Launched in 2008 the Tiguan is a stylish compact SUV from German automakers VW.
It offers more athletic handling than many of its rivals and stands out in its segment by offering an optional third-row seat.
If you’re thinking of buying one as your next vehicle, you might be wondering about its reliability and average lifespan.
We’ll cover that in this article, read on to find out…
Here is the short answer to how long the Volkswagen Tiguan lasts:
The Volkswagen Tiguan is a robust, compact SUV that can last between 150,000 – 200,000 miles when properly maintained and driven conservatively. Based on driving 15,000 miles per year, you can expect the Tiguan to last 13 – 17 years before requiring uneconomical repairs or breaking down.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Volkswagen Tiguan?
On the used car market you won’t find many Tiguans with over 200,000 miles on the clock and whilst reports of Tiguans exceeding this milestone aren’t unheard of they aren’t very common.
The Tiguan has received mixed reviews for reliability from the major auto review sites however these have picked up in recent years.
Based on industry data, we expect it to have an average lifespan of around 150,000 to 200,000 miles. At these types of mileages the cost of replacing worn-out parts can be expensive and the chance of big-ticket items failing, such as the engine or transmission, is much higher.
At this stage in the car’s life the costs of repairs may outweigh the vehicle’s value, and money could be better spent on an upgrade.
Early model years of the Tiguan (2009 to 2013) had a design flaw with the timing chain tensioner that led to premature engine failure as well as a large number of other engine and engine cooling problems.
However, The second generation of the Tiguan has so far had better overall reliability.
These models use the same four-cylinder turbocharged engine as the Golf and Jetta so repairs and finding spare parts should be relatively straightforward.
The second gen Tiguans are also equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission that’s produced by Aisin, a subsidiary of Toyota.
The same transmission is used in the Toyota RAV4 as well as various Lexus models which are well known for their reliability.
We expect the newer Tiguans to have a much better chance of hitting high numbers although this will ultimately come down to the owner.
The life expectancy of your VW Tiguan will be cut short if you avoid:
- Using quality parts
- Service appointments
- Routine oil changes
- Towing and hauling within its 2,200 lb capacity
- Tire rotations
- Driving smoothly
The VW Tiguan comes with a 4 yr/50,000 mi basic and 4 yr/50,000 mi powertrain warranty
Do Volkswagen Tiguans Rust Easily?
The Volkswagen Tiguan does not have a reputation for excessive or premature rust issues. Volkswagen applies corrosion protection measures during manufacturing which ensures a high-quality product.
However, as long as car bodies continue to be made from sheet steel, and road surfaces have small stones and grit, it is not possible to prevent rust entirely. These stones damage the paint while driving, thereby creating points of attack for water and road salt.
VW’s corrosion protection consists of 5 pillars:
- Seal seams
- Savity sealing
- Paintwork structure
- Anti-chip coating and underseal.
If you live in a state where roads are heavily salted during the winter or near the coast where salt air is prevalent, you’ll likely see some rust spots start to appear in 5 to 10 years.
For those living in drier states, rust will be much less of a concern however paint fading will be more common.
Tips to protect your VW Tiguan from rust:
- Regularly wash and dry your car: This includes its underside (especially during the winter) to remove the salt, dirt and grime that causes rust. We recommend having a detail shop wash everything underneath at the end of each winter.
- Repair paint damage and scratches: Exposed metal will oxidize. If it’s beyond a DIY fix, speak to your local body repair shop.
- Garage: Store your Tiguan in a garage to protect it from harsh weather and bird droppings.
- Waxing: Wax your car twice a year. Not only will this give your Tiguan a nice shine, it also gives it a protective coating against rust.
- Rustproofing: If you’re planning on keeping your VW Tiguan for a very long time, you might want to consider a rustproofing treatment; popular choices are Krown and Rust Check.
- Ceramic Coating: A popular choice for those who want to add an extra layer of protection to the paint job.
New VW’s come with a noteworthy 7-year/100,000-mile corrosion warranty. Older VW’s came with a 12-year corrosion warranty.
What is High Mileage for a Volkswagen Tiguan?
A VW Tiguan with 100,000 miles on the clock is considered high mileage. This could make for a riskier purchase due to a higher chance of problems arising as most parts will have acquired some degree of wear and tear. However, you should not base any decision purely on mileage alone.
A high mileage Tiguan isn’t necessarily a bad idea, as long as you’re confident in the vehicle’s service history and its overall condition.
A well-maintained Tiguan with 100,000 miles might be a better option than one with 70,000 miles that had many owners and led a tough life or was previously a hire car.
It’s a good idea to have some money aside in case you need to fork out for repairs.
