Volkswagen’s compact crossover, the Tiguan, grows a bit longer for 2018 as it enters its second generation, with that extra length designed to accommodate a third-row seat.
The 2018 Tiguan is 10.7 inches longer than the previous model, and has 57 percent more cargo space. It is 185.2 inches long, and has a wheelbase of 109.9 inches.
There is flexible seating for up to seven with a sliding second-row seat and the two-passenger third-row seat, which is standard on front-drive models. It’s optional on all-wheel-drive versions for an additional $500.
All models are powered by an updated version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline engine, producing 184 horsepower and 221 foot-pounds of torque. It’s connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Prices begin at $25,345 (plus $900 freight) for the base S front-wheel-drive model. An all-wheel-drive version of the same model begins at $26,645, featuring VW’s 4Motion. The 4Motion system is available at all trim levels for an additional $1,300.
Other trim levels are the SE ($29,090, front drive; $30,380, 4Motion); SEL ($32,550, front drive; $33,850, 4Motion); and SEL Premium ($36,250, front-drive; $37,550, 4Motion).
In addition, the R-Line performance package, offering a sporty exterior and interior upgrades, will be available on the SEL for $1,795 (also includes front and rear ParkPilot) and SEL Premium for $1,495.
VW’s 4Motion with Active Control has four selectable driving modes designed for varied road and trail situations.
Also offered are driver-assistance technologies such as Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Assist.
A panoramic sunroof and power tailgate are on a long list of standard or available features. The sunroof is standard on SEL and SEL Premium models, but was a $1,200 option that also included ambient interior lighting on our SE test vehicle.
The Tiguan also offers active and passive safety systems such as Automatic Post-Collision Braking.
S models come with such standard features as 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights; LED taillights; rearview camera; heated side mirrors; black roof rails; and trailer-hitch preparation – although the vehicle can tow trailers weighing up to only 1,500 pounds.
Cloth seating with an upscale Rhombus pattern is standard on the S, as well, along with a 40/20/40 split second row seat that slides and reclines, and can fold completely flat, using either the levers on the seatbacks or a quick-fold mechanism in the cargo area.
Other standard interior features include a 6.5-inch Composition Color touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity; one USB port; six speakers; and Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect for compatible devices, enabling integration with the three major smartphone platforms: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.
Our tester, the SE model, has most of the S features, along with an upgraded eight-inch Composition Media infotainment system with satellite radio, voice control and two additional USB ports; VW Car-Net Security & Service; keyless access with pushbutton start; automatic dual-zone climate control; rearview camera with dynamic guidelines; multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel; leather gear shift knob; leatherette seating surfaces; Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert.
Moving up to the SEL model brings additional advanced driver-assistance technologies, along with 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, an eight-inch Discover Media infotainment system with navigation; power liftgate; remote start; silver roof rails; the panoramic sunroof with ambient lighting; and Adaptive Cruise Control, which VW says has been upgraded for use in stop-and-go traffic.
Top-end SEL Premium models get a leather interior, along with 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED headlights with Adaptive Front-lighting System; LED daytime running lights; rain-sensing wipers; power-folding door mirrors with puddle lights; hands-free Easy Open and Easy Close power liftgate; ambient lighting; heated steering wheel; and a cargo cover.
Driver-assistance features on the SEL Premium include Lane Departure Warning with Lane Assist, automatic high-beam control, front and rear Park Distance Control (ParkPilot), and the Overhead View Camera system.
SEL Premium models also come with a Fender premium audio system and a 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit display, which is driver-configurable.
Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist) and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert are available on the base S model for an additional $850.
The Tiguan and its larger sibling, the all-new Atlas midsize crossover, also come with the best transferable manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper warranty offered on any SUVs in the U.S., Volkswagen says. It’s a six-year/72,000-mile (whichever comes first) new-car warranty – not just powertrain coverage, like most extended warranties.
