2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV Review

The new Tiguan is slightly bigger and significantly improved.
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

With the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, it looks like the German automaker is finally ready to offer a small crossover SUV that many Americans will want. Though entertaining to drive, the previous generation Tiguan fell short of the competition because of its small cargo space, mediocre fuel economy and, more recently, a lack of now common driver safety aids such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning. The Tiguan's premium price didn't help its case either.

For 2018, however, the Tiguan is thoroughly overhauled. It rides atop a new platform that underpins Volkswagen models ranging from the compact Golf hatchback to the new three-row Atlas SUV. This Tiguan even shares its new muscular shape and style with the Atlas. It's also 10 inches longer than its predecessor, which VW uses for more cargo space, more legroom, and an optional third-row seat that's small but handy if you need to cart around a couple of extra kids.

Some of the Tiguan's traditional strengths carry over, including a quiet and comfortable ride, top-notch cabin materials, and a user-friendly tech interface that's now even easier and quicker to use. These upscale touches no longer exact a price premium either.

Overall, we think the new Tiguan is worth a look alongside other roomy small crossovers such as the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue. 

Notably, we picked the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan as one of Edmunds' Best Small SUVs for this year.



what's new

The Volkswagen Tiguan is fully redesigned for 2018. Compared to its predecessor, it offers more legroom, more cargo space and a standard third row.

we recommend

The base Tiguan S is a great value, with standard three-row seating (optional with all-wheel drive), a rearview camera and roof rails for weekend adventurers. But if you can stretch your budget, the SE is a smart buy. Upgrades includes keyless entry and ignition, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats and a larger touchscreen tech interface. The SEL and SEL Premium offer a few more amenities, but we think the SE will hit the sweet spot for most buyers.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan comes in five trim levels: Limited, S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium.

All 2018 Tiguans are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Note that the engine's power varies slightly depending on the trim level you pick, as detailed below. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

The Limited (it's the base trim, so the name is somewhat misleading) has an engine with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. That engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard features for the Limited include 16-inch wheels, black cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 5-inch touchscreen display, and an audio system with radio, CD player and SD card reader.

The next step up is the Tiguan S. This Tiguan, as well as all other remaining trims, has a slightly different four-cylinder engine that makes 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration should be very similar compared to the Limited, but the 184-hp engine is more fuel-efficient. It's also connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Additional S features include 17-inch wheels, roof rails, heated side mirrors, automatic headlights, adaptive foglights, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, a USB port, a six-speaker sound system and VW's Car-Net App Connect, which controls select smartphone apps from the touchscreen and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The optional Driver Assistance package adds forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The SE includes those Driver Assistance features, plus heated washer nozzles, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite and HD radio, voice commands, two extra USB ports and the Car-Net Security & Service (remote access to the vehicle through a smartphone app, automatic crash notification, and monitoring services for young drivers). A panoramic sunroof is optional on the SE.

The SEL comes standard with the sunroof and adds 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, remote start, adaptive cruise control, navigation and Car-Net Guide & Inform (displays real-time traffic, weather and nearby fuel prices).

Finally, the SEL Premium adds adaptive LED headlights, automatic wipers, a hands-free liftgate, a digital gauge cluster, leather upholstery, a nine-speaker premium Fender sound system, and extra driver assistance features including a top-down parking camera system, lane departure warning and intervention, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic high-beam control.

The R-Line package offered on SEL and SEL Premium trims includes larger wheels (19-inch for SEL, 20-inch for SEL Premium), sportier exterior styling elements and, for the SEL, front and rear parking sensors.

driving

More a quiet, comfortable cruiser than a sporty curve machine, the Tiguan features a punchy turbo four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed transmission. The engine lags from a standstill, however, and overall fuel economy is not especially impressive compared to that of competitors.

acceleration

The Tiguan's turbocharged engine feels punchy when you put your foot down at speed.

braking

It feels more buttoned-down than some other small crossover SUVs, but it's still shy of being a sporty driving experience.

drivability

We're not fond of how the Tiguan reacts slowly when you take your foot off the brake pedal and go for the gas. The delay is pronounced enough that you'll need to look for larger gaps in traffic when making turns into oncoming traffic.

comfort

A quiet, comfortable ride remains one of the Tiguan's strengths. The front seats should be comfortable on long drives.

seat comfort

The cloth upholstery is more durable than it is comfortable, but cushioning remained supportive on an hourlong drive. Simulated leather is available in middle two trims; real leather is reserved for the top trim. The latter is more attractive and luxurious but doesn't breathe as well on a hot day.

ride comfort

You'll likely enjoy the quiet, comfortable ride for your daily commute. We recommend against larger wheels since the 19-inch wheels on SEL Premium test car produced a sharp, heavy impact when running over sunken manhole covers. The 17-inch wheels on the base model proved much more forgiving.

interior

The classy interior that looks and feels solid and well-built — another traditional Tiguan strength — remains intact. Design and parts influenced by (and perhaps borrowed from) the Atlas SUV give the Tiguan a much-needed style update.

utility

The Tiguan's ultimate utility depends on whether you opt for a third-row seat. The three-row Tiguan offers less cargo space overall, but it still measures up well to the rest of the field. The standard roof rails give a head start for outdoor adventure seekers and their gear.

technology

The 2018 Tiguan comes with VW's latest infotainment and safety systems. Overall, it's an appealing mix of features.

audio & navigation

A revised tech interface is a key highlight on new Tiguan. The base S trim gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen; others get an 8-inch display. The interface is similar to earlier models, but the system has quicker responses. The top trim gets a nine-speaker Fender premium audio system.

smartphone integration

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink come standard. Certain functions, such as remote door locking and unlocking, can be controlled via the VW smartphone app.

driver aids

Glaringly absent from earlier models, the new Tiguan offers a comprehensive list of driver aids. Essential features (blind-spot monitoring, auto emergency braking) are optional on the base trim and standard for everything else. You can get more safety features on the upper trims.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.