For example, the turbocharger will typically last 100k-150k miles and will cost $2000 to replace including parts and labor.
If you’re buying a used VW Tiguan consider the following:
- Maintenance history. Check that the car was properly serviced and the owner can provide proof of this.
- Get a second opinion. Take it to an independent auto repair shop or at have it inspected by a mechanic you trust.
- Check for rust. Rust is a problem that will spread. Some dishonest salesmen cover up the rust with a bit of paint or some stickers. It’s always a good idea to look under the car.
- Check the CarFax. This doesn’t guarantee anything but it will help provide a clearer picture of wear-and-tear. Ensure it has minimal damage if any. Review the information to make sure if something happened, it wasn’t transmission related or mechanical.
- Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better. More owners usually means more wear-and-tear. If one family owned it and drove the full mileage and serviced the car, then you can almost guarantee they took good care of it throughout their ownership.
- How long you are planning on keeping the car. If you’re planning on keeping the car for a long time, you should evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending a bit extra on something more reliable.
- Examine the interior. The condition of the interior tells the story of how well the car was maintained and cared for. Does the steering wheel, pedals, or shifter look suspiciously new? If so theres a good chance that the car was very heavily used, and those parts were just replaced before sale.
- Inspect engine for obvious leaks and obvious damage. If the engine looks immaculately clean it means it was washed. The question is why? Most likely to hide oil leaks and similar nasty problems.
- Check the car’s VIN and get a full history report. Was it a taxi or rental car? Recalls? How many owners? Real mileage? Stolen? Any accidents? If you’re buying a used VW, always check the VIN – you never know what the car has been through.
How Long Does the Volkswagen Tiguan Last Compared to its Rivals?
In this section we’ll take a look at some of the Tiguan’s closest competitors and see how they stack up in terms of durability and repair costs.
Volkswagen Tiguan vs. Audi Q5
The Q5 is a compact luxury SUV from Volkswagens subsidiary, Audi.
It’s more refined, more luxurious, and has more tech goodies to offer but this comes at an MSRP that’s almost double that of the Tiguan.
The Audi Q5 can last 150,000 – 200,000 miles or 10 – 13 years, just like the Tiguan. It’s going to be more expensive to buy and maintain though.
- RepairPal gave the Audi Q5 and VW Tiguan similar reliability ratings of 3/5, which is considered average.
- The average annual repair cost for the Audi Q5 is $928 which is higher than the Tiguan’s yearly average of $730.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave both the Audi Q5 and VW Tiguan a score of 4.3/5 for reliability.
- J.D. Power gave the Q5 a score of 65/100 for Quality and Reliability while the Tiguan got a significantly higher 83/100.
Whilst the Tiguan has one engine option the Q5 offers two, one of which has far more oomph with 362 hp.
It also has premium features that you won’t find on the Tiguan such as standard leather seats and an LED interior lighting package.
These two cars are evenly matched in terms of reliability however the Tiguan falls short of the Q5 in terms of comfort, power, and technologies.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Audi Q5s Last?
Volkswagen Tiguan vs. Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a versatile compact SUV that offers a comfortable, spacious cabin and a premium appearance.
The Santa Fe is one of Hyundai’s most popular vehicles in the U.S. and can last 200,000 – 250,000 miles or 13 – 17 years, which is slightly higher than the Tiguan’s expected lifespan.
- RepairPal gave the Hyundai Santa Fe a reliability rating of 4/5 which is higher than VW Tiguan’s score of 3/5.
- The average annual repair cost for the Santa Fe is much lower at $515 compared to the Tiguan’s yearly average of $730.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the Santa Fe a higher score of 4.7/5 for reliability vs. the VW Tiguan’s 4.3/5.
- J.D. Power gave the Santa Fe a score of 86/100 for Quality and Reliability which is similar to the Tiguan’s score of 83/100.
The Santa Fe is the clear winner between these two for overall reliability and also comes with an industry-leading warranty of 10 years/100,000 miles.
The Tiguan has the upper hand when it comes to handling and has the added versatility of the optional third-row seat.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Hyundai Santa Fe Last?
Volkswagen Tiguan vs. Toyota RAV4
The RAV4 is a sporty, stylish and highly versatile compact SUV and is Toyota’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S.
The RAV4 can last 250,000 – 300,000 miles or 17 – 20 years and is expected to last much longer than the Tiguan.
- RepairPal gave the RAV4 a reliability rating of 4/5 which is higher than VW Tiguan’s score of 3/5.
- The average annual repair cost for the RAV4 is much lower at only $429 compared to the Tiguan’s yearly average of $730.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the RAV4 a relatively low score of 3.7/5 for reliability vs. the VW Tiguan’s 4.3/5.
