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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Fun and Smart Review By Larry Nutson

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
Fun and Smart

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Volkswagen has an all-new, second-generation Tiguan compact SUV for 2018. It’s longer, has more cargo space and has three-row seating to carry up to seven passengers. The new Tiguan is part of VW’s revamped SUV program for the U.S.

Not to confuse you, but the current 5-passenger Tiguan will continue to be offered for at least a couple years. Rebadged as the Tiguan Limited, the product program for this model will be simplified in terms of features and options, and pricing will reflect a strong value position for a buyer.

The 2018 Tiguan and Tiguan Limited join the all-new midsize VW Atlas 3-row SUV that was introduced earlier this year. Rounding out the changes in the product program, reports have it that the Touareg luxury SUV will be discontinued in the U.S. after 2017. Luxury SUVs will be left to VW’s sister brands, Audi and Porsche.

The compact SUV segment is forecasted at about 3.5 million sales. It is THE hot segment right now. Every carmaker wants to be in it. The all-new 2018 Tiguan will be the only compact SUV offered by a European manufacturer.

VW execs referred proudly to the new Tiguan as “the new king of the concrete jungle.” With the gentrification of cities and more and more younger and older folks both re-urbanizing and moving out of the suburbs and exurbs, concrete will certainly be the predominant “texture” around most all vehicles.

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On the invite of Volkswagen, I drove the new 2018 Tiguan around the environs of Denver, Colorado as well as up into the nearby even higher elevations of the Rockies. Although not very concrete-like, it was a great area to explore and test out all of Tiguan’s capabilities.

The 2018 Tiguan will be offered on S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium trim levels priced from $25,345 to $36,250 for the front-drive models. VW’s optional 4Motion all-wheel-drive is $1,300 additional on each of the trims.

The three-row seating is standard on the front-drive trims and a $500 option on the all-wheel-drive trims.

VW’s 2.0-L turbo 4-cylinder engine has been updated, now with 184-HP. There’s plenty of low-end torque, 221 lb-ft, and together with the standard 8-speed automatic the Tiguan performs well. On my Rocky Mountain drive at elevations up to 8000 ft along twisty, windy roads I thought the overall driving behavior of the Tiguan to be good. It’s not a rocket with its 184-HP, and performance probably would be better at lower altitudes with more-dense air.

VW’s 4Motion AWD is biased to a front torque split so that power goes to the rear wheels only when needed. This helps keep fuel consumption lower. A console-mounted control allows the selection of four different driving modes--snow, on-road, off-road, and off-road custom.

EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings for the front-drive models are 24 combined mpg, with 22 city mpg and 27 highway mpg. The AWD models have the same 27 mpg highway rating and are rated one mpg lower at 21 city mpg. The identical highway mpg ratings illustrate the efficiency of the AWD front torque split.

Longer by 10. 6 inches over the current Tiguan there’s up to 58-percent more cargo space. Despite its increased length, the new Tiguan is easily maneuvered with a smaller turning radius of 37.7 feet.

Although most SUVs never get off-roaded, the Tiguan is ready with a front bumper similar to the European model’s off-road package with a 26-degree approach angle. Other indications of its off-road capability are a 23-degree departure angle and 7.9 inches of ground clearance.

Three-row models max out cargo carrying at 65.7 cu ft, with 33 cu ft behind the second row and 12 cu ft if all rows are upright. Two-row models are slightly more roomy with 73.5 cu ft max and 37.6 cu ft with the second row upright.

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The Tiguan is tow-rated at a 1500 lb. braked trailer.

Standard featured include a rear view camera, roof rails, LED front and rear lights, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. An R-line package will be offered sometime after introduction.

Options include 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels, a large sunroof, power liftgate with hands free opening, and a Fender 480 watt 9-speaker premium audio system.

A 12.3-inch digital display is available instead of the standard instrument cluster. The hi-res display can store up to four different driver profiles so that personal preferences are easily at hand. The navigation system map can also be displayed in the display for easy viewing.

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The new Tiguan will offer a full range of driver-assistance safety features, something that the current Tiguan doesn’t. Front brake assist with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert with braking, lane keep assist, 360-degree camera view, adaptive cruise control, and park distance control with rear braking will all be available.

More information, features and specs can be found at I did a drive review of the current Tiguan earlier this year in case you want a refresher, just click here.

I also drove the new 3-row midsize VW Atlas at VW’s launch program and you an read about that right here.

For that added peace of mind during ownership, the all-new Tiguan, as well as the Atlas, have America’s Best SUV Bumper-to-Bumper Transferable Warranty of 6 years/72,000 miles.

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Overall, the new Tiguan is well designed and put together along with having good ride and handling that is typical of its Germanic heritage. It’s another good choice for buyers shopping for a roomy compact SUV.

The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan should be at dealers in late summer 2017.

The next step in VW’s SUV program could be the new T-Roc small SUV with a more sporty design (think Mazda CX-3) that might be coming to the U.S. in a year or two.

© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

This report comes from an invitation-only Volkswagen launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Volkswagen provided my overnight accommodations, meals, and transportation.

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