By on January 10, 2017

2018 volkswagen tiguan

Volkswagen showcased its second-generation Tiguan at the 2016 Frankfurt Auto Show, so it is a little underwhelming to see another one at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. However, the Frankfurt debut was the Euro-spec model. A modestly sized SUV simply won’t do for a nation that has experienced decades of drive-through grease burgers, cross-country camping excursions, and massive expanses of multi-lane highways. America has bigger people, bigger roads, and more junk to haul around.

A perfectly adequate-sized vehicle in Europe is a tiny baby’s toy in the United States — and we all know which country Volkswagen is eager to please right now. With this in mind, the German automaker delivered a stretched version of the Tiguan crossover specifically for North American consumers. 

The new North American Tiguan is a long-wheelbase version of the European model. While still part of the MQB Bodengruppe, its wheelbase — at 109.9 inches — is 4.4 inches longer than the one sold in Europe. While those updated dimensions make the new model nearly a foot longer than the Tiguan of a decade ago, Volkswagen is just following the industry trend of sizing up small SUVs.

“The new Tiguan demonstrates how we plan to give American customers the usability and versatility they demand without sacrificing style or Volkswagen’s trademark driving dynamics,“ said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of VW North America.  “Every detail of the Tiguan has been thoughtfully engineered for our U.S. customers to maximize space and convenience, while retaining its performance, agility, and value.”

Taking up extra space outside creates more available room on the inside. Reviews have been almost universally unkind to the existing Tiguan’s limited storage. The magnified model addresses that by increasing cargo space up to 57 percent, and that number is adjustable (since the 2018 model can slide its second row forward or backward a full seven inches).

The front-wheel-drive version of the 2018 model-year Tiguan will have standard third-row seats, which will be optional on all-wheel-drive models. Regardless of which wheels are being driven, the crossover will get a 2.0-liter direct-inject turbocharged engine with 184 horsepower, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Available safety systems include forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, and a lane-departure warning.

While this would be the perfect model to offer with an optional diesel motor, VW will have to launch its SUV offensive in North America without one.

“I truly believe that this auto show marks a real turning point for Volkswagen in the United States, based on an upcoming strong product momentum with vehicles that are truly tailored to what American buyers want,” said Woebcken at NAIAS.

Volkswagen hasn’t announced any delivery dates for the U.S., though the long-wheelbase Tiguan will launch in Europe in the second half of 2017 (carrying a Tiguan Allspace moniker). It’s a fair assumption that it should arrive in North America around the same time.

2018 volkswagen tiguan

[Images: Volkswagen]

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44 Comments on “NAIAS 2017: Volkswagen Presents America With a Larger Tiguan...”


  • avatar
    VW4motion

    This could take a few sales away from Subaru. New Tiguan looks good.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I was expecting more. Looks really generic, and with the wheelbase stretch the proportions are off. The competition is only in the ~104-105″ range.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    Wow. The E83 X3 would like it’s rear quarter window back, please.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, it looks anodyne, but VWs don’t sell on styling. My question would be how it drives.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Assuming the longer wheelbase hasn’t gummed up the works, it should be one of the more responsive and enjoyable options within the segment.

    • 0 avatar

      They often sell on styling, actually. The previous generation Tiguan was wildly uncompetitive compared to its CUV brethren, but people kept buying them (even in their 9th year) in the humorously overpriced ‘R-Design’ trim because they still looked darn good.

      The GTI sells on looks (people like conservative sportiness) as well as capability.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It’s got a better shot than the current Tiguan, and it will be better to look at and drive than a number of competitors. But this is a crowded segment with some long-term players who know what they’re doing. VW should have jumped in fifteen years ago.

    “I truly believe that this auto show marks a real turning point for Volkswagen in the United States, based on an upcoming strong product momentum with vehicles that are truly tailored to what American buyers want”

    That sounds familiar, but the 2011/2012 Americanized Passat and Jetta only provided a short term sales boost.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “That sounds familiar, but the 2011/2012 Americanized Passat and Jetta only provided a short term sales boost.”

      Decent sedans, brought out at a time when the market began turning away from sedans. Makes sense that both would end up declining soon after they were introduced (not to mention the whole diesel disaster). And the only CUVs VW had were the Touareg and Tiguan, both of which were titanically overpriced.

      So, my real question on the Tiguan is where it is to be made. If it’s still made in Europe, then it’s safe to say the price issues that limit the current model will continue.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        Looks like it’s going to be made in Mexico. Hopefully Commander Drumpf won’t impose the Cheeto tax on Mexican made vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, this is the same guy who took time from his busy schedule to talk trash about Meryl Streep to the New York Times (at midnight, no less)…anything’s possible.

          • 0 avatar
            brettc

            Yes indeed. It will be interesting to say the least.

            The new Tiguan looks decent, but I guess we’ll find out if it’s too little too late or not. Although the outgoing model has been selling ridiculously well for an aging Golf 5 based CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            No, Mike. NO! I must attempt to remain apolitical reasonably pleasant. Don’t give me bait.

            reeeeessssiiiissssst!

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I agree, they are very decent sedans and I like the Jetta quite a lot. But IIRC their sales numbers spiked for the first two years then dropped far more quickly than their respective segments and I’m not sure why that was. It left the impression that the larger players have a vast reserve of interested buyers while VW burned through theirs in the first few years. Hopefully the same sales pattern doesn’t happen with the new Tiguan.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I liked the Jetta enough to buy one, which (pleasantly) surprised the hell out of me. :)

          I think a lot of the sales drop you’re talking about can be attributed to the fact that a large percent of Passats and Jettas were sold with diesels, which was a unique option in the midsize/compact segments.

          If you look at the GCBC sales stats, peak sales of both models were in 2012, which is also the year gas prices hit their highest level. When gas prices began to level off and drop (2013/14), Passat and Jetta sales began to drop as well. I think there is a definite correlation. All this was a long time before the diesel scandal broke (late 2015).

          Not coincidentally, sales of the Prius follow a similar pattern. Peak year was 2012.

          Lots of factors at play here, but market changes clearly played a role in both nameplates’ declines.

          https://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-915-march-7-2016-average-historical-annual-gasoline-pump-price-1929-2015

        • 0 avatar
          Wheatridger

          In the wake of the TDI