USED: 2018 VW Tiguan: This Compact Three Row SUV Is Bigger and Better Than Ever

A Girls Guide To Cars | Used: 2018 Vw Tiguan: This Compact Three Row Suv Is Bigger And Better Than Ever - Vw Tiguan Featured Image

Volkswagen wants to win you over.

To win the hearts of American families and drivers who are increasingly asking for it all, Volkswagen aims to do it all. Customers increasingly want a crossover with flexible cargo space, room for kids and dogs, one that is not oversized, not expensive and is fuel efficient.

After introducing the all new Atlas recently, VW has kept up the momentum by re-designing the Tiguan compact SUV for the US market; it’s slightly larger, has an all new 4-cylinder turbo engine and details that American drivers love, including more cargo space, a 6 year warranty and a third row.

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

Carrie Kim and I on our test drive; I found the back seat to be the place for my handbag; it was easy to reach. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Who this car is for:

  • Singles, couples or small families
  • Buyers who need a compact SUV
  • Buyers who want all wheel drive
  • Buyers who want a small third row for occasional use
  • Buyers who appreciate VW’s refined design sensibility
Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

The front cabin of the 2018 VW Tiguan Premium model. Photo: Volkswagen

What this car 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
  • All wheel drive, $1,300
  • Driver assistance safety technology package, $850
  • Panoramic sunroof, $1,200
  • Third row (standard in front wheel drive models), $500

Is a compact three row SUV too small for you? Check out the VW Atlas

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

Old versus new: the new 2018 Tiguan (upper left) and the previous design (lower right). Photo: Scotty Reiss

A bigger Tiguan designed for American drivers

VW added 11 inches to the Tiguan’s length which leads to some great benefits: more cargo space, more second row leg room and a third row for buyers who want a ‘convenience row’ that will mostly likely be used only when absolutely needed. This third row is not a daily usage third row unless it’s for an acrobatic kid who can easily climb in and out and is the perfect size for the space.

The Tiguan also has a lot more cargo space. Behind the third row this small SUV has 12 cubic feet—that’s enough for several roll aboard suitcases, tote bags or a stroller. Or back packs, dance bags and other gear when you have kids in the third row for carpool.

The third row, which is standard in all front wheel drive models and an option for all models,  is a split seat, so you can fold one side down for cargo and still have a passenger in the third row. With 33 cubic feet behind the second row there’s plenty of space for your Costco run, and when you really need hauling space, it has 66 cubic feet with the center row folded. That’s A LOT of cargo space.

Can’t decide if you need a third row? 

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

Legroom in the third row of the VW Tiguan is tight for a full sized adult but fine for smaller people. The center row slides forward to let passengers adjust the amount of leg room. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Why I love a convenience row: when you need it, it’s priceless

Even a small third row is a huge bonus in my view; I have one of these ‘convenience’ rows in my SUV and it can often be a lifesaver. While my kids will complain about sitting there, they’re happy to if it means they can bring a friend along or they get the iPad and headphones while Grandma sits in the middle row.

And when they were elementary school aged it was the difference between being able to carpool to dance class with neighbors and having to make the rounds EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And, with a roof top cargo carrier, it can mean everyone gets their own space on a road trip. Also priceless.

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

A cubby under the Tiguan’s console was the perfect size for Carrie’s iPhone 7+; once we plugged it in, we used Apple Car Play for navigation, music and more. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Roomy, comfortable and a bit luxurious

On our test drive, Carrie and I chose the SE edition for its third row and the light colored interior (I go for color every time). VW calls this color gray, but it’s more of a light oyster, creamy and light. I loved it and with the panoramic sun roof (which we kept closed most of the time to keep the car cool), the cabin was filled with beautiful light. Selfie time!

While the SE front wheel model we drove didn’t have all the top luxuries, including safety tech and navigation, but we didn’t mind. I would have liked to have the safety features (an $850 option) and adaptive cruise control, and I think most people would; upgrading to the SEL model would add these and for this reason I believe it will be the Tiguan’s best seller.

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

Apple Car Play is a great navigation and entertainment option for VW Tiguan models that don’t have it standard. Photo: Scotty Reiss

However, I didn’t miss the navigation. We plugged in our phones and had Apple Maps, Spotify, text messages and more. The Tiguan’s screen has a brighter resolution than previous screens, even brighter than the iPhone screen, making it easy to see with all the light in the car.

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

The front wheel drive model we test drove did just great on dusty trails. Photo: Scotty Reiss

So easy and fun to drive we had *extra* adventures

The Tiguan was really easy to drive; its size meant we never felt overly large or intimidated by larger vehicles on the highways or back roads. It was easy to get in and out of — with seats that are at the natural hip level of most drivers, you slide in/slide out, which is what we love about SUVs. And the cabin was comfortable and quiet on the road, letting us chat away, so much so that we found ourselves wandering off our appointed route a few times.

But this was great—and how a test drive should go. We could hear each other just fine—no extra road noise—and it was easy to hear the sound system too. We also discovered that the Tiguan’s size made making u-turns super easy, so getting back on course was quick. And the 4 cylinder turbo was capable of merging onto the highway and it handled high speeds just fine, so we didn’t lag behind schedule too much.

We had the chance to drive this front wheel drive car on a 6-mile stretch of dirt and gravel roads. For not being all wheel drive it did pretty well. However, if I had roads like this on my regular treks, I’d definitely go for the AWD option, or 4Motion, as VW calls it. The Tiguan’s AWD models also give you a drive mode selector, so you can choose: snow/ice, normal, mountain or individual.  

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

Looks like a green screen photo right? But this photo was taken in Boulder, Colorado, I promise, with my iPhone! Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Sleeker, More Modern Design

On our test drive we happened upon a current model Tiguan so of course, we had to pull alongside and do a comparison. It’s interesting to see how the Tiguan is more streamlined and aerodynamic, less boxy and has updated lights and details. And, even though it’s longer, the roof line looks a bit lower so it was surprising how much head room we had.

Consider the competition: Kia Sorento

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

Cargo space in the VW Tiguan is ample with the third row lowered. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Why You Should Take a Look at the 2018 Tiguan

If you’re in the market for a compact SUV and occasionally need a third row, this should be on your list. It’s well priced, includes a lot of premium features for the price and has a fantastic warranty. More than that, VW is in major customer-satisfaction mode, so even though this car is new to the market, customers should be able to find very attractive pricing and financing. 

Consider the competition: Nissan Rogue

Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

This is so clever: the cargo cover stores under the cargo floor in its own space. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What We Loved

  • Spacious, roomy interior
  • Third row for two extra passengers
  • TONS of extra cargo space
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Standard roof rails
  • Sleek new design
  • 6 years/72,000 miles transferrable warranty, so if you buy it used after a few years, the warranty goes with it
Three Row Suv Vw Tiguan

The 2018 VW Tiguan models and options.

What You Need to Know

  • Ground clearance 7.9 inches
  • Third row standard on all FWD but optional on AWD (for $500)
  • Navigation is only included on SEL and Premium models
  • 21 MPG city/27MPG highway AWD
  • 22MPG city/27 MPG highway in front wheel drive models

What we listened to in the VW Tiguan 

As we cruised through the mountains of Colorado, here are just some of the songs we were inspired to listen to.

Disclosure: I was VW’s guest for this test drive. Travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions expressed are my own.


Vw Added More Room And A Refined Look To The Tiguan, But This Three Row Suv Is Still Sleek, Nimble, Fun To Drive And Filled With Top Tech And Features.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss