For years Volkswagen has been trying to increase its marketshare in the United States. There have been attempts, like the soon to be replaced Jetta and even the more American Passat. Most recently VW released its most significant effort with the three-row Atlas SUV and now it’s even Americanized the 2018 Tiguan. The Tiguan competes in one of the most competitive segments and to help it compete with rivals, like the CR-V and RAV4, VW made it bigger, added a third row and threw in the latest tech gadgets.
At 185.1-inches long, the 2018 Tiguan is almost a foot longer than the last-generation Tiguan, which is now sold as the Tiguan Limited. It’s also about an inch and half longer than the Toyota RAV4 and almost five inches longer than the Honda CR-V. What does this mean? Well VW clearly knows that Americans like big, spacious cars, so it hopes that the added interior space will help win over buyers more than the last Tiguan. Plus there’s now an optional third row seat that adds two extra seats, something that neither the CR-V or RAV4 offer.
The 2018 VW Tiguan is not only bigger, but its styling with its squared off front fascia has a cleaner design than some of its rivals. There are also more creases that give the exterior a more grown up look. Inside the design is clean and the materials feel a step or two above the last Tiguan. There dashboard is dominated by an 8-inch glass touchscreen that provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. In front of the driver, there’s the optional Digital Cockpit and above your heads the panoramic sunroof helps the bigger interior feel even more open.
Under the hood the 2018 Tiguan is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that generates 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft. of torque that’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional with four driving modes: Snow, On-Road, Off-Road and Off-Road Custom. On paper the Tiguan’s four-cylinder looks adequate compared to its rivals, but if you’re hoping for a more spirited driving experience, you’ll be disappointed here. The four-cylinder left us wanting more. Try to push it hard from a stop and the Tiguan leaves you just feeling meh.
The 2.0L has some turbo lag and the eight-speed automatic is slow to respond. It’s clear that the 2018 Tiguan is more comfortable just taking it slow and steady. Plus lets be clear, most Tiguan buyers will never push the it hard. Acceleration issues aside, there’s also another problem, the 2018 Tiguan is not as efficient as its rivals. With a 22/27 mpg rating, the Tiguan falls short compared to the Honda CR-V at 28/34 mpg and the Toyota RAV4 at 23/30 mpg.
So the question remains, is the new bigger Tiguan better than its predecessor? While the Tiguan has lost some of the character of the first generation, the improvements to the interior space and the excellent MQB platform underneath are significant. Will it win over buyers? Clearly, since in March 2018, the Tiguan outsold every other model in the VW family.
Pricing for the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $24,595.