The 2018 model year is going to be an important one for Volkswagen as it launches a pair of crossovers into highly competitive segments. After testing the mid-size Atlas crossover in August, we were able to get some seat time in the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan. The first-gen Tiguan – which interestingly will live on as the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Limited – launched in 2008, and while it was a sporty option in the segment, it was undersized with lackluster fuel economy. The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is still classified as a compact crossover, but it has grown in every dimension to be roomier and offer a third-row seat. Sales of the all-new Tiguan commenced in July, and we just recently spent some quality time in VW’s latest crossover during a 1,000-mile family road trip.
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Exterior:
There are no surprises when it comes to the styling of the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan as it carries over many of the same cues as the Atlas, Passat and Golf. The new Tiguan isn’t going to win any beauty contests with the Mazda CX-5, but it is far better looking than its predecessor. The big headlights and chrome, two-bar grille give this crossover a more rugged face, while the sharp crease running down the side and an angled D-pillar add some athletic definition. The rear of the Tiguan reveals some sharp, LED taillights, but don’t be fooled by those chrome “exhaust finishers” – the exhaust outlets actually dump out on each side just behind the fascia. Across the Tiguan lineup, there are several wheel options including 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels, but this tester showed that the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan looks good even with the smaller 17-inch wheels.
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Interior:
Compared to the first-gen version, the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is 10.6 inches and 1.2 inches wider, which opens up a lot of room for passenger and cargo space. Overall passenger volume jumps from 95.4 cubic feet up to 123.9 cubic feet, while the new Tiguan offers 65.7 cubic feet (73.5 cubic feet on the two-row models) compared to 56.1 on the old Tiguan; there is 12 cubic feet behind the third row and 33 cubic feet with the third row stowed. If you have a couple kids, the three-row, seven-passenger Tiguan is the perfect choice for families who don’t really need the added price or size of a larger mid-size CUV.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the new Tiguan is the third-row rear seat, which is standard on front-drive models and optional on all-wheel drive. Like its Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander rivals, the third row of the Tiguan is extremely tight for adults but comes in very handy when hauling around kids and their car seats/booster seats. Just like the exterior, the cabin of the Tiguan has a distinct Volkswagen look and feel to it, but this crossover does add some much-needed technology. Starting with the Tiguan SE, this interior features an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen display, and while navigation was not included in this trim, Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto are both standard allowing for turn-by-turn navigation functions. Another nifty cabin tech feature offered on the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is the Digital Cockpit, which trickles down a reconfigurable digital gauge cluster from Audi. This tester didn’t have the cool Digital Cockpit, but it did have the optional $1,200 panoramic sunroof with ambient lighting.
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Powertrain:
To ensure that the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is competitive right out of the gate, Volkswagen even overhauled the powertrain with an updated version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected EA888 four-cylinder engine and an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. Power output is rated at 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, which is a decrease of 16 hp and an increase of 14 lb-ft, but the big payoff comes with improved efficiency. The new Tiguan has EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway**, and while this is a decent improvement over the outgoing model, it is still way off the mark of the class-leading Honda CR-V. The good news, though, is that buyers will be able to save a little more at the pump since, unlike the previous Tiguan, VW no longer recommends premium gas for this crossover. To maximize fuel economy, the 2018 Tiguan comes with start/stop technology as standard equipment.
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan definitely has the looks and stature of a bigger SUV, but this crossover still drives like a Golf. Even though the added size means that the front-drive Tiguan is about 300 pounds heavier than the previous design, it still feels nimble on the road. Steering input feels sharper than the outgoing Tiguan giving the crossover great turn in and handling, but acceleration isn’t as sudden as the smaller Tiguan. The bottom line is that the 2018 Tiguan received all of the styling, tech and interior upgrades it needed without losing any of its personality. The only other downfall of the new Tiguan is that the tow rating has dropped to 1,500 pounds (down from 2,200 pounds), but this is still highly competitive for the segment.
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Safety:
Due to the recent launch of the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, this crossover has yet to be tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. When these safety ratings do come out, though, expect favorable results since it rides on VW’s widely used MQB architecture. This Tiguan SE tester also came standard with safety features such as Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert.
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Overall:
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan might have the goofiest name of any compact crossover, but it’s a serious contender in this market. With its bigger interior, available third-row seating and modern cabin tech, this Tiguan is ready for the challenge. Despite the growth in size, the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan has an MSRP of $25,345*, which is only $350 more than the 2017 model. In SEL trim with the optional panoramic sunroof, this particular example had an as-tested price of $31,180.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Volkswagen dealership and test drive the bigger and better 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.