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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Review By Steve Purdy

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By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

Usually I get a week of experience with a vehicle before doing a review but I just had a couple days with the new Tiguan, VW’s freshly redesigned, front-wheel or all-wheel drive, small crossover. As it turned out, that was still enough time to develop an affection for this sophisticated compact people and cargo hauler.

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Twice in those two days I was approached by strangers who wanted to tell me how much they like it, particularly in this bright redish-orange color they call Habanero Orange Metallic. You’ll see this color in many Tiguan ads meaning the company thinks this is the best color for the car. One of these admirers was a 20-something young women in Ann Arbor who loves her previous generation Tiguan, but finds the extra length of this one (nearly a foot) both aesthetically appealing and an indicator of greater functionality. The nicely updated styling adds a more crisp and purposeful look with enough sculpting to provide some distinction. It continues VW’s no-nonsense styling language.

Tiguan’s interior is also substantially updated and continues to exude a Teutonic personality of quality and functionality without ostentation. The tactile quality of controls and relative simplicity of information outputs along with attractive styling makes us feel at home, comfortable and thoroughly in control. That extra 10-inches of length allows for the third-row seat, standard with the front-wheel drive version, and optional with the 4Motion all-wheel drive model. Cargo space is 30% larger than the outgoing model – 75.3 cubic-feet with seatbacks folded, as much as many mid-size crossovers. Second row seats recline, move fore and aft and fold 40/20/40. Third row is good for two passengers and folds 50/50.

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As we loaded our luggage to head for the airport (the reason we only had a couple days, by the way) it seemed like it had more depth in the cargo area (third row seatbacks folded) than my mid-size Lexus RX. By the way, you can now get a hands-free automatic lift gate for a few extra bucks.

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Infotainment systems get updated as well with VW’s MIB II and next generation Car-Net connected vehicle platform. An adequate 6.5-inch display is standard in lesser trim levels and a substantial 8-inch version come in the top levels. Both now have better color reproduction and response time.

Under the hood, VW’s trusty 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with modest performance numbers – 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque – gets a new 8-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually. The EPA says we can expect around 21 mpg in the city, 27 on the highway and 23 combined. With a 15.3-gallon fuel tank our driving range is about average, perhaps a bit over 300 miles. We found acceleration and overall responsiveness of the powertrain to be thrilling, particularly when shifting manually and keeping the revs up. The powertrain is well-matched to the rest of the car.

Suspension is of conventional design with tuning that is well-balanced between comfort and handling. While we did not push it particularly hard during our few days behind the wheel, it had the stability and agility would expect from VW, and the whole package provides a decent fun-to-drive quotient.

Driver assist systems are dependent on the trim level you might choose. Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Brake Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring come with different levels, but Rear-View Camera is standard on all.

The small crossover segment is probably the hottest in the U.S. market. Just about every manufacturer has something in this category and they are all very good. At least, I’ve yet to find a bad one. The Tiguan, though, stands out, particularly in the design integrity that VW advocates love. Everything we touch has an excellent tactile quality. With this full redesign Tiguan takes its place among the best in its class.

The basic Tiguan S with front-wheel drive and no options shows an MSRP of $24,595. You can load it up with lots of extra stuff and still be not much over 30-grand. An SE, SEL and SEL Premium round out the trim levels. The SEL Premium shows a price of $36,250 and comes with a lot of content. The 4Motion system typically adds about $1,300 and is available at all trim levels.

VW’s new car warranty covers the whole Tiguan for 6 years or 72,000 miles.

Buyers have plenty of great choices in compact crossovers, think Equinox, Escape, CR-V, Rogue, RAV4, Sportage and plenty more. The Tiguan, in this reviewer’s opinion, is fully in the hunt for your consideration, particularly now that is has a bit more length, 7-passenger capability, a great warranty and an updated VW personality.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

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