2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Review: Bigger is better, less is more

    Volkswagen’s little Tiguan has grown up fairly a bit for its second era. The brand new Tiguan has gone from a compact and cute alternative for younger SUV customers to being a stable, spacious choice for small households elevating the following era of younger drivers. Packing extra facilities and extra security tech, the Tiguan is healthier than ever earlier than in some ways, but it surely’s not excellent.

    In rising bigger, the Tiguan can also be a bit softer. Its efficiency is not as sharp because it was once. Are the consolation enhancements price these efficiency tradeoffs?

    Now with three rows

    The brand new 2018 Tiguan is about 11 inches longer than its predecessor, and each wider and taller, too. This opens up a whole lot of additional elbow room for all passengers and makes manner for a newly obtainable third row, giving compact SUV patrons seating for seven.

    Entrance-wheel drive fashions come normal with three rows. Tiguans with 4Motion all-wheel drive begin with simply two rows, however will be upgraded to seven-passenger functionality via a $500 third-row seating package deal. That way-back row might be too tight for many adults — I actually did not get pleasure from cramming again there to check it out — however small youngsters ought to match simply wonderful.

    With each the second and third rows folded flat, the Tiguan boasts a spacious 65.7 cubic ft of cargo house, and an non-obligatory kick-to-open energy liftgate is useful when your arms are full. In the event you worth cargo room greater than individuals room, choosing a mannequin with out the third row bumps your whole cargo capability as much as 73.5 cubic ft, a full 30 p.c greater than the outdated Tiguan.

    Barely underpowered efficiency

    The 2018 Tiguan makes use of a brand new model of VW’s 2.Zero-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. That is 16 fewer horsepower than the outgoing mannequin, although an additional 14 pound-feet than earlier than. This engine has a flatter general torque curve than VW’s older 2.Zero-liter powerplant, which helps with responsiveness, particularly mid-range. However the bigger Tiguan additionally has to lug round 373 extra kilos of curb weight than the outgoing mannequin, so regardless of having extra torque than earlier than, it is principally a wash.

    The brand new 2.0T offers enough energy for around-town driving and freeway cruising, however this new Tiggy can really feel a bit underpowered when climbing steep hills or passing on the interstate. And that is simply with one chubby journalist within the driver’s seat, I think about it’s going to really feel extra sluggish loaded up with six or seven souls onboard.

    An eight-speed computerized gearbox is the one transmission obtainable. It incorporates a Sport setting and a guide shift choice, however no paddles on the steering wheel. The transmission tuning actually emphasizes economic system over responsiveness, however the shifts are clean. Given the Tiguan’s major mission of city consolation responsibility, the transmission feels completely matched to the turbo engine.

    The bigger Tiguan steps down in energy and payload, however solely beneficial properties a number of MPG for the difficulty.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    Sadly, the lower in energy leads to decrease towing capability and payload rankings. The 2018 Tiguan is barely rated to tow 1,500 kilos, a 700-pound drop, and general payload capability is decreased by 225 kilos, to 970.

    If there’s a silver lining to the ability and functionality cuts, it is that the Tiguan is a hair extra gas environment friendly. My front-wheel drive instance is nice for an EPA-estimated 22 mpg metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 24 mpg mixed. That is a 1-2-mpg achieve throughout the board. I averaged round 25.7 mpg throughout my testing. 4Motion all-wheel drive fashions take a slight gas economic system hit, dropping again all the way down to 21 metropolis and 23 mixed mpg.

    The powerplant is a bit softer and so is the chassis. There’s extra physique motion when cornering, much less suggestions via the wheel and an general dulling of responsiveness when initiating a flip. The brakes really feel a bit squishy and imprecise, however did a decent job hauling the heavier Tiguan to a cease in an emergency. Nevertheless, the journey is smoother, quieter and way more comfy, all positives for these searching for a family-friendly errand machine. The suspension is healthier at absorbing jolts from potholes and people annoying metal highway plates. This extra comfy, compliant journey is not essentially a foul factor, but it surely does make this new Tiggy really feel much less playful.

