The Volkswagen Tiguan is sometimes a forgotten entry in the compact crossover segment, but it’s worthy to be put on your shopping list. It competes against popular Japanese rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, and Mazda CX-5. It’s a tall compact crossover that stretches toward midsize in interior space, and is well-equipped for its price. It’s ready for the daily commute, or the weekend ski trip.
The Volkswagen Tiguan has been completely redesigned for 2018, and grows in size for its second generation. Cargo capacity improves over the previous model.
Features & Options
The 2018 Tiguan S 4Motion ($27,495) comes standard with rugged fabric upholstery, rearview camera, USB port, Bluetooth capability, 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and VW’s telematics service. It also features automatic headlights, heated mirrors, roof rails, and a six-speaker sound system.
This was a new, pre-production press vehicle from Volkswagen and the only option listed was the Driver Assistance package. It included forward collision warning with emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring.
Our Habanero Orange tester seemed ready for Halloween with its contrasting, sharp-looking Titan Black fabric upholstery. The Germans know how to keep the people’s wagon simple, clean, and functional. The Tiguan’s interior is ready to haul folks around for the commute or better yet, the weekend trip to the ski slopes.
There’s plenty of room inside for taller passengers and the seats are firm and supportive, but could use a bit more padding. The Tiguan S comes with a six-speaker stereo, good for listening to sports talk on 104.3 The Fan here in Denver. Unfortunately, it lacks in sound quality for music.
In the rear, there’s exceptional legroom especially with the sliding rear seat pushed back. The Tiguan may be larger than before, although three adults in the rear seat will still be a squeeze. There’s 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats down, and the rear liftgate is nice and wide for loading extra large items. Maximum cargo carrying ability is still less than some rivals.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
All Volkswagen Tiguan models come powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI four-cylinder engine, coupled with an eight-speed automatic. It develops 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft. of torque. The compact SUV returns an EPA estimated 23 combined mpg with a 21/27 city/highway rating. That’s less than the competition and the rating seems low to us considering it’s a 2.0-liter engine. We got around 22 mpg, which isn’t too bad considering how hard we drove it at altitude.
We pushed the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine hard this week as we traveled into the mountains west of Denver. It’s the ideal place to test any vehicle, and this small SUV was no exception. Without the turbo, this vehicle would be less than ideal for mountain commutes, but when the air gets thin, the Tiguan has enough power to climb the hills without issue.
You will find it has more power at lower revs when accelerating from a stop, but it can get a little out of breath at higher revs. We don’t anticipate this will be an issue for daily commuting, however. The 8-speed automatic is smooth and a welcome relief from the continuously variable transmissions that many small crossovers get. The downside is it doesn’t get the mileage of a CVT gearbox.
In the city, the Tiguan is a good commuter vehicle and it scoots around slower traffic with ease. Its smaller size lets you park in tighter spots and you won’t have a problem seeing other drivers when you are navigating city streets. The Tiguan has a higher profile and bigger windows than other small crossovers, making it easy to see out the back and sides.On the highway, the Tiguan’s ride is easy, the handling competent, and it feels softer than the outgoing model.
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan S 4Motion offers affordably-priced convenience in a compact crossover that, overall, offers a quiet, comfortable ride. If you live in a cold climate, the 4Motion all-wheel drive will get you through the ice and snow this winter without an issue.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy