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.
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.
audio & navigation
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.