DENVER, Colorado — In case you haven’t heard it sufficient but, crossover and SUV gross sales have been going gangbusters everywhere in the world, pushed closely by hovering demand within the U.S. Volkswagen has principally needed to watch this feeding frenzy from the sidelines. America has at all times been the uncrackable nut for VW, however with the ageing Touareg being outmoded by the good-looking Atlas and the equally dated first-generation Tiguan being changed for 2018, issues may be on a long-overdue upswing.
Slowly however absolutely, Volkswagen is making up for misplaced time. And for damaged guarantees. VW suffered greater than a flesh wound within the wake of its notorious Dieselgate scandal, however the prescription going ahead is to introduce a number of new steel to win again prospects. “We’re working to regain our prospects’ belief and rebuild the model,” mentioned VW product and expertise supervisor Mark Gillies. “New autos are the lifeblood to this enterprise.”
We headed to Colorado for the launch of the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, which ought to make VW into an even bigger participant within the crucial mid-size SUV house, peeling prospects away from stalwarts just like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape.
The 2018 Tiguan rides on the identical MQB structure because the Golf and Atlas, sharing with these autos VW’s polished experience in packaging. Though Europe will get each short- and long-wheelbase variations of the Tiguan, solely the latter shall be on provide right here within the States. Which means 10.6 inches of extra size in comparison with the first-gen Tiguan, in addition to 58 p.c extra cargo capability on two-row fashions. Entrance-wheel drive fashions come normal with a 3rd row of seating, whereas all-wheel-drive fashions can add it as a stand-alone $500 choice on any trim stage.
Unsurprisingly, the third row is appropriate just for youngsters, however an average-sized grownup might handle for brief rides in a pinch, which is greater than might be mentioned for the soar seats within the Nissan Rogue. The place the Tiguan shines is in how simply the second row folds down and slides ahead, revealing a beneficiant opening for rear-seat passengers. By way of general measurement, the Tiguan is barely bigger than most of its key opponents, however nonetheless nicely shy of a lot bigger Atlas.
Though the Tiguan shares its underpinnings with the Golf, dynamically, they really feel extra like distant cousins than shut siblings. That begins with the Tiguan’s new 2.Zero-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the only real engine for U.S. fashions. Mated to an eight-speed computerized, the 184-hp “B-cycle” engine makes use of a modified Miller combustion cycle for improved effectivity, yielding 35 lb-ft extra torque but 14 fewer hp than the outgoing 2.0T.
The brand new engine is sluggish off the road as we climb from Denver up into the encompassing mountains, snaking by means of twisting ribbons of pavement and tough filth roads aboard a front-wheel-drive Tiguan with three rows. Peak 221 lb-ft torque is available in early at 1,600 rpm and stays completely flat till Three,940 rpm, however the lengthy pedal journey means the Tiguan is at all times a step or two behind the place you anticipate it. Even within the meat of the rev vary, from Four,400 rpm to six,000, the place the brand new EA888 four-cylinder makes max hp, the engine feels coarse and resistant. It doesn’t assist that the eight-speed computerized transmission is often lazy to downshift, though this may be mitigated by switching the shift lever into Sport.
An enormous caveat is that our whole route was at altitudes starting from 5,100 toes to roughly Eight,000 toes. Little doubt the skinny air was performed a component in all that huffing and puffing, even with a turbocharger on board. Nonetheless, once we beforehand drove a pre-production Passat with this engine, it dissatisfied in comparison with the pleasantly zippy 1.Eight-liter turbo it replaces. Volkswagen can even tag within the B-cycle 2.Zero-liter to interchange the 1.8T within the Beetle, in addition to the next-generation Jetta.
On the plus facet, the Tiguan rides like a dream. It tracks confidently down the freeway. Potholes and enlargement joints are of little concern to the MQB-platformed household hauler, whereas bumpy filth roads don’t transmit a lot in the way in which of nasty vibrations into the cabin. Germany engineered the Tiguan to fulfill People’ choice for simple driving, and in that respect it’s spot-on. The brakes, too, aren’t overly grabby and intuitive to modulate.
