Love Volkswagen but need an SUV? You’ll fall for the Tiguan.
Volkswagen is not necessarily a name you associate with SUVs. When I think of VW, I think of the Rabbit my husband drove when I first met him. I think of the Jetta my Uncle loved for so many years when he commuted from Connecticut to Tarrytown, NY. I think small, efficient, long-lasting.
Now Volkswagen is finally getting on the SUV bandwagon. They didn’t release their first Tiguan compact sport utility vehicle until 2008 – nearly a decade into the compact SUV craze. In 2017, nearly another decade later, the second generation Tiguan was unveiled with more cargo space and a more competitive price.
For traditional Volkswagen lovers who need the extra space of an SUV, the Tiguan could be your answer.
Who This Car is For
- Singles, couples or small families
- Buyers who need occasional third-row seating
- Consumers who want good cargo space for an active lifestyle
- Drivers who need all-wheel drive
What it Costs
- Base S model, includes roof rails, $25,345
- SE model including leatherette seats, keyless entry, push-button start and blind spot monitors, $29,080
- SEL model, includes panoramic sun roof, 8-inch infotainment screen, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, remote start $32,550,
- SEL Premium adds VW digital cockpit driver information display, Fender premium audio system, hands-free lift gate, $36,250
- 4MOTION all-wheel drive, $1,300
- Driver assistance safety technology package, $850
- Panoramic sunroof, $1,200
- Third row (standard in front-wheel drive models), $500
- The model we drove was the SEL Premium with a third-row seat package and an MSRP of $38,950.
Driving the Volkswagen Tiguan is a pleasure
Driving the Volkswagen Tiguan is a lovely experience. It’s smooth, sleek and, dare I say just a bit luxurious? I loved the beautifully stitched Storm Gray interior – which is more of a creamy white than grey. The cockpit is comfortable with its heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated driver seat with 10-way power adjustment, and leather seating surfaces. I wasn’t a fan of the teeny-tiny center console, but I could overlook it.
While it may lack a little bit in pep, most people really don’t buy their SUVs for pep. Most people buy SUVs for cargo space and for driving in all sorts of conditions. The Tiguan delivers that with its available 4MOTION all-wheel drive with Active Control. This is a four-wheel drive system that distributes engine power to all four wheels as required by the conditions. This helps increase traction. For example, if the front of rear axle slips on ice or unstable ground, 4MOTION will automatically compensate by shifting more power to the other axle.
And if you need to accommodate snowy or off-road conditions, the Tiguan comes with four modes: snow, on-road, off-road, and off-road custom – where you can set parameters like steering and AWD options to your own preferences.
But how about that third-row space?
While the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is more than 10 inches longer than the first generation model, you don’t feel that space in the third row. The increase in size is clear in its second-row legroom as well as its 38 cubic feet of cargo storage (73.5 cubic feet if all the seats are folded down). Even when the third row was up, I found adequate space in the back for modest amounts of luggage or groceries.
But sitting in that third row is not something a large child or full-sized adult would want to do on a regular basis. I sat back there and my knees were squished up against the seat in front of me. It’s definitely fine for bringing along the occasional friend though.
The Volkswagen Tiguan has all the safety features you want in an SUV
The SEL Premium trim is loaded with safety features to protect you and your precious cargo. Some of these include:
- Adaptive front lighting system – headlights move with you to help you see what’s ahead.
- Pedestrian Monitoring – if a pedestrian is sensed and the driver does not respond, the car will brake full force.
- Blind spot monitoring and lane assist – the steering wheel can vibrate in addition to the visual light warning on the side mirrors.
- Overhead view camera – offers a 360-degree view of what’s around you.
- Intelligent Crash Response System – if a collision deploys the airbags, this system can turn off the fuel pump, unlock the doors, and activate the hazard lights. It helps react if you might not be able to.
- Automatic Post-collision Braking System – brings your car to a stop immediately when there is a collision.
Tech, Conveniences and – oh! – those cupholders!
In addition to the driver’s seat features mentioned above, the Tiguan also boasts an impressive array of amenities to make your drive a joy.
- Heated passenger seat with 6-way manual adjustment
- Panoramic sunroof
- Adaptive cruise control
- Auto high beams
- Remote engine start and keyless access
- 8” touchscreen infotainment system with Fender premium audio system
- Hands-free liftgate
- Power, folding, heated side mirrors
- Park Pilot system helps you get in and out of parking spaces by indicating how much space you have and beeping when you get too close
- Seat release levers in cargo area that easily drop the 2nd and 3rd rows.
The Tiguan also has something that I consider a requirement in any car I drive: plenty of cupholders that can accommodate oversized bottles. I usually drive with two beverages: coffee and a large water bottle. I like to keep my coffee in the center cupholder, but in many cars my big water bottle will not fit in the door cupholder. I’m happy to report that the Tiguan’s door cupholders were perfect for both my bottle and my daughter’s in the passenger seat. The cupholders in the center were also perfect because they have flexible grips to keep large and smaller beverage containers from moving around.
As for technology, the Tiguan has 2 UBS ports, an aux port, and a 12V plug in the front that are easily accessible. The back has one USB port and a 12V plug. The infotainment touchscreen is easy to control and responsive to touch, and the Tiguan supports Apple Carplay.
What We Loved
- 360-degree overhead view camera is fantastic.
- Good second-row legroom for my older kids.
- The stylish LED headlights are unique.
- Panoramic sunroof – always one of my favorite features.
What You Should Know
- 6-year / 72,000-mile transferable, bumper-to-bumper limited warranty
- 3-year / 36,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance
- Third row standard on all FWD but optional on AWD (for $500)
- Navigation is only included on SEL and Premium models
- 23 MPG combined; 21 MPG city/27MPG highway
The Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium was loaned to me to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.