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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Expert Review

By Jason Allan

The compact SUV segment has changed quite a bit in the nine years since Volkswagen introduced the Tiguan. And now, finally, the VW has caught up. Totally redesigned for 2018, the 2nd-generation Volkswagen Tiguan is among the roomiest SUVs in the segment and loaded with cutting-edge tech, including dual 12- and 8-inch digital displays, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a long list of driver-assist and safety technologies. It’s also the only compact SUV other than the Nissan Rogue to offer seating for seven, and boasts the very best bumper-to-bumper warranty in the segment: a 6-year/72,000-mile limited warranty that’s fully transferable to subsequent owners. The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan isn’t just a better SUV, it’s a smarter buy right out of the gate.

You'll Like This Car If...

Now that it’s more comparable to and competitive with segment stalwarts like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, the Tiguan’s European design and driving sensibilities are much more attractive.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The solidly built Tiguan is neither the quickest nor the most fuel-efficient compact SUV you can buy. And while the new warranty goes a long way in reducing the potential financial impact related to VW’s documented quality shortcomings, we wouldn’t bet on the new Tiguan being as trouble-free as a Honda CR-V, for instance.

How It Ranks

#16

out of 19

Fuel Economy

#4

out of 19

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The Volkswagen Tiguan has been completely redesigned for 2018.

Driving the Tiguan
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

The Tiguan’s excellent steering and pedal response -- expected attributes of any VW -- contribute to an overall driving feel that’s among the best in the segment. Highway ride is...

... firmer than that of some other small SUVs, but excellent seats, a quiet cabin and superior steering feel qualify the new Tiguan as an excellent long-haul companion. While the Tiguan’s turbocharged engine generates impressive horsepower and torque, a base Tiguan is a whopping 450 pounds heavier than a base Honda CR-V. City scooting and highway cruising are barely impacted, but the added mass is evident in highway merging and passing situations.

Although the Tiguan is a bit longer than most compact SUVs, good outward visibility and a decent turning diameter combine to make it a breeze in parking lots. The Tiguan also offers a host of available technologies that make parking maneuvers even easier. Rear Traffic Alert with Braking will warn you of cars coming down the aisle you’re backing into, and can automatically stop the car if necessary. The Overhead View Camera provides a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings, an increasingly common feature that remains among our favorites. Park Distance Control with Maneuver Braking incorporates front and rear parking sensors that warn you of close objects and can even stop the car if you’re about to back into something.

6-YEAR/72,000-MILE WARRANTY
The best bumper-to-bumper warranty in the business, the Tiguan’s fully transferable coverage benefits owners who keep their cars a long time, as well as those who typically sell after a few years.

APPLE CARPLAY AND ANDROID AUTO
Choose a song, dictate a text message or navigate to a destination with the ease and familiarity of your smartphone.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Details
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Interior design and materials are typical VW highlights, and the new Tiguan follows suit. We’re big fans of open bins with power and USB ports placed ahead of the transmission selector, a feature we were happy to find in the Tiguan. The start/stop button, electronic parking brake, and transmission selector are all placed within inches of each other in the center console, which makes for quicker and easier departures and arrivals. The center armrest is nicely padded but doesn’t offer the cool, ratcheting height adjustability we regularly put to use in other Volkswagens.

In addition to accommodating backseat passengers with ample headroom and legroom, the 2018 VW Tiguan features sliding and reclining rear seatbacks that adjust to maximize both passenger comfort and cargo capacity. The seatback also features a 40/20/40 split, which makes it easier to carry long items and two rear passengers at the same time. The rear seat also features dedicated air vents, power and USB ports, plus a good armrest. Even though the Tiguan’s third row is the smallest on the market -- with 3.5 fewer inches of legroom than even the Nissan Rogue’s available third row -- it nevertheless can save you from driving two cars or making two trips or abandoning the idea altogether.

Two-row Tiguan models offer 37.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row, a figure that places it in the top half of the segment. When your hands are full, you can open the Tiguan’s liftgate by gently kicking your foot under the rear bumper. And in a new twist, when you have a large load to remove from the Tiguan, first press a button on the open tailgate and it will automatically close when it senses you (the key) walking away from the vehicle.

Exterior
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan photo

The Tiguan’s distinctive and well-tailored look is sure to be among its bigger draws. Already the longest compact SUV in the segment, the Tiguan’s sharp creases add a taut, freshly pressed authority. Complex LED taillights give the rear view a similarly serious, semi-premium feel. The range-topping Tiguan SEL Premium adds LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, while the available R-Line package gives the Tiguan a sportier look that includes unique, larger wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are finally starting to become more common in the category, in the new Tiguan they’re included as standard equipment as part of the Car-Net App-Connect package. Also included in the Tiguan’s base price are the third-row seat, a 6.5-inch touch screen infotainment system, Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity, a rearview camera, and a 40/20/40 split, sliding, reclining, fold-flat 2nd-row seat.

Optional Equipment

In addition to a range of active safety technologies and traditional upgrades like leather seats and premium audio, Tiguan option highlights include a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, a bird’s-eye parking camera, keyless entry/start, a hands-free liftgate with walk-away close, and a 12.3-inch customizable digital instrument panel. As for VW’s Car-Net infotainment system, stepping up to the subscription-based Security & Service group adds capabilities like remote vehicle lock/unlock, automatic crash notification, and the parent-friendly Family Guardian with features including remote speed and boundary alerts. The range-topping Guide & Inform group includes built-in navigation plus the subscription-based SiriusXM Travel Link that includes traffic and weather info, plus local fuel prices, sports scores and movie information.

Under the Hood
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Engine photo

The Tiguan’s base curb weight of 3,777 pounds qualifies it as the heavyweight champion of the category. As such, its EPA fuel economy ratings are on the low side of the category average, but for most drivers it works out to just an extra gallon or two per month. The added mass also takes a toll on acceleration, even with 221 lb-ft of torque on tap from 1,600 rpm.

The Tiguan’s available 4Motion all-wheel-drive system features a mechanical center differential and electronic differential locks, allowing it to transfer power front to back and side to side. The system also includes a variety of driver-selectable modes, including On-Road, Snow, Off-Road and Custom Off-Road. Within On-Road mode are four additional settings: Normal, Sport, Eco and Custom. Combined with 7.9 inches of ground clearance, a 4Motion-equipped Tiguan should deliver as much foul-weather and off-road capability and confidence as most anything in the segment.

2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
8-speed automatic transmission
184 horsepower @ 4,400-6,000 rpm
221 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/27 mpg (front-wheel drive), 21/27 mpg (all-wheel drive)
Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds

The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $26,245 and tops out at $39,945 with all the bells and whistles. While the big new warranty will decrease ownership costs for some and likely increase resale values, it’s unlikely the new Tiguan’s overall cost of ownership will match those of the segment’s proven value leaders. So, generally speaking, it’s likely you’ll pay more to drive a Tiguan than you would a comparably equipped Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, for instance. But spending a little more for the vehicle you prefer is sometimes the smart choice.

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