Volkswagen has taken several steps recently to move strongly into the growing family SUV marketplace. First, the Atlas mid-size SUV puts VW in competition for larger vehicles, and now they have enlarged the compact Tiguan crossover to include three rows of seating and several new family-friendly features.
The original Tiguan arrived 10 years ago as a smaller compact crossover. The second generation will be 11 inches longer and generally larger in every dimension. The new model offers 58 percent more cargo and seating volume than the outgoing Tiguan. That's up to 73.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Plus, for the first time the Tiguan offers third-row seating to carry up to seven passengers.
The 2018 Tiguan is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine good for 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic. The combination works well to move the Tiguan along, using the extra gears to keep the engine in its power band. Fuel economy is 22 MPG city and 27 MPG highway, and you sacrifice only 1 MPG if you choose the AWD model.
All-wheel-drive is popular in Portland, and the Tiguan can be equipped with VW's respected 4Motion system. 4Motion keeps the vehicle in FWD mode unless it detects wheel slip, and then quickly engages the rear wheels for traction. The AWD Tiguan includes a control for driving modes, and offers a specific Snow mode as well as an off-road mode for dirt or gravel surfaces.
Inside, the Tiguan has a good technology suite at the higher trim levels, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The most basic Tiguan S offers only a traditional car stereo, but the SE and SEL trim levels give you an 8-inch touchscreen interface to the infotainment and navigation systems. A 480-watt Fender sound system is standard in the SEL trim.
As a family vehicle, the Tiguan offers a complete set of safety features, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warning, surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, park distance warning with automatic braking, and automatic high beam control. As an added bonus, the Tiguan comes with a class-leading warranty of 6 years or 72,000 miles, and that warranty is fully transferable if you buy the vehicle pre-owned.
On the road, the Tiguan is comfortable and notably quiet inside. The extra size makes the new Tiguan heavy, which gives the SUV a smooth ride at the expense of acceleration performance. Overall, the effect is that the new Tiguan is a pleasant vehicle to drive. It is well-suited for commuting, getting to the mountains or the beach, and moving your family around.
2018 VW Tiguan
Base price: $26,245
Price as tested: $38,450
Type: Compact SUV
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4 (184 hp, 221 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 22/27
Road noise: Very quiet
Overall length: 185.1 inches
Curb weight: 3,730 to 4,043 pounds
Final assembly: Puebla, Mexico