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Volkswagen Tiguan: All-New Compact Crossover for 2018

By Frank A. Aukofer, July 28th, 2018

Volkswagen ups its game in the crossover SUV arena with an all-new Tiguan. It has nothing to do with points, rebounds, assists, or blocked shots in a basketball game, though the German manufacturer would be delighted if the Tiguan managed some steals from competitors.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan has a fun-to-drive character with a redesign engineered for a more spacious interior, flexible seating, and high-tech infotainment and available driver-assistance features
Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan has a fun-to-drive character with a redesign engineered for a more spacious interior, flexible seating, and high-tech infotainment and available driver-assistance features

To that end, VW has doubled its overall warranty to 72,000 miles and six years from the standard 36,000 miles and three years. It also has added a third row of seats to all Tiguans, standard on front-wheel-drive models and a $500 option on all-wheel-drive models.

This is all part of VW's effort to win over new fans and rebuild trust among existing ones who were disillusioned by the company's diesel-engine emissions cheating scandal. So not surprisingly, a gasoline engine powers the new Tiguan.

Tiguan's power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers 184 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. City/highway/combined fuel economy is 21/27/23 mpg.

The Tiguan plays in the crossover sport utility vehicle segment, which are knocking sedans out of the game. In the compact cluster, Tiguan competes against such proven competitors as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Tucson, and Mazda CX-5.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan has a fun-to-drive character with a redesign engineered for a more spacious interior, flexible seating, and high-tech infotainment and available driver-assistance features

The new Tiguan is nearly 11 inches longer than its predecessor, now stretching to 15 feet 5 inches in length. That delivers enough space for the third row, which increases the passenger capacity to seven. However, the third row should be reserved for athletic small children and forbidden to senior citizens of any age. It takes a gymnast's twists and turns to get back there, where there's barely enough space for backpacks and watermelons.

Likely most owners will reserve the third row for dire emergencies and simply leave it folded to expand the cargo area, which in two-row versions has 38 cubic feet of space, about triple what you find in compact sedans.

The Tiguan comes in four trim levels with a starting price of $24,245 for the base S and ranging up to $38,450 for the all-wheel-drive top-of-the-line SEL Premium. The focus here is on the two-row all-wheel-drive SE, which carried a price tag of $31,280.

To get all the goodies like navigation, lane departure and collision mitigation, blind-spot warning, rear camera, SXM satellite radio, and other safety, connectivity, and convenience items, you must order one of the more-expensive versions.

Accommodations vary with cloth seats on the S, leatherette on SE and SEL, and leather on the SEL Premium. The choice here was for the comfortable and supportive cloth seats on the S, which look durable enough to survive many years. The leatherette should be durable as well, though it is less comfortable for long distances, especially in summer.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan has a fun-to-drive character with a redesign engineered for a more spacious interior, flexible seating, and high-tech infotainment and available driver-assistance features

The Tiguan has a character that owners often refer to as its German feel. It tracks cleanly down the road, has a suspension system that absorbs bumps, and, with accurate steering, handles curving roads without fuss. In addition, the ride is comfortable and very quiet with little intrusion of mechanical, road, or wind noise.

According to Volkswagen, the outside design emphasizes rugged utility. The front bumper is similar to the European model's off-road package, complementing the Tiguan's available 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with a 26-degree approach angle. Its off-road capability includes a 23-degree departure angle and 7.9 inches of ground clearance.

VW also says that standard roof rails allow outdoor enthusiasts to carry bikes, kayaks, and ski carriers. The 2018 Tiguan has a lower lift-in height for the tailgate for easier loading. The towing hitch pulls up to 1,500 pounds.

The CD changer, in a nod to the past, resides in the glove compartment. The driver's side sun visor slides on its support rod to fully block sun from the side; the passenger does not get the same courtesy because that visor is rigidly fixed. Overall, this is an improved and more competitive Tiguan in a tough fight.

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