Steering really feel and dealing with stands out as the victims of this deal with consolation — not one of the Golf’s enjoyable and even the Atlas’ poised functionality come by means of. There’s a reasonably large lifeless spot on-center, and though the steering does construct weight because it approaches lock, it doesn’t acquire a lot of something in the way in which of suggestions. In all-wheel-drive fashions with the Lively Management rotary drive choose knob, you possibly can customise the steering or powertrain to your liking, however even these modes provide simply minor enhancements.
The Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, and Hyundai Tucson could also be extra rewarding to drive, however the Tiguan may very well be on prime on the subject of the inside. The redesigned cabin can be a giant leap ahead, expressing clear and intuitive design that may age nicely. Beginning with the second-tier SE mannequin (S is the bottom), VW’s new MIB II infotainment takes heart stage. Built-in easily into the middle stack, the Eight-inch show boasts clear and vivid graphics in addition to Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (normal on all fashions). The seats are supportive and never overly bolstered, visibility throughout is top-notch, and the a number of USB ports will preserve the entire household charged up. Total supplies are good high quality. We additionally observed little or no street or wind noise on our many freeway miles.
Base Tiguan S fashions begin at $26,245 with front-wheel drive, coming normal with 17-inch aluminum wheels, LED taillights, a rear digicam, and a 6.5-inch show display screen. The majority of gross sales within the phase occur at proper round $30,000, so the volume-seller is bound to be the SE, which is available in at $29,980. Most prospects shall be more than pleased with the keyless entry, bigger Eight-inch show, artificial faux-leather inside with heated entrance seats, an eight-way energy driver’s seat, dual-zone local weather management, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Spring for the $33,450 SEL to get larger 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof (often $1,200 on S or SE trims), navigation, adaptive cruise management with Cease & Go, and distant begin.
Atop the heap is the $37,150 SEL Premium. That’s a number of scratch, nevertheless it comes positively loaded to the gills with 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, leather-based seats and trim, Fender audio, a hands-free tailgate, a 360-degree digicam, park help, and VW’s model of Audi’s snazzy digital cockpit. It appears considerably of an oversight to have the digital cockpit instrument show solely accessible at such a excessive stage, when it looks as if the form of factor folks would simply pay for if the SEL trim had been only a bit dearer. That mentioned, the a $850 Driver Help bundle for lesser fashions consists of computerized emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert with autonomous braking, lane-keep help, the 360-degree digicam, adaptive cruise, and parking sensors with rear autonomous braking. In a while within the mannequin 12 months, the Tiguan will get an R-Line look bundle for $1,795 on SEL and $1,495 on SEL Premium trims.
Inbuilt Mexico particularly for the U.S., the brand new Tiguan is undoubtedly a step in a extra aggressive path for VW, even when it’s not a pleasure to drive. In actual fact, in the event you just like the final Tiguan a lot, you possibly can nonetheless purchase it — it’ll stay at sellers for the foreseeable future because the Tiguan Restricted. VW says that it desires to unfold itself throughout SUV segments as a lot as doable and demand for smaller-sized fashions is excessive sufficient to justify conserving the ol’ lady round. Given how a lot larger the 2018 Tiguan is, VW doesn’t anticipate a lot cannibalization by the Restricted.
Whereas we nonetheless must see how this Tiguan’s engine fares at altitudes nearer to sea stage, till then, it’s protected to say Volkswagen must be on the buying listing if consolation, utility, and many accessible tech are priorities. Who is aware of, possibly this family-friendly crossover is the nutcracker Volkswagen has been lengthy wanted.
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Specs
|ON SALE||Late Summer time 2017|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-Four/184 hp @ Four,400-6,000 rpm, 221 lb-ft @ 1,600-Three,940 rpm|
|LAYOUT||Four-door, 5/7-passenger, front-engine, FWD/AWD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||21-22/27 mpg (metropolis/hwy)|
|L x W x H||185.1 x 72.Four x 65.Three in|
|Zero-60 MPH||Eight.2 sec|