The Know It Guy

First Drive: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

DENVER, Colorado — In case you haven’t heard it enough but, crossover and SUV income had been going gangbusters everywhere in the global, driven heavily by way of soaring call for inside the U.S. Volkswagen has by and large had to watch this feeding frenzy from the sidelines. America has always been the uncrackable nut for VW, but with the growing older Touareg being outdated with the aid of the handsome Atlas and the similarly dated first-era Tiguan being changed for 2018, matters is probably on a long-overdue upswing.

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Slowly but actually, Volkswagen is making up for lost time. And for broken promises. VW suffered greater than a flesh wound inside the wake of its notorious Dieselgate scandal, but the prescription going forward is to introduce plenty of recent metallic to win returned clients. “We’re running to regain our clients’ believe and rebuild the emblem,” said VW product and general manager Mark Gillies. “New cars are the lifeblood of this commercial enterprise.”

We headed to Colorado for the launch of the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, which must make VW into a bigger player inside the critical mid-size SUV area, peeling customers faraway from stalwarts like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape.

The 2018 Tiguan rides on the equal MQB architecture as the Golf and Atlas, sharing with the ones cars VW’s polished understanding in packaging. Although Europe receives both brief- and lengthy-wheelbase variations of the Tiguan, best the latter could be on offer right here within the States. That method 10.6 inches of extra period in comparison to the first-gen Tiguan, in addition to fifty-eight percent more shipment potential on -row models. Front-wheel force fashions come well known with a 3rd row of seating, whilst all-wheel-pressure models can upload it as a stand-on my own $500 alternative on any trim stage.

Unsurprisingly, the 0.33 row is suitable most effective for youngsters, but a median-sized grownup could manage for short rides in a pinch, which is greater than may be said for the jump seats within the Nissan Rogue. Where the Tiguan shines is how effortlessly the second row folds down and slides forward, revealing a generous opening for rear-seat passengers. In phrases of general length, the Tiguan is slightly larger than maximum of its key competition, however still well shy of lots large Atlas.

Although the Tiguan stocks its underpinnings with the Golf, dynamically, they feel greater like distant cousins than near siblings. That begins with the Tiguan’s new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, the only engine for U.S. Models. Mated to an eight-velocity automatic, the 184-hp “B-cycle” engine uses a changed Miller combustion cycle for stepped forward performance, yielding 35 lb-toes more torque but 14 fewer hp than the outgoing 2.0T.

The new engine is slow off the line as we climb from Denver up into the encompassing mountains, snaking through twisting ribbons of pavement and hard dirt roads aboard a front-wheel-power Tiguan with three rows. Peak 221 lb-toes torque comes in early at 1, six hundred rpm and remains perfectly flat until 3,940 rpm, however the long pedal journey way the Tiguan is constantly a step or in the back of where you anticipate it. Even inside the meat of the rev variety, from 4, four hundred rpm to six,000, in which the brand new EA888 four-cylinder makes max hp, the engine feels coarse and resistant. It doesn’t assist that the 8-speed automatic transmission is now and again lazy to downshift, even though this may be mitigated via switching the shift lever into Sport.

A huge caveat is that our entire direction changed into at altitudes starting from five, one hundred ft to roughly eight,000 feet. No doubt the thin air was played a component in all that huffing and puffing, in spite of a turbocharger on board. However, while we previously drove a pre-production Passat with this engine, it dissatisfied compared to the pleasantly zippy 1.8-liter rapid it replaces. Volkswagen may even tag within the B-cycle 2.0-liter to replace the 1.8T inside the Beetle, in addition to the next-generation Jetta.

On the plus facet, the Tiguan rides like a dream. It tracks optimistically down the toll road. Potholes and enlargement joints are of little challenge to the MQB-platformed family hauler, at the same time as bumpy dust roads don’t transmit much inside the way of nasty vibrations into the cabin. Germany engineered the Tiguan to satisfy Americans’ choice for easy driving, and in that admire it’s spot-on. The brakes, too, aren’t overly grabby and intuitive to modulate.

Steering feel and handling may be the sufferers of this consciousness on comfort — none of the Golf’s a laugh or maybe the Atlas’ poised capability come thru. There’s a fairly massive dead spot on-center, and even though the steering does build weight as it techniques locks, it doesn’t benefit much of whatever in the manner of remarks. In all-wheel-drive fashions with the Active Control rotary pressure pick knob, you can customize the guidance or powertrain to your liking, however, even those modes provide simply minor upgrades.

The Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, and Hyundai Tucson may be extra profitable to drive, however, he Tiguan will be on pinnacle when it comes to the interior. The redesigned cabin is likewise a big jump forward, expressing easy and intuitive layout with a purpose to age properly. Starting with the second-tier SE model (S is the base), VW’s new MIB II infotainment takes middle degree. Integrated easily into the middle stack, the 8-inch display boasts clean and shiny images as well as Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (trendy on all models). The seats are supportive and now not overly strengthened, visibility all around is pinnacle-notch, and the more than one USB ports will preserve the whole circle of relatives charged up. Overall substances are true nice. We also noticed little or no street or wind noise on our many toll road miles.

Base Tiguan S fashions begin at $26,245 with the front-wheel force, coming wellknown with 17-inch aluminum wheels, LED taillights, a rear camera, and a 6.5-inch show display screen. The bulk of income in the phase happen at right round $30,000, so the extent-supplier is positive to be the SE, which comes in at $29,980. Most customers could be extra than satisfied with the keyless access, large eight-inch show, artificial fake-leather indoors with heated front seats, an eight-way strength driving force’s seat, twin-area weather manage, and blind-spot tracking with rear pass-traffic alert. Spring for the $33,450 SEL to get bigger 18-inch wheels, a wide ranging sunroof (commonly $1,2 hundred on S or SE trims), navigation, adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go, and faraway start.

Atop the heap is the $37,one hundred fifty SEL Premium. That’s a number of scratch, however it comes positively loaded to the gills with 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, leather-based seats and trim, Fender audio, a fingers-loose tailgate, a 360-diploma digicam, park assist, and VW’s model of Audi’s snazzy virtual cockpit. It appears somewhat of an oversight to have the virtual cockpit tool display simplest to be had at this kind of excessive stage, whilst it looks as if the type of factor human beings would without problems pay for if the SEL trim were simply a bit extra expensive. That said, the a $850 Driver Assist package deal for lesser fashions consists of automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-site visitors alert with self reliant braking, lane-preserve assist, the 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise, and parking sensors with rear self reliant braking. Later on in the model year, the Tiguan will get an R-Line appearance bundle for $1,795 on SEL and $1,495 on SEL Premium trims.

Built in Mexico specifically for the U.S., the brand new Tiguan is absolutely a step in a more competitive route for VW, even though it’s not a pleasure to power. In truth, if you want the last Tiguan a lot, you could still buy it — it’ll continue to be at dealers for the foreseeable destiny because the Tiguan Limited. VW says that it wants to spread itself throughout SUV segments as a lot as possible and call for for smaller-sized models is high sufficient to justify keeping the ol’ girl around. Given how an awful lot bigger the 2018 Tiguan is, VW doesn’t assume lots cannibalization through the Limited.

While we nonetheless need to look how this Tiguan’s engine fares at altitudes closer to sea stage, until then, it’s secure to mention Volkswagen ought to be at the shopping listing if comfort, utility, and lots of available tech are priorities. Who is aware of, maybe this circle of relatives-friendly crossover is the nutcracker Volkswagen has been long needed.

Jessica J. Underwood

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