In addition, this warranty will be transferable to subsequent owners, which could help significantly with resale or trade-in values before the warranty expires.
Production of the Tiguan was moved to North America for the 2018 model. It’s being assembled at the VW plant site in Puebla, Mexico. The new Atlas is already in production at Volkswagen’s only U.S. plant, in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The Tiguan is one of VW's best-selling vehicles, especially in the U.S. market. It's among a growing list of compact crossovers that are being heartily embraced by consumers here and abroad. Such compact SUVs are popular because of their economy and versatility.
Volkswagen added the third row to the Tiguan to compete against some other popular compact crossovers that also have that option, including the newest generation of the Nissan Rogue.
Some in this class have eliminated the third-row option, however, including the Toyota RAV4. There has never been a third-row option in the similar-sized Honda CR-V, which is now the nation’s top-selling vehicle. Ford does not offer a third row in the Escape, but Mitsubishi sells an Outlander with a third row, and Hyundai has a third row available in the slightly larger Santa Fe.
Volkswagen says that although the Tiguan costs a bit more than its competitors, it’s intended to be more rugged and durable, and to offer a more-exciting driving experience, one of the hallmarks of VW vehicles.
In keeping with its sporty concept, the Tiguan handles better than most of its peers, and the turbo engine provides decent acceleration for a small crossover. The Tiguan’s engine is the same one used in a variety of other VW models, including the Passat, Jetta and Golf.
The 4Motion system operates automatically, with no driver input required, and is intended for bad-weather on-road use or occasional light off-road driving. There is no low-range gearing for serious trail driving, however.
Our SE tester, whose only option was the sunroof/ambient lighting package, had a total sticker price of $30,180, including freight.
Inside, the Tiguan shines. Controls are easy to reach and operate, and gauges are large enough to be read easily.
The middle row is a bit tight for three adults, but it does slide back and forth up to six inches to allow for more legroom.
There is just 12 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row rear seat, but that can be expanded to 33 cubic feet by folding down the seatback. Folding both rear seats down opens up 65.7 cubic feet of space. On all-wheel-drive models, there is 37.6 cubic feet of space behind the second seat, opening up to 73.5 cubic feet with the second seat folded. The front passenger seatback also folds down to allow for carrying longer items.
Safety equipment on all models includes front seat-mounted side air bags and roof-mounted side-curtain bags for both rows. Also included are four-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic stability control and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gchambers3.
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
The package: Compact, five-door, five- or seven-passenger, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline-powered, front- or all-wheel-drive crossover utility vehicle.
Highlights: Volkswagen’s first compact SUV arrived for 2009, and got a complete makeover for 2018, adding length and a third-row seat. It has carlike ride and handling, and a peppy four-cylinder engine.
Negatives: Can get pricey for the class.
Length: 185.1 inches.
Curb weight: 3,777-3,858 pounds.
Engines: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, gasoline, turbocharged.
Horsepower/torque: 184 HP./221 foot-pounds.
Transmissions: Eight-speed automatic.
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Electronic stability control: Standard.
Side air bags: Front seat-mounted; side curtain for both rows.
Cargo volume: Front-drive models with three rows of seats, 12 cubic feet (behind third seat); 33 cubic feet (behind second seat, rear seat folded); 65.7 cubic feet (both rear seats folded); all-wheel-drive models, two seats: 37.6 cubic feet (behind second row); 73.5 cubic feet (second-row seat folded).
Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds.
Major competitors: Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Jeep Compass, Mitsubishi Outlander, Honda CR-V.
Fuel capacity/type: 15.3 gallons/unleaded regular (2WD); 15.9 gallons/unleaded regular (AWD).
EPA fuel economy: 22 mpg city/27 highway/24 combined (2WD); 21/27/23 (AWD).
Base price range: $25,345-$37,550, plus $900 freight.
Price as tested: $30,180, including freight and options (SE model with sunroof).
On the Road rating: 8.7 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.