    2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL

    The bigger Tiggy is a bit softer across the mid-section, however the brand new concentrate on quietness and luxury is not essentially a foul factor.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    Wonderful dashboard tech

    The Tiguan’s cabin tech and infotainment facilities see a big enchancment for this era.

    VW’s newest Automotive-Web App-Join tech is normal throughout the lineup, with both a 6.5-inch touchscreen for S fashions or a bigger Eight-inch show for SE or larger trim ranges. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink are normal applied sciences, however even with out them the onboard software program is tremendous simple to make use of. My high SEL trim ranges additionally add navigation to the tech get together.

    On the tippy-top SEL Premium trim degree, the Tiguan can also be beneficial properties VW’s Digital Cockpit, a 12.Three-inch display screen that serves because the instrument cluster, displaying conventional driving data — together with speedometer and tachometer gauges — in addition to extra superior capabilities reminiscent of a dwell navigation map. I particularly like this function as a result of it permits me to manage a lot of the infotainment with out trying away from the highway or taking my arms off of the steering wheel. In the event you’re a techie a Tiguan, take into account Digital Cockpit the automobile’s killer app.

    2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL

    Techie Tiguan patrons will need to go for the Audi-esque Digital Cockpit improve.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    The cherry on high of this nice tech package deal is the sweet-sounding Fender audio system. The 9-speaker, 480-watt rig has a barely “Beats Audio” bass-heavy character by default, however produces clear and distortion-free audio even at family-unfriendly volumes and sounds good with quite a lot of music and content material varieties.

    Retaining the household protected

    The newer platform of this second-gen Tiguan allows a degree of driver help tech that the earlier Tiguan may solely dream of.

    Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts and pre-collision auto-brake help with pedestrian detection assist stop fender benders. These options are normal on the SE trim degree or higher, or a part of an $850 Driver Help package deal for the bottom S mannequin. Submit-collision braking retains a foul day from getting worse by serving to to stop extra collisions after an impression and is normal throughout the board.

    Stepping as much as an SEL mannequin grants homeowners adaptive cruise management that works all the best way all the way down to cease and go visitors, whereas SEL Premium fashions achieve lane holding steering help tech, lively help for the blind-spot and rear cross-traffic programs and computerized excessive beam headlamps. In parking tons, the highest mannequin additionally showcases a cool multi-camera Space View system that provides 360-degree visibility across the SUV.

    How I might spec it

    The larger, extra cuddly 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan begins at $24,595 for the bottom S trim with front-wheel drive. Nevertheless, the Tiguan’s finest stability of worth and options comes on the higher SEL ($31,090) trim degree. This mannequin rolls in the entire driver help options younger household may ask for, the perfect model of VW’s dashboard tech and makes normal an enormous panoramic sunroof that makes spacious cabin really feel much more open.

    2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL

    The SEL trim degree is the candy spot within the lineup, however the SEL Premium mannequin boasts a number of tempting cabin tech upgrades.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    The SEL Premium ($36,250) trim examined right here provides the Digital Cockpit tech — which I completely cherished utilizing for its potential to simplify the entire dashboard tech all the way down to primary steering wheel controls — nicer leather-based trim and LED headlamps. In the event you’ve acquired the additional dough to spend, the SEL Premium is good, however I feel the SEL is the candy spot.

    Subsequent, there’s the selection of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive ($1,300). I might go entrance drive except you reside an an space that will get a lot snow or rain. Add $900 for vacation spot expenses to succeed in a advisable $31,990 for the SEL FWD. (For comparability, my SEL Premium FWD tester stickers for $37,150.)

    Crossover competitors

    The brand new Tiguan sits in an fascinating place between lessons. On one hand, it is greater and extra spacious than most of its conventional competitors — Honda’s CR-V, the redesigned Toyota RAV4, Mazda’s CX-5 and the like — and boasts tech that is among the many finest on this class. Plus, it is one of many solely autos in its phase with three rows.

    However however, if three-row functionality is a must have, the Tiguan may not be your finest wager. Pricing overlaps with extra spacious autos like Mazda’s CX-9, Toyota’s Highlander and VW’s personal Atlas.

    The Tiguan could also be a tricky promote for households who actually need seating for seven. But when it is a well-rounded compact SUV you search, the Tiguan would possibly simply be the ticket.

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