2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Is All Grown Up

(Sigh) They grow up so fast. I am talking about the 2018 Tiguan crossover from Volkswagen and the release of the all-new second-generation model. It has grown more than 10 inches for North America and now boasts a third-row seat and includes all of the latest technology.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan/Images courtesy Volkswagen

Delivered on the new MQB architecture that underpins the larger Atlas sport ute, the new Tiguan has become quite the performer. Our week behind the wheel revealed this to be a worthy competitor in the crowded compact crossover segment and Volkswagen has truly done its homework to deliver a very good vehicle. And not only is there more interior and cargo space but the automaker has upgraded the powertrain as well for 2018 – overall a job very well done.

The larger footprint of the new cute ute offers a very stable and solid platform without giving up much in the way of urban maneuverability. We found the new Tiguan to be agile and adept and one of the best on-road rides in this segment of late. As much as we like the new Atlas, we really enjoy this next-gen Tiguan. It is offered in S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium trim levels with the three rows of seating standard in all front-wheel-drive models. With the 4Motion AWD the third row is optional. One engine powers the new Tiguan, an updated EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder delivering 184hp and 221 lb. ft. of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic shifting.

Not only is the new chassis solid, but it is also very safe. VW delivers its intelligent crash response system that automatically shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights in the event of a crash and the automatic post-collision braking system, standard on all models, applies the brakes automatically following the detection of an accident. In addition, Volkswagen offers such driver-assistance technologies as forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane assist, front and rear park distance control with maneuver braking, high beam control, and overhead view camera.

Our SEL Premium tester arrived with 4Motion all-wheel drive with Active Control that allows drivers to tailor vehicle settings to better match driving conditions. There are four settings of on-road, snow, off-road, and custom off-road. A rotary dial in the center console allows drivers to access these settings quickly. A push of the dial brings pop-up items to the menu display to allow for finer tuning. Drivers can also choose from Normal, Sport, Eco, and Custom on-road modes. While the vehicle arrived set to Eco we found this to be quite dull and most of our week was spent in sport mode for our suburban trekking.

The styling of the new Tiguan features Volkswagen’s modern corporate look. Designers have addressed nearly every inch of the vehicle inside and out. Seating is comfortable and supportive offering plenty of room. Second row bench seating can be split 40/20/40 and can recline, fold, and slide up to seven inches fore and aft. That new third-row seat we mentioned, well, despite the new Tiguan getting more length the back row seating is very tight and is mainly a competitive point that will probably not see much use from most folks. New technologies inside include being able to shift map view to the driver’s instrument display, and the upgraded Fender premium audio system was a blast to crank up.

Pricing for the new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan begins at $24,595 for the base S model with FWD. Our loaded SEL Premium tester with 4Motion arrived with a final window sticker of $39,245. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. The third-row seat is a $500 add-on for Tiguan models with 4Motion.

We really enjoyed our week with this vehicle. Once I got the drive mode off of Eco I never was at a lack for acceleration, and I was especially impressed with the new chassis offering greater ride control, improved handling, and good balance. Folding the rear seats offered plenty of cargo space, and while the new styling is not revolutionary by any means this is an attractive compact crossover. The competition in this segment is so tough it is killing off car sales, but Volkswagen has done a very good job with the enhancements made to this next-generation Tiguan and should prove to do very well for them.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.