynamics.

2018 and 2019 are the worst Volkswagen Tiguan years to avoid, while the best years to buy span from 2020 to 2024.

The Best Years: 2020, 2021, 2023, 2024

What is the best year for Volkswagen Tiguan? The best years for the second-generation Tiguan are 2020, 2021, 2023, and 2024.

These models are powered by a 2.0L turbocharged I4 engine, delivering 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, and an 8-speed automatic transmission.

This combination balances performance and efficiency, with fuel economy averaging around 22 city/29 highway MPG.

The safety features in these years are robust, including standard forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The interior saw significant improvements, with higher trim levels like the SEL and SEL Premium offering luxurious amenities such as leather upholstery, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a digital cockpit, and a panoramic sunroof.

These models stand out for their enhanced driving experience, improved cabin comfort, and reliability.

The Neutral Years: 2022

The 2022 Tiguan model is considered a neutral year within the second generation. It continued with the same 2.0L turbocharged engine and 8-speed automatic transmission as the best years, maintaining a reliable performance.

However, engine hesitation and lack of acceleration were present in the 2022 VW Tiguan. The 2022 model was recalled for rear suspension knuckle break and inoperative rearview imaging.

It offers a comfortable and practical interior, making it suitable for those who prefer a dependable and well-rounded compact SUV without needing the latest advancements.

The Worst Years: 2018, 2019

The worst second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan years to avoid, the 2018 and 2019 models, encountered various issues, notably in engine performance and reliability.

Owners reported problems like engine hesitation, excessive vibration, and a lack of throttle response.

Electrical issues were also common, including engine power control module (EPC) malfunctions and rattling noise from the vehicle’s structure.

These models were subject to recalls concerning airbags, rear coil spring fractures, and lower ball joint separations.

The combination of these issues and the need for frequent recalls significantly impacted the reliability and desirability of these early second-generation models.

See NHTSA 2018, 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan recalls and grievances.

Volkswagen Tiguan Resale Values

Explore this graph displaying the Volkswagen Tiguan’s average resale values across its various model years.

Volkswagen Tiguan Average List Price


Based on our thorough analysis, Volkswagen Tiguan’s best years to consider are 2014-2017, 2020, 2021, 2023, and 2024, while the years to avoid are 2009-2013, 2018, and 2019 due to their reliability concerns.

Which of the Volkswagen Tiguan features do you find most reliable and appealing?

Share your insights in the comments!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.