2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Problems and Top Complaints – Is your car a lemon?

Electrical system, engine, and forward collision avoidance issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Overhead Console Fell Down? Learn about our Class Action Investigation for this issue.

As far as VW SUVs go, the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan seems to be a popular option. The automaker states that it brings “attention to every detail,” but owners with forward collision avoidance, electrical system, and engine problems aren’t convinced. Complaints range from oil consumption issues and faulty emergency braking systems to overhead consoles that randomly detach without warning.  

Click on other model years to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022   2023

Most Common Issues

Electrical system, engine, and forward collision avoidance problems top the list of complaints issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan. However, these are varied and often reflect as being related to two or three components or systems.

For example, faulty sensors, random alerts that a collision is imminent when there are no other cars on the road, and the automatic braking system malfunction are all mentioned in forward collision avoidance complaints. The automatic braking system problem is also regarded by many complainants as being an electrical problem. Faulty overhead consoles that fall out of the headliner are also typically reported as being electrical system problems.

Overall, complaints indicate that dealerships are less than sympathetic or helpful.

Apart from these components, others that are problematic include the airbags, brakes, exterior lighting, powertrain, seat belts, seats, steering, structure, suspension, and wheels of the SUV. Backover prevention, fuel systems, vehicle speed control, and visibility also have issues that have elicited complaints.

Volkswagen has acknowledged several problems that relate to the seats, seat belts, and structure of the SUV. The result is three recalls. But none relate to the major problems that are leading to multiple complaints from owners.


NHTSA Campaign Number 22V226000 warns that 6,553 Tiguan vehicles, including the 2929 model, have a spoiler that hasn’t been attached correctly. The danger is that it can separate from the vehicle, creating a road hazard and increasing the risk of a crash.

NHTSA Campaign Number 20V505000 warns that 5,376 Volkswagen models, including the 2020 Tiguan, have front seat backrest frames that aren’t properly welded. If these vehicles are rear-ended, the backrest adjustment could break. This could reduce the restraint offered and increase the risk of injury.

NHTSA Campaign Number 20V579000 also shows inadequate manufacturing standards, although it apparently only affects six 2020 Tiguan LWB vehicles. In this case, the third row seat belt anchor bolts may not have been properly torqued. This, too, can increase the risk of injury to occupants if the vehicles crash.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Complaint Summary

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

Overhead Consoles Falling

Lemberg Law has an active class action investigation about this issue that affects 2020-2023 Tiguan vehicles. There are many new comments that have been lodged with the NHTSA since we launched the investigation. Here are a couple that relate specifically to the 2020 model. The fact worth noting is that even as recently as February 2024, complaints were still being sent in for NHTSA attention.

In a complaint dated February 2, 2024, an owner from Texas described how the “panel that controls the sunroof/moonroof” has fallen out of place twice. “The second time and the major cause for concern is because it happened while I was driving. And that is a safety hazard because it startled me and it easily could have caused me to swerve and wreck into someone or something.” Despite the danger and fact that it is a defect that recurs, the dealership told him they “will only repair as a courtesy twice.”

An owner from California states that he was grateful the center console fell from the headliner when the vehicle was stationary. “Thankfully it did not happen while I was driving which may have caused an accident.”

Another owner explains that the roof console that controls the sunroof “detached overnight and was dangling at eye level by a couple wires. It cracked right at the screws. My guess is it has to do with heat resistance and thin plastic. If this had happened while driving, it would have been an immediate and serious safety hazard as it would have blocked my line of sight through the windshield.”

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Emergency Braking System Failure

There are numerous complaints about the auto brake feature. Some say that the emergency braking system registers shadows or the forward collision avoidance system picks up non-existent cars on windy roads. Then the car slams on brakes. “I have had cars blowing their horns and swerving from behind me in order to avoid a collision,” says an owner from Virginia.

Another owner states that the auto brake feature lights up on the dashboard, sending the car “to a screeching halt. It takes me on average 5 seconds to regain control of my brakes.”

An owner from New York states that the “front assist emergency braking system activates for no reason.” The dealer’s explanation was that “the car is ‘sensitive’.”

“The vehicle will stop itself while in motion through the automatic braking system at random times,” states an owner from Washington. This has happened at least four times both in traffic and when there are no other cars on the road. “The dealer has stated there are no faults.”

Forward Collision Avoidance System Sensors

Complaints name several sensors that owners claim are faulty. For example an owner from Texas states that the “emergency sensor believes the ground in front of me is an obstacle” and stops in the middle of the highway. The complaint states that this has happened “multiple times after pulling out of a parking lot where it is slightly sloped.”

An owner from California has a similar complaint. “My vehicle’s front assist collision sensor will engage itself while going down some driveways, regardless of how slow or angled. I have almost been rear-ended three times because of this and almost hit from the side when the sensor engaged when I was more than halfway out into the first lane to make my turn.” The dealer’s response was that “it is the driver’s responsibility to manually turn off the front assist collision sensor each and every time you intend to drive the car.”

Engine Oil Consumption

A potent engine is what drivers want to experience, but when the engine burns oil, owners have a major problem. Clearly Volkswagen is aware of the problem, because as long ago as May 8, 2020, a manufacturer communication from Volkswagen to all dealerships advises that a “customer states oil leak from the engine.” However, the accompanying document on file states that dealers must “please contact VW Helpline before attempting repair.” The same instruction applies to other engine-related problems including broken and loose bolts and an engine not cranking or starting!

An owner from Virginia states in a complaint that from “Since the day I bought this car from the dealer (who stated oil change should be every 10K miles), the car’s engine oil light goes on every 5-6 months. This is a new car and never goes past 6-7K miles on the engine. I believe there is an engine oil consumption problem with these types of vehicles. This is a safety hazard. Additionally, it is unheard of to have to replace oil in a brand new car in the 21st century every 5-6 months.”

Another owner from Virginia states, “I am adding 1-2 quarts of oil every 2-3 months and I only have 24k miles on this car. I’ve had an oil consumption test completed and they said that it’s falling just within normal limits. It’s unacceptable.”

When another owner confronted a dealer because his Tiguan was burning oil he was told it was “normal” for the car to burn half a quart of oil every 2000 miles. But, because there are no oil stains on the ground, the owner maintains “the engine is burning oil.”

An owner from Texas echoes this complaint stating: “Low Engine Oil. Car is burning oil. Having to put engine oil every 3 months.”

Do You Have a Lemon?

If you think you’ve bought a lemon, a good option is to talk to an experienced lemon lawyer. The law makes VW pay legal fees and you may be able to get your lemon out of your life. After all, every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners.

All you need to do is call the Lemberg Law Helpline or fill out a contact form. We will assess your problems and get back to 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
  • Ryan U

    I am having the same problem with the electrical system. The cars breaking system stopped the car on the freeway. When we took it in they said it was fine. Now something is draining the battery and are charging us $400 to replace the battery just to diagnose the car to see whT the real problem is. I want to take the car back and am goingg in to see what my options are

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