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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan First Drive

On Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

The Volkswagen PR team euphemistically says it has been “fairly underrepresented” in the SUV market. That’s perhaps an understatement: thanks to the crossover boom and falling sedan sales, VW’s US deliveries are down some 25 percent from 2012 to 2016, the decline beginning even before the diesel scandal.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

But a pair of new VW SUVs have arrived, and both are a significant improvement over the previous offerings from Wolfsburg. We drove the Atlas full-size SUV earlier this year and came away with mixed feelings – and so it is again with the redesigned 2018 Tiguan.

Pricing starts at $26,245 for the FWD S Tiguan, with the price rising quickly across four trim levels to the $38,450 AWD SEL Premium. Much like with the larger Atlas, the Tiguan starts out decently equipped for the price. But the top-of-the-line version that we tested ends up a bit less compelling.

It’s built on Wolfsburg’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform first seen on the Mk. 7 Golf and then on the Atlas SUV.

The seven-passenger AWD Tiguan sports a curb weight just north of 4,000 pounds, and the engine simply isn’t powerful enough. Worst still, the little turbo doesn’t even deliver fantastic fuel economy as a trade-off for its poor performance. The FWD Tiguan delivers 22/27/24 miles per gallon city/highway/combined, while the AWD does even worse at 21/27/23 mpg.

Engine aside, the Tiguan is roomy and comfortable, and the price is largely competitive with others in the segment. We like the Euro-design and the center infotainment screen is terrific. It won’t be hard for Volkswagen to improve on the sales of the previous Tiguan. But, going up against proven winners like the Toyota Rav4 and the Honda CR-V, it may be tricky for Volkswagen to carve out more than a niche.

The seven-passenger AWD Tiguan sports a curb weight just north of 4,000 pounds, and the engine simply isn’t powerful enough. Worst still, the little turbo doesn’t even deliver fantastic fuel economy as a trade-off for its poor performance. The FWD Tiguan delivers 22/27/24 miles per gallon city/highway/combined, while the AWD does even worse at 21/27/23 mpg.

Engine aside, the Tiguan is roomy and comfortable, and the price is largely competitive with others in the segment. We like the Euro-design and the center infotainment screen is terrific. It won’t be hard for Volkswagen to improve on the sales of the previous Tiguan. But, going up against proven winners like the Toyota Rav4 and the Honda CR-V, it may be tricky for Volkswagen to carve out more than a niche.

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