With the introduction of the midsize Atlas crossover SUV, Volkswagen has discovered the way to repair its business after dealing with the diesel emission scandal is to capitalize on this fast-growing segment. To complement this new model and offer something in between the original 2-row Tiguan (which is still being built in Germany and sold as the Limited), VW introduced a 3-row 2018 model built in Mexico and designed specifically for the U.S. Micah Muzio sees how the all-new Tiguan stacks up against the competition in this Video Review and Road Test.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Review Transcript

Are you in the market for a compact SUV? Does the word Teutonic leave you giddy instead of confused? Then maybe you need to add the second generation Volkswagen Tiguan to your consideration list. It's back, bigger than the original Tiguan.

The second generation Tiguan has grown in size to better compete with the expanding dimensions of the compact SUV segment and before I forget, you can still buy the smaller cheaper and less sophisticated previous generation Tiguan now dubbed the Tiguan Limited. Don't get that Tiguan confused with this Tiguan.

Anyway, a larger Tiguan means a roomier interior. Explore the rest of the cabin and you'll find comfortable seats, a tasteful layout and a wealth of soft high-quality materials if you dig a squishy dash, you'll love the VW Tiguan. In defiance of compact SUV convention, the Tiguan comes with a standard third row seat that for some reason costs $500 extra on all-wheel drive models. To illustrate the third rows coziness, here's footage from the Detroit Auto Show. Do I look happy? Lesson learned, use the V-Dubs third row for children and only when this necessity demands it. I've come too far in life to die in the back of the Tiguan.

When not hauling displeased car reviewers the rear quarters, can carry a healthy 33 cubic feet of gear with the third row stowed and an even healthier 37.6 cubic feet in the two-row Tiguan. Speaking of the second row, it slides, reclines and offers 40/20/40 split folding abilities for maximum human cargo flexibility. Convenient seat releases make dropping the second row a cinch while the wide rear cargo opening can be enhanced with some nifty options. We've seen tailgates before that open with the wave of a foot, but Volkswagen’s done something clever. When you've got your arms filled with heavy stuff, you push a button and then when you walk away the car will sense when the key has left and it'll automatically close the tailgate. 

Before moving on, there are a few more interior details worth noting. In cruise mode, I like to keep my hands at 8 and 4 and rest my arms on the armrest. In the Volkswagen Tiguan, there's literally no seat and steering wheel position where that is possible. And before you ask, the armrest is not height adjustable. So I guess it's back to 9 and 3, or even better, wrists draped gently across the top: command seating, command steering!

There's also no latch on the center console, though now that I think about it, yeah, I guess a latch isn't necessary. Elsewhere, the door panel bottle holders are huge so keep piling on those drinks and handy storage spots on the dash and by the driver's knee means your phone and that roll of medical tape you used to tape microphones to your chest will always have somewhere to live. That last one might only apply to me.

Moving on, many of the Tiguan finest attributes are revealed once it's in motion. With light responsive steering and the quiet cabin, Volkswagen Tiguan is a good choice for long distance travels. Yes, there might be softer-sprung SUVs but Volkswagen’s compact rides in a refined and comfortable fashion. Despite being nearly 10 inches longer than the previous Tiguan, this Tiguan is still fairly easy to park, thanks to a reasonably tight turning circle and good visibility in all directions and a complete absence of parking spots with which to demonstrate my point. Ah, here we go. If you spring for the optional 360 camera and optional front/rear parking sensors, this whole thing is even easier.  But this car doesn't have it, so watch as we back off a cliff or hey, why don't I just explode.

Overcoming the Tiguan’s fairly hefty curb weight is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that provides reasonable thrust. But floor it from a standstill and you'll experience some momentary lag while the turbo spools up. That might seem nitpicky, but in situations like this where you have to cross a road or maybe you can't see if other cars are coming and you want to quickly blast through the danger zone, that instantaneous power is critical.

In normal driving, the engines turbocharged nature reveals itself through occasionally surging throttle response. While this is not the most transparent transmission we've experienced, it works well enough. The powertrain also includes a standard and largely inoffensive automatic engine start/stop system, but note when the engine shuts off at a stoplight, the AC compressor shuts down as well. But, VW deserves a hearty high-five for including an off button. Even with an automatic engine start/stop system, the Tiguan’s combined EPA rating of 24 mpg is low for the category. For perspective, Honda CRVs, aside from the base trim, are rated at 30 mpg combined. If you need all-wheel drive, VW’s 4motion all-wheel drive system is available for $1,300.

The Volkswagen Tiguan has its positives, but price is not one of them. A base Tiguan S trim equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear seat vents, Bluetooth, a backup camera and an exceptionally strong 60,000- to 72,000-mile fully transferable warranty starts a hair above $26,000 including destination charges, placing its entry price above competitors like the fun and lovely Mazda CX-5, the well-rounded Honda CR-V, the technology-rich Chevrolet Equinox, the roomy Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue, which like the Tiguan can be had with a third row seat. Select a more expensive Tiguan and you can enjoy keyless access with push-button start, an 8-inch infotainment system, replacing the 6.5-inch standard unit, leatherette or genuine leather replacing the base car’s cloth seats, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, front and rear parking sensors and a 12.3-inch customizable digital instrument  panel that can put navigation info right in front of your face. Well kind of below your face, but you get the picture.

As with most modern SUVs, active safety aides are also available including blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic braking and a lane departure warning system that would be more helpful if it also steered you back into your lane. Select an utterly loaded Premium trim with all-wheel drive and the fancy looking R-Line package and you can expect an MSRP a touch higher than $40,000. Examine the competitive field and you'll find more efficient, less expensive and more practical SUVs, many of which boast superior resale values. But if you want a handsome SUV with an amazing warranty, satisfying road manners, an occasional-use third row and a dusting of German heritage and you don't mind paying for the privilege, the Volkswagen Tiguan is worth the spin. 

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