2019 Volkswagen Tiguan Problems and Top Complaints – Is your car a lemon?

Engine, electrical system and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When it comes to driving a compact SUV, there are some things that drivers demand. While style and space are right up at the top of the list, durability is also vital. VW claims that the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan provides “bumper-to-bumper smiling” for owners. When we looked at what drivers have to say, smiling wasn’t one thing they expressed. Instead, they are quite disappointed at the faulty engine, electrical system and powertrain issues.

Click on other model years to view more problems: 2020   2021   2022   2023

Problems with the electrical system

A high-quality electrical system is required to run the accessories in a VW SUV, but it also operates the essential parts as well. After all, the engine won’t start if there’s a problem with its electrical components.

In this first review from the NHTSA website, we see an electrical problem that can lead to a safety concern. “Front Collision Sensor and warning light goes on for no reason while driving at a low speed, disabling the sensor. This has happened about 5 to 6 times on various dates while driving in the city and I have to stop, turn the car off and on in order to reset the computer by itself. Sometimes it will turn off by itself too.”

What we see here is a significant amount of danger. It’s not much different from the threat posed by a recall labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 18V824000. It appears that more than 70,000 vehicles don’t issue a warning when the key is left in the ignition. This leads to a heightened chance of having the car stolen. To fix the problem, technicians must reprogram the instrument cluster. With all the concerns caused by the SUV, some owners might wish it would get stolen.

2019 Volkswagen Tiguan Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Power Train
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Vehicle Speed Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Air Bags
Exterior Lighting

Problems with the engine

While there have been a lot of reports about this engine being underpowered, there have been larger concerns posed.

One Edmunds review states, “Bought the first car and two days later the engine light came on. Took it in and I was able to get a new one. 4 days later engine light turned on again. Haven’t made my first payment and been to the dealership 3 times already. The first car had under 100 miles and the second car had 5 miles.”

The automaker seems to have a lot of complaints regarding the engine. They do address some specific incidents with Service Bulletin #TT 27 19 01 that talks about a malfunctioning start/stop system. In the bulletin, VW suggests that the problems are related to a poor battery charge. They tell technicians to modify the start/stop module to resolve the issue. In the meantime, drivers just have to make sure that the SUV doesn’t stop in the middle of an intersection.

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Problems with the transmission

For a smooth driving experience, you want a quality powertrain. That’s not what the VW Tiguan seems to come with.

One NHTSA user wrote, “Upon driving my new 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan this past winter. It was a very cold winter day, when starting my car it wouldn’t go in reverse, then started to go in reverse. I put it into Drive. It would putt (go and stop) like it was running out of gas. There was plenty of gas in it. It continued to display the EPC yellow warning light. The light signal is engine control malfunction. I have notified my dealership I purchased it from. They state it will do that when it is very cold out. Now spring time, it has done it twice.”

The company has nothing to say about this or any other powertrain issues for that matter. It seems that they expect drivers to avoid reversing. Owners should only have to move forward when the weather is bad.

Problems with the brakes

Brakes are designed to stop a vehicle and help drivers avoid a collision. When something becomes defective with this system, everyone is at risk.

Just look at this review on NHTSA, “The vehicles brake line that went into the ABS system was not tight enough and brake fluid leaked out resulting in the failure of the braking system. The loss of the braking system could be felt while driving, and eventually resulted in the vehicle not stopping. Fortunately, no one was injured. The vehicle was new and had 185 miles on it when the brakes failed.”

Again, there is nothing from VW discussing brake repairs or fixes. Just like before, it’s likely that there are some owners that might wish the Tiguan would just keep driving away so they can get a new vehicle.

Problems with the vehicle speed control systems

One of the advanced features on the VW Tiguan is vehicle speed control. When this doesn’t function properly, it puts everyone at risk.

A review on the NHTSA website states, “I leased my 2019 Tiguan in March 2019. Shortly after (1,500 miles), I experienced my 1st acceleration failure. While attempting to turn left with oncoming traffic (with my 4-year old in the back seat), my car would not accelerate although my foot was pressing the gas pedal to the floor. After multiple seconds and multiple attempts to accelerate forward, I put the vehicle in park, turned it off, turned it back on, put in Drive and was able to complete the turn. Thankfully, the vehicles coming toward me were paying attention and halted, or it would’ve resulted in a collision.”

There is information provided for the techs in Service Bulletin #45-18-03TT on how to diagnose the trouble. They don’t issue a direct fix or cause for the unwarranted autonomous braking event that many people are experiencing. It’s clear to see that this SUV is a rolling disaster, when it actually moves. Otherwise, it’s just waiting to be stolen; although there can’t be that many thieves that want to drive this vehicle.

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Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes VW pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Greg

    2019 VW Tiguan bought new
    Just a few months ago had antifreeze leak .. had to replace water pump 31,400 mi.

    Got the transmission in emergency mode you can continue to drive . Traveling in tx dealer would not even check error code said 10 before any technician can look at. Local auto repair found bracket broken on air duct to turbo. 34,600mi.

