All-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan improves its game

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2018-Volkswagen-TiguanThe revamp of Volkswagens popular Tiguan compact SUV has been long overdue, and happy to report all is extremely good!

For 2018, the all-new 2018 Tiguan is both large and wider than its predecessor. Built on VW’s award winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the Tiguan now offers increased interior space and 58 per cent more cargo space in the five-seat model. The increased size of the Tiguan even allows for an optional third-row seat that can be added on all trim levels. The exterior look is conservative and smart, rather than “look at me flashy.” However, it is an enduring look that will stand the test of time and fashion. It is also supremely aerodynamic with a claimed best in class an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.337. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard, and nicely fill the wheel arches for a low down hunkered stance.

Under the hood is a revised 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct-injection TSI four-cylinder engine, now mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. There is slightly less horsepower this time around (184 versus 200) but more torque with full 184 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and 221 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,600 to 4,300 rpm.

For Canada, the Tiguan arrives in three trim levels: the base Trendline (front-wheel drive), Comfortline and Highline which offer as standard “4Motion” all-wheel drive with economy, snow and off-road driving modes. Standard equipment across the lineup includes LED daytime running lights and taillights, Bluetooth phone connectivity, “App-Connect” smartphone integration (supporting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink), automatic headlights, air conditioning (automatic climate control in Comfortline and Highline trim), 18-inch wheels on Highline models, and a six-speaker audio/infotainment system with colour touchscreen display. We tested a top Highline model (Base MRSP at $39,175) in a fetching shade of Habanero Orange metallic paint that added: a 480-watt Fender premium audio system with 12 speakers, leather upholstery heated steering wheel, a configurable digital instrument cluster, navigation system, driver’s seat memory, ambient lighting power liftgate, and park distance control options on our tester included the third row seat package ($750) plus the an optional Driver’s Assistance Package ($1,470) adding adaptive cruise control, around-view camera, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam control and remote start. Total price came to $41,395 plus freight ($1,795) and Air Conditioning Excise Tax ($100).

Interior wise, the Tiguan features a clean, minimalist, neat look will always satisfy the more discerning of drivers with high quality fabrics, plastics and fittings. A generous 38 cubic feet of cargo space is available behind the rear seats, if you forgo the minuscule third-row seats. Note the optional third row seat is, what Volkswagens calls “5 + 2,” meaning it’s really tiny, and best for small kids, but you can cram two adults in there for very short trips.

On the road, the Tiguan’s “active control,” allows drivers to select specific drive modes according to driving conditions, via a simple rotary knob and button interface. The knob offers four settings: On-road, Snow, Off-road, and Custom Off-road. A press of the button triggers the driving profile selection, offering a choice of Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual drive modes. Each mode alters the engine, transmission, steering, and parameters. As usual the Tiguan offers great handling and on road manners. Acceleration is good, although the Tiguan does not have a lot of grunt to spare with a full load of five people. Despite that, the Tiguan offer a comfortable relaxing ride and no drama. It steers well and is a pleasure to drive. As for fuel economy, 4Motion-equipped models are rated at 11.3 L/100 kilometres in city driving, 8.8 L/100 km on the highway and 10.2 L/100 km combined — using regular unleaded gasoline. Automatic engine stop-start system, standard across the range, helps with fuel economy, especially in crowded, congested urban and city areas. Towing capacity is a modest 680 kg. To sum up, the Tiguan offers impressive ride and handling, clean styling and wonderfully neat and well featured interior. Highly recommended. A top buy in this sector.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan: Priced from $28,925 Price as tested $41,395 plus freight PDI and AC Tax.