- J.D. Power gave the RAV4 a similarly low score of 74/100 for Quality and Reliability which is similar to the Tiguan’s score of 83/100.
The RAV4 has a solid track record for reliability, and Toyotas are generally known to last a very long time.
The Rav4 has slightly less interior space than the Tiguan and lacks the extra row.
Both SUVs are good on tech however the RAV4 is the better option if you want extra power and efficiency.
|Volkswagen Tiguan||Audi Q5||Hyundai Santa Fe||Toyota RAV4|
|Annual Repair Cost||$730||$928||$515||$429|
|KBB Consumer Rating||4.3/5||4.3/5||4.7/5||3.7/5|
|J.D. Power Rating||83/100||65/100||86/100||74/100|
|Lifespan (miles)||150k – 200k||150k – 200k||200k – 250k||250k – 300k|
Is the Volkswagen Tiguan Reliable?
The Volkswagen Tiguan has been available in the U.S. for well over a decade and has received mixed reliability scores overall. Newer models have received better reliability scores than older ones. Based on industry data the Tiguan has average reliability overall.
- RepairPal gave the Tiguan an average reliability rating of 3/5.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the Tiguan a good reliability rating of 4.3/5.
- J.D. Power gave the Tiguan a respectable Quality and Reliability rating of 83/100
Consumer Report gave the Tiguan the following reliability reviews:
|Model Year||Reliability Verdict|
Repair Pal ranks Volkswagen middle of the pack for reliability, with a score of 3.5 / 5.0 which ranks it 12th out of 32 car brands.
As with longevity, the reliability of your VW will also depend on keeping up to date with the service schedule and adopting good driving habits.
There is a misconception surrounding VWs, that they are complex and require specialist mechanics, and whilst there was some truth to this many years ago, moderns day VWs have become easier and more economical to maintain.
Reliability Compared to Other SUVs
|Subaru Crosstrek||4.5 / 5.0|
|Honda CR-V||4.5 / 5.0|
|Toyota RAV4||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Rogue Select||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Tucson||4.0 / 5.0|
|Kia Sportage||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Outlander Sport||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Outlander||4.0 / 5.0|
|Jeep Cherokee||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mazda Tribute||4.0 / 5.0|
|Jeep Compass||4.0 / 5.0|
|Kia Sorento||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Rogue||4.0 / 5.0|
|Honda Element||4.0 / 5.0|
|Jeep Patriot||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford Escape||4.0 / 5.0|
|Subaru XV Crosstrek||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Xterra||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Captiva||3.5 / 5.0|
|Nissan Murano||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru Forester||3.5 / 5.0|
|GMC Terrain||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Equinox||3.5 / 5.0|
|Fiat 500L||3.5 / 5.0|
|Jeep Wrangler||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Tiguan||3.0 / 5.0|
|Avg. Compact SUV||4.0|
The Best and Worst Years for the Volkswagen Tiguan
We’ve done some digging to find the best and worst model years for the Tiguan.
Worst Model Year
The worst model years for the Tiguan are the earliest years from 2009 to 2013. These models were plagued with engine problems, engine cooling problems and timing tensioner problems. These could be resolved by the dealer if the vehicle was still under warranty however the issue was known to occur at around 90,000 miles and cost approximately $4000 to fix.
The number of engine problems reported drops off significantly in 2012 which is when the Tiguan saw a facelift and updated timing chain tensioners were introduced in early 2013.
According to CarComplaints and Car Problem Zoo, the 2009 Tiguan has the most number of issues reported – 132 and 232 respectively.
Best Model Year
The 2020 and 2021 VW Tiguans are the best model years so far. They feature an updated exterior and no major problems have been reported with these model years, most complaints are tech and infotainment related.
Compared to the earlier years of the second gen Tiguan, the 2020/2021 models feature more standard safety tech such as:
- Forward-collision alert
- Automatic braking
- Blind-spot monitoring.
The new R-Line Black trim level was also introduced in 2020 featuring 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, fog lights and parking sensors.
For the first gen Tiguan, the best model years are going to those from 2014 onwards.
These feature the updated timing chain tensioner, as well as facelifted bodywork.
You may also be interested in our article: VW Tiguan in Snow & Winter Driving
Model Year and Number of Complaints
Here is the total number of complaints and problems for every Tiguan model year from the CarComplaints and Car Problem Zoo databases:
|Model Year||Car Complaints|
No. of Complaints
|Car Problem Zoo|
No. of Problems
What About Recalls for These Models?
The Volkswagen Tiguan has had a total of 46 recall campaigns since it was first released in 2009.