    Today 37,000 mi.
    Antifreeze leak again, but this time gasket to oil cooler disintegrated and has to replace

    I don’t not recommend to buy a 2019 VW Tiguan

  • Michael R

    Wife has 2019 Tiguan SEL. Been a great car, bought new now has 45k. Over 3 years no issues except 3 times pulling out of parking lot the proximity sensor detects something that’s not there and the car brakes. Only one time of the 3 did the engine cut off. But let’s be real here, Toyota and Honda always seem to get a pass when VW gets typical VW hate. My mother-in-law purchased a 2019 Rav hybrid. Had many issues, back and forth to dealership. A close friend bought a 2021 Honda CRV. First week the entire electrical system goes haywire. Left her stranded in the middle of a busy intersection. Had continuous problems until finally resolved. Bottom line to me is that all of these companies are getting ahead of themselves with these safety regulations. Too much stuff too soon. Not enough R&D. Not enough testing. Just rush it to market. Just tired of VW being singled out with so much junk on the market. Don’t get me started with Subaru and their issues.

  • Andrea E

    Engine failure 2 x in middle of 6 lane hwy had to be towed 2 x. Car is 2 and 1/2 years old.
    Car suddenly automatically braked on I-95 and shut down while no cars were in front of me

  • Mike

    2019 Tiguan R line, I just got to 30,000 mile and notice the coolant light on. Took it to the dealership and added coolant to my car. Later on I started smelling coolant when I got my car. Took it to the dealership again. They pressure tested it and found a cracked seal which coolant was in my oil.

  • Leanne

    My 2021 Tiguan has reset the clock and odometer several times in the past few months!!

  • Deutsche A

    I own a 2019 VW Tiguan SE 4 motion, with full option package. I never had problems with it in the 3 years of driving it. Surprised to see many negative reviews about this car. I have owned and driven many VW cars , Jetta, Golf , Passat, Tiguan. Never had any problems. Only wished that the engine of the Tiguan would have been a bit faster. But otherwise very good.

  • King

    2019 Volkswagen Tiguan, my daughter was driving and a car ran a stop sign and my daughter tried to break, but even the anti brakes didn’t come on, and the truck hit her and her companion and they were took to trauma emergency..so I’m confused about anti brakes.. they come on when I’m driving on a road with no car around..so what’s the purpose if it doesn’t work right?..

  • Sheryl

    Less than 30 days after I bought my BRAND NEW 2019 VW Tiguan, the left rear suspension system broke. I am extremely careful, never to hit curbs or drive wrecklessly so there is no reason the suspension system on a brand new vehicle should break. Also, it automatically breaks hard when no one is even in front of you whether you’re driving 30mph on the road or 60 mph on the freeway. That feature is only supposed to auto-stop the car if/when you are within a certain distance from another vehicle and you are not already slowing down or stopping. This could cause a serious wreck, bodily injury or worse. These issues should be taken more seriously.

  • Larry S

    I have a 2019 Tiguan SEL 4Motion. From day one, the car had a hesitation problem. I was told by a salesman that was probably the car needs to warm up. OK… this problem continued to occur at the most inopportune moments, from start to go in a traffic situation, or going into second gear while accelerating.
    the peddle would go dead for that split second you needed to get out of the way of traffic. It is a safety issue, to the point, i won’t let my wife drive it. When you step on the peddle, you want something there.
    VW is working on it, but have not come up with “the fix” yet. Car has been back a few times, and they have provided me with a loner each time. Thank you for that. Love the car, hate what’s wrong with it. Stay tuned.

  • Bill

    My 2019 VW Tiguan SEL 4 Motion that I have had for a year and a half i have never had an issue with a single thing the safety systems work just fine, no engine problems, no transmission problems, no electrical problems, no start stop problems, absolutely nothing wrong with my 2019 VW Tiguan SEL 4 Motion.

  • Keshav

    I was driving Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 (2016) on Sept 10, 2020 at km/hr in a straight road in Winnipeg, I had nearly 50 m gap with my front car. As a pedestrian came crossing the road abruptly on the road, my front car stopped and I applied brakes up to the bottom, but there was no response on the car, it rolled at its initial speed (though my leg was on the brakes, not on accelerator), and hit the front car. Luckily, there was not any human injury, but my car broke badly!

  • Sharon V

    I have a new 2019 VW VW Tiguan SE 4 motion. The first week I had it ,I had the issue of the EPC. I called my dealership ( which is 2 hrs away ) they said it was the gas. I told them you put the gas in! The said if it happens again call us. I called 2 more times. told me to take it to my local dealer. OH Boy! They told me they couldn’t find anything on the computer . After the first year of having it I have had it towed in 2 times. Some how water got in my tank and ruined almost everything up to my engine. My insurance covered it . My start / stop is not working. My apple car play is not working. When I put my car in park…it shuts off. But everything stays on. The radio, the digital speed , the display . Everything. Just not the car. The mechanic asked me if I pushed the button to turn it off. UMMM no ! My front assist goes nuts! First it will pick up a bug then it will go off when I am 100 yards close to a vechicle and apply the brakes. But never stops. But they say when it is in for service. Well we cannot find it. It is the weather conditons you are driving in. I have been to the volkswagon dealership about 5 times or more. I have a case with the corporate office . They tell me they have to go with the dealer says. I asked te dealer to drive it for a week. See how he likes it

  • Wayne P

    I have a 2019 jeep latitude the Instrument Cluster lights up and stops you have to turn the car off and on to get it come back on the radio works sometimes it doesnt and low speeds going through the parking lot like at Walmart it was shake and night shift right

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