2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Structure 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.

The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan has VW’s “hallmark fun-to-drive character,” according to the automaker. A best-seller, it is said, by VW, that combines style and functionality to cater to any lifestyle. But a growing number of owners are finding that malfunctions and defects are far from stylish and they impede functionality. Complaints state that adaptive cruise control is majorly problematic, brakes malfunction, the overhead console falls out of the roof, and sunroofs explode. So, it can’t always be much fun to drive.   

Click on other model years to view more problems: 2019   2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems with the 2021 Tiguan

Adaptive cruise control ACC), badly fitted overhead consoles, and brake-related problems rank the highest in terms of complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other reliable sources about the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan. There are also several complaints about the sunroof exploding.

Overall, the components and systems that owners are complaining about include airbags, backover prevention, the electrical system, engine, equipment, forward collision-avoidance, the fuel/propulsion system, parking and service brakes, powertrain, structure, tires, and visibility.

There are also five recalls for the 2021 VW Tiguan. Of these, two relate to the rear view camera, and one each to the seats, structure, and suspension. None of these relate to the primary complaints lodged with the NHTSA and other primary sources by 2021 Tiguan owners.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Power Train
Vehicle Speed Control
Service Brakes

Adaptive Cruise Control Problems

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is a big problem with the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan. All complaints are listed as being forward collision-avoidance issues.

An owner from Colorado tells how the ACC would be working fine and then it would suddenly stop working. “I get in the car and I get up to speed and I go to press the adaptive cruise control button to set it. And it starts off trying to set the speed and then all the sudden I get an error saying that it can’t set the speed.” Nothing he can do will set it back on track and the error codes keep coming. “But if I were to put it in Park, turn the engine off and then turn it back on it works perfectly fine.” One of the dangers is that if the music is “up loud,” the driver wouldn’t hear the “ding,” and the dashboard might not catch the driver’s attention.

When the Tiguan is started remotely, an owner from Pennsylvania states that if cruise control wasn’t turned off, there will be problems. The “ACC system shows an error and fails to engage when the driver tries to set cruise control. If one relies on ACC often but does not often use remote start, this situation can lead to improper driver expectations and rear-end collisions as the car doesn’t brake when the driver expects it to. This is a well-known issue at VW dealerships and widely reported by owners on VW forums. Mostly it’s just an annoyance, but today I experienced it as a safety issue.”

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Brake Related Problems

Some forward collision-avoidance problems also relate to the brakes – and sometimes to the ACC as well. For example, an owner from California states that when driving at about 15 mph the Tiguan suddenly brakes independently. This has happened since taking ownership, and while there is no warning light, the vehicle does activate a beeping sound prior to sudden braking.

Another owner states that When using the remote start, “the ACC and automatic braking system will fail and give an error. This is a known issue for VW and they have not provided a solution in over 2 years. To make it work again you need to either turn the car off and back on without remote start or disable the ACC before using the remote start.”

Overhead Console Issue

Identified as being unknown or other, or structure issues, badly made overhead consoles have emerged as a huge problem. Generally, people say that the consoles simply fall out of the roof. Whatever was keeping them in place seems to have broken or disintegrated!

An owner from Texas states that the 20221 Tiguan console “unexpectedly dropped out of the vehicle’s ceiling. The plastic and adhesive keeping this part in place appeared to have cracked into pieces, and the weight of the part caused it to fall.” This happened while the owner was driving and “it startled me into nearly having an accident.” This particular owner had to wait more than 6 weeks to get a replacement part. According to the dealership, it was on backorder due to multiple incidents of the same kind.

An owner from Georgia states that while driving at about 40 mph, “the overhead console detached from the vehicle.” Another owner from Texas said, “I was driving down the road and the overhead console fell out of the roof… I researched it and found this has happened to many people. Just glad I didn’t wreck.”

Sunroofs Explode

When sunroofs shatter or explode, the effects can be traumatic.

The owner of a 2021 Tiguan describes how, when driving on a highway with the sunroof closed and sunroof screen open, there was “a loud bang.” She and her fiance were covered in small pieces of glass and their ears were ringing. They pulled over and discovered that “the front panoramic section of the sunroof had exploded.” At the time, there were no other cars on the road and they are “100% certain that a rock did not cause this.” The complaint adds that there was significantly less glass inside the Tiguan than the volume of glass “missing from the sunroof.” This indicates that the glass “exploded away from the vehicle (and) not into the vehicle.”

An owner from Maine said that the sunroof simply exploded while driving down the highway. “I was going 65-70 mph, (with) no other vehicles around me.”

What Can You Do If your Tiguan is a Lemon?

Do you think you have a lemon? It’s quite possible you do, especially if your 2021 Tiguan has problems that recur and affect its use and value.

But, did you know that every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners? Additionally, the law makes VW pay the legal fees for lemon law cases.

If you need help, contact Lemberg Law and we will assess your problems free of cost. If we believe you’ve got a case, we’ll help you get lemon justice. All you have to do is fill out a contact form or call our Helpline.

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
  • Romeo

    From the first week I owned my 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan the car continually hesitated from start I brought the car back and asked her to be returned the dealership and no way was going to help me get out of my lease.I was told to get used to stepping on the accelerator faster so the car would not hesitate. I’ve never had a situation like this occur but truly feel like it was a safety issue I brought my car to three different dealers for their evaluations all replied with the exact same verbiage your car performs within factory specs. As time went by because suddenly started lunging when switching into second gear the odometer would read 7,000 RPM the car would go back and forth and then inevitably catch up with whatever the problem was. Volkswagen customer service was useless in helping me try and get this travel taken care of every time I took it to the dealer the things that was used your car is functioning within Factory specifications. I feel this car is unsafe I’ve emphasize that and multitude of times to various reps service advisors service managers and anyone who would hear my problem. Please let me know if there’s anything we can do about the situation I intend on bringing my car first thing again tomorrow morning to see if they can diagnose this problem. All levels of Volkswagen management from customer service to sales to service are aware of the problems that are going on and refuse to adjust them accordingly.

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