You can check if your Volkswagen Tiguan has been subjected to a recall campaign by entering your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on VW’s recall site or the NHTSA recall database.
It is important to note that recalls are manufacturing faults repaired at no charge to the consumer.
Here is the total number of recall campaigns for every model year of the Volkswagen Tiguan:
- 2021: 2
- 2020: 2
- 2019: 3
- 2018: 11
- 2017: 4
- 2016: 2
- 2015: 4
- 2014: 4
- 2013: 3
- 2012: 3
- 2011: 3
- 2010: 2
- 2009: 3
Volkswagen Tiguan Model Year List
- 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan (facelift)
- 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan
- 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan (facelift)
- 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
Are Volkswagen Tiguans Expensive to Maintain?
The VW Tiguan is slightly more expensive to maintain than other vehicles in its class.
It uses the same engine as other affordable VW models like the Golf so parts are going to be widely available and relatively affordable.
Volkswagens in general are reliable vehicles as long as they’re regularly maintained and you don’t let small problems turn into big ones.
You can find a full breakdown of ownership costs here.
According to RepairPal:
The VW Tiguan will cost an average of $730 per year in repair and maintenance.
This is slightly higher than the average of $521 for other compact SUVs, and only slightly higher than the average for all vehicles in different segments which is estimated at $652.
According to CarEdge:
A VW Tiguan will run you roughly $7,644 in upkeep during its first 10 years. This is cheaper than the average maintenance and repair costs for all SUV models by $1,236.
|Model||Avg. Annual Repair Cost||Frequency of|
Unscheduled Repairs (per year)
|Probability of |
|Nissan Rogue Select||$436||0.3||10%|
|Mitsubishi Outlander Sport||$498||0.3||10%|
|Subaru XV Crosstrek||$631||0.4||11%|
|Avg. Compact SUV||$521||0.3||11%|
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
Volkswagen Tiguan brake pads will typically last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles. This can vary widely and depends mostly on your style of driving and the traffic conditions you normally drive in.
- You can expect your brakes to wear out sooner if you frequently stop and accelerate in rush-hour traffic
- Brake pad replacement, which includes parts and labor, can cost anywhere between $150 – $300 per axle.
- Full and complete stops from a high speed are the #1 cause of premature brake pad wear.
- A sporty driving style will lead to faster deterioration of brakes, a slow and steady style will help them last longer.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The VW Tiguan’s stock tires usually last around 40,000 to 50,000 miles or 3 to 5 years. However, they can wear out much sooner. This is dependent on various factors such as driving habits, climate, and road conditions.
- Rotate tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
- If you have to drive on rough or flooded roads, or go off-roading, your tires will take more of a beating.
- Check your tire pressure every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct tire pressure.
- Have a mechanic or tire shop check your wheel alignment every 6 months.
How Long Do Volkswagen Tiguan Engines Last?
The Volkswagen Tiguan uses a pokey 184-hp four-cylinder turbocharged engine that is expected to last 200,000 miles on average providing it’s properly maintained.
Tiguans made before 2013 had well-documented issues with the engine, engine cooling and timing tensioner.
How Long Do Volkswagen Tiguan Batteries Last?
The VW Tiguans’s battery should last between 3 – 5 years. A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many different factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.
- Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your car can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
- Limit short rides: Quick car rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
- Storage: Keep your Volkswagen stored indoors to protect it from extreme changes in temperature.
- Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
For the second generation Tiguan, Volkswagen recommends changing the spark plugs every 6 years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first. The first generation Tiguan required spark plug changes every 40,000 – 60,000 miles.
Spark plugs are usually inspected every time you take your car in for routine maintenance.
Signs of a fouled spark plug include:
- Reduced gas mileage
- Lack of acceleration
- Rough idling
- Hard starts
- Engine misfires
What About Insurance Costs?
The average cost of full comprehensive coverage for a Volkswagen Tiguan is $1,308 per year or around $109 per month.
In comparison, its rivals in the compact SUV segment cost an average of $1,366 per year, which is $58 more expensive.
Insurance costs can vary from person to person; be sure to shop around to find the best possible deal for your VW Tiguan.
Related: How Long Do VW Taos Last?
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Volkswagen Tiguan
- Adopt smooth driving habits.
- Keep up to date with factory-recommended maintenance.
- Use quality parts and fluids.
- Keep on top of repairs to prevent them from developing into larger problems.
- Regularly wash your VW Tiguan to remove dirt and grime to protect the paint and undercarriage from rust developing.
- Check your Tiguan’s engine oil, coolant, brake, and transmission fluid levels and top them up when required.
- Keep your Tiguan stored in a garage to help protect it from the elements.
- Read the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your Tiguan needs and what quantity, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.