2018 VW Tiguan: Bigger footprint, less engagement

The Volkswagen Tiguan is all-new for the 2018 model year and is bigger all-around as U.S. consumer interest continues to focus on crossovers. The redesigned Tiguan is 10 inches longer than the current generation and three-row seating is now available. Despite competing in a crammed segment, the Tiguan is expected to be a key player for the brand moving forward. Here’s a sampling of Tiguan reviews.

“On the road, the new car was easygoing and user-friendly. The engine and transmission provided prompt responses when you hit the gas pedal, but don’t expect any breathtaking power. The eight-speed automatic is okay, but it suffers from a few hiccups in stop-and-go traffic. The engine’s stop-start isn’t the smoothest, either, but you can turn it off easily with a button. When you select Sport mode, the accelerator reacts a little faster and the steering firms up just a bit.

Though the Tiguan is enjoyable enough to drive, don’t expect VW GTI levels of playfulness. Unlike the previous version, the new Tiguan is not among the sportiest small SUVs, falling behind its main rivals, the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5.”

— Gabe Shenhar, Consumer Reports

“The key downside to the new Tiguan’s ballooning size is that it loses the previous-generation’s Golf-on-stilts character, which made it one of the more entertaining small crossovers to drive. The new Tiguan is less eager. It rides softly and rolls considerably in corners; even though it shares its basic MQB bones with the fabulous-driving seventh-generation Golf, the combination of the Tiguan’s extra weight versus that car and the relaxed tuning of the primary controls removes a considerable degree of responsiveness from the chassis. The electrically assisted steering rack is overboosted and lacks on-center feel, turn-in is lazy, and the brake pedal is a bit mushy. Volkswagen clearly prioritized quiet comfort over athleticism, and the Tiguan tracks straight down the freeway and features a quiet and plush ride, qualities that will please family-minded shoppers.”

— Joseph Capparella, Car and Driver

“Compact crossovers generally don’t provide much fun when tackling serpentine mountain roads, and the Tiguan isn’t any different. It feels a little more buttoned-down than some of the other soft-roaders, but don’t look for a sporty driving experience here. If your typical commute doesn’t involve multiple twists and turns, you’ll likely enjoy the quiet, comfortable ride. We recommend against larger wheels for city dwellers; the 19-inch wheels on our SEL Premium test car produced a sharp, heavy impact when we ran over sunken manhole covers. The 17-inchers on a Tiguan S model proved much more forgiving in the same circumstances.”

— Cameron Rogers, Edmunds

“The lackluster power delivery is a real shame, because elsewhere, the Tiguan is clearly one of the more engaging vehicles in this class. Sport mode adds more steering effort, but even in Normal, the feel is noticeably more communicative than most in the class. Body roll and vomit-inducing motions are also kept to a minimum, yet the ride is smooth and fuss-free.”

— Zac Estrada, Motor1.com

“On my press drive through the Rocky Mountains outside of Boulder, Colorado, the Tiguan proved to be more of a cruiser than a turner, though I managed to coax some athletic behavior from it when I kept up with a RAV4 traveling at a good clip in front of me on a twisty road. Still, the Tiguan displayed a fair amount of body roll, light-touch steering and a transmission that is eager to upshift, even while climbing mountain passes to 8,500 feet in elevation. Fortunately there is a Sport driving mode that firms up the steering, and the transmission can be shifted manually from the stick to keep the engine at peak power. The Tiguan performs better on the highway and in suburban driving, where the ride is smooth and comfortable. Most buyers won’t mind the lack of sporty dynamics, as the Tiguan toddles along with minimal fuss.

Our designated drive route took us down a six-mile dirt road, a rarity for press events. Switching to Off-road mode lessens the throttle response to mitigate wheelspin and the electronic stability control allows for more fun. While the dirt road was well-maintained and not rough, it did get muddy towards the end. The Tiguan handled the chatter of any washboard sections I encountered without too much vibration and I was able to maintain traction and even stop with minimal sliding. The ABS has unique programming in Off-road mode that locks up the wheels just a tic to build up dirt in front of the tire, helping to bring the Tiguan to a stop.”

— Emme Hall, Roadshow by CNET

“The ’18 Tiguan doesn’t handle as crisply as its Golf cousin, nor does it offer the towering ride height that lets drivers loom over their highway competitors, but it is a perfectly reasonable commuter machine that seats four adults in comfort and projects the desired image of outdoorsy, free-spirited truckitude.

The second row of seats fits three passengers, though a larger-than-petite middle one isn’t going to be very happy with the arrangement. The third-row seats come standard in the front-wheel-drive Tiguans, while all-wheel-drive purchasers must pay extra for the feature; in practice, any human larger than about a ten-year-old is going to be clawing at the windows in a desperate bid for escape after about five minutes in the third-row.”

— Murilee Martin, Autoweek


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