Volkswagen has certainly had their ups and downs in recent years. But their current approach of making larger, more comfortable vehicles; and then selling them to Americans at attractive prices, is a real crowd pleaser. So, let’s see how that tactic works for their all-new compact utility, the Tiguan.
The first thing you notice about the all-new, second generation, 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is how mega roomy it is inside. It may still be considered a compact crossover, but the feel is far more midsize, being clearly aimed at American buyers. In fact, it is even built just south of our border in Mexico.
Now, the first gen Tiguan was imported from Europe. And, while on sale here for ten years, it was never very popular.
The new Tiguan still looks a little like the original, but VW’s modern, angular theme is much more in play now. The very long rear doors not only speak to all the space inside, but indicate the Tiguan now rides on a stretched wheelbase version of VW’s flexible MQB platform. It’s more than 10-inches longer overall than before.
Inside, the front seats may appear flat and painful; but actually, it’s the opposite that is true. They are firm, but comfort is excellent; plus, there are plenty of adjustments, and getting in and out is very easy.
Our SE tester is just one step up from base trim, yet features an 8-inch touchscreen, push button start, dual automatic climate control, a host of safety features, and leatherette seat covers.
It’s in the 2nd row that you experience all that extra space the most. Legroom is equal to many midsize entries, and seats back here are very cozy as well.
Need more seats? A 3rd row is standard in front-wheel-drive Tiguans, optional with all-wheel-drive. But alas, this may be one roomy compact, but it is still a compact. The 3rd row’s two seats are only usable for small children. But, at least they do offer it.
With those seats folded, the cargo bay is also spacious of course; but there’s an unevenness to the space due to the folding 3rd row, that keeps it from being as efficiently packaged as it could be. Still, 33.0 cubic-ft. is quite good, maxing out at 65.7 with the standard 40/20/40 2nd row seats folded.
No power lift-gate on our SE trim, SEL and above only; but the very light hatch virtually lifts on its own anyway.
The Tiguan is not exactly stimulating or high-tech looking inside, but is highly functional and intuitive. The larger touch screen found in all but base S trim is much easier to use, the radio sounds very good, and gauges are clear and simplistic as always with VW.
Power comes from a revised 2.0-liter turbo I4 with standard auto stop/start. Horsepower is down from 200 to 184, but torque is up from 207 to 221 lb-ft. It has adequate guts to move the Tiguan’s, 3,800-lbs., but some may wish for more.
We surely did at our test track, where the Tiguan jogged to 60 in 8.8-seconds.It certainly didn’t help that it immediately cuts power at even a hint of wheel spin. Power builds slowly down the track, and the engine sounds pretty decent; but otherwise it’s an unremarkable 16.8-second ¼-mile trip that finishes at 84 miles-per-hour.
Tiguan redeems itself through the cones, however; with quick steering and a nimble chassis, like a slightly heavier Golf wagon, which essentially it is.
No surprise, brakes performed well. 118 feet from 60 to 0 with a short travel, firm, confidence inspiring pedal.
2-wheel-drive Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 27-Highway, and 24-Combined. For an average Energy Impact Score of 13.7-barrels of yearly oil use with CO2 emissions of 6.1-tons.
Pricing starts at a reasonable $25,495; add $1,300 for all-wheel-drive.
With the new Tiguan, and the larger Atlas, Volkswagen is clearly pulling out all the stops to gain U.S. market share. Launching two 3-row SUVs in short order is very bold. And, backing them with a 6 year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is very smart.
The cosmetics may be unremarkable; but the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is a comfy, highly useful, competent handling, well thought out, and yes…American-style crossover. To us it sure looks like VW is fast becoming the Honda of German cars.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 221 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.8 seconds @ 84 mph
EPA: 22 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 13.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.1 tons/yr