2018 Volkswagen Tiguan: One Handsome Beast

The Tiguan was getting long in the tooth, so Volkswagen has served up a rejuvenated version. The one destined for North America is longer than its predecessor, and offers seating for seven. It’s not available with all trim levels, but the seven-seat option gives you a bench where your luggage would otherwise go.

Apart from that, this Tiguan comes with a new engine and a good measure of interesting technology. So what are we looking at, more precisely?

The fact is that we were not able to road-test the new Tiguan. We were able to drive it only in a disused quarry. The official launch is scheduled for the end of June, and the short drive we were able to take was intended to acquaint us with the new 2.0-litre turbo engine as well as the vehicle’s off-road abilities.

Having fun with the 2.0T

The Tiguan uses the same Volkswagen 2.0T engine that will be available in the 2018 Passat and the 2018 Beetle.

It was developed from the 1.8T found in the Golf, the 2017 Passat and the high-end Jetta. A lengthened stroke bumps the capacity from 1.8 litres to 2.0.

Volkswagen also added what is known as the Bundak cycle, Volkswagen’s version of the Atkinson cycle. This offers more efficient opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves, thereby reducing fuel consumption. It is also possible to calibrate Bundak-cycle engines to produce more power, but of course with a reduction in fuel economy.

The engine in the new Tiguan makes 184 bhp at 4400 rpm and 221 lb.-ft. of torque from a low 1600 to 3940 rpm. Compared with the 1.8 litre engine on which it is based, power is available at much lower revs, and the driver can feel it. No need to floor the gas pedal to enjoy the generous amount of torque! In terms of fuel economy, we are promised ratings close to those achieved by the 1.4-litre turbo four in the base Jetta.

Our test unfortunately gave us no opportunity to measure fuel consumption. All we can say is that this engine is strong at remarkably low rpm, and is well matched to the new eight-speed automatic.

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

Updated interior

The interior of the 2018 Tiguan gives us a good idea of what to expect inside the next generation of Volkswagen vehicles. The dash retains its minimalist look, now something of a brand identifier. The infotainment screen is centrally located, and appears better integrated into the dash.

The front seats are as comfortable as ever, Volkswagen being the champion in this respect. Nevertheless, it has to be said that the rear bench that makes it a seven-seater is laughable. While the Volkswagen Atlas offers rear seats that are among the roomiest we have had the pleasure to occupy, the ones in the Tiguan are difficult to get to, and among the smallest in the industry. They might serve for young children.

Unbelievable off-road capability

In this segment, the off-road laurels belong to the Jeep Compass, which has the most complete set of no-nonsense technology, from a selector that lets you choose how your 4x4 system behaves to differentials that would not be out of place in the best off-roaders.

The Tiguan boasts the same level of useful technology with which you can select your terrain setting. Activating the off-road mode prompts the computer to work its magic. Mud, sand, rock—even with two wheels in the air, the Tiguan matches the Compass’ performance.

Overall, in fact, the Tiguan is exciting, offering an engine with guts and unprecedented off-road capability. Is it destined to become the new benchmark in this vehicle class?

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