The Volkswagen Tiguan is all-new for 2018. It’s taller, wider and longer than the outgoing model and offers an optional third row. VW hopes this new roomier Tiguan will appeal to the American market. The old Tiguan will now be called the Tiguan Limited, so VW will have four crossovers/SUVs: the two Tiguans, the Touareg and the new Atlas.
The Tiguan is available in S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium trims. Starting prices range from $25,345 to $37,550. It’s available with front-wheel or all-wheel-drive. VW’s AWD system, 4MOTION, is available for an additional $1300 on any of the trim levels. Third-row seating is standard on FWD models and available on AWD trims if you pony up an additional $500.
The 2018 Tiguan is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Tiguan is fine as a daily driver but don’t expect sporty performance. It can be a pokey when asked to quickly accelerate at freeway speeds, especially when going uphill. The eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly but can be sluggish when downshifting, so you’ll need to plan ahead if you need to increase your speed. You’ll notice some body roll when cornering. The ride is firm but still comfortable. Engine noise is noticeable when it’s pressed.
VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system can transfer power from front to back and side to side. There are several modes the driver can select including On-Road, Snow, Off-Road and Custom Off-Road. Within the normal On-Road setting, you can choose from Normal, Sport, Eco and Custom settings. The Tiguan has 7.9 inches of ground clearance.
Fuel efficiency is better in the new Tiguan but it’s not that great for the class. EPA ratings for the FWD models are 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with a combined rating of 24 mpg. AWD Tiguans are rated at 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway with a combined rating of 23 mpg. I got 24 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. At least it takes regular fuel, unlike the old Tiguan which required premium.
All Tiguans have an engine stop-start system that shuts off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, then starts it up again when you lift your foot off the brake pedal. This system was noticeable with a bit of a lurch from time to time.
The interior is somewhat Spartan with a lot of plastic. Still, it’s comfortable and spacious with a clean look. The infotainment system is user-friendly and easy to reach. It responds promptly to commands. It’s easy to integrate your smart phone with the standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Many driver tech features are available, including lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, overhead view camera, rear traffic alert with braking and park distance control with maneuver braking which will stop the vehicle if you’re about to back into something.
Passengers in the first two rows will enjoy good leg- and headroom. As you’d expect, the third row is tight and best suited to small kids.
VW says the Tiguan offers up to 58 percent more storage space than the outgoing model. It has 73.5 cubic feet of storage, up from 56.1 in the old Tiguan.
Responsive, user-friendly infotainment system
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard
Lots of room for cargo and passengers
Good warranty that can be transferred to subsequent owners
Performance is lackluster
So-so fuel efficiency
Interior not as nice as many rivals
Only kids will fit in the third row, as you’d expect
VW did not provide detailed pricing info for my tester except its MSRP of $31,580.
The new Tiguan will appeal to shoppers who wanted a VW but found the old Tiguan too small and the Touareg too big. More cargo space and the option of a third row make it a more versatile compact crossover. Still, this is a very competitive segment and it will remain to be seen whether the Tiguan can compete with the likes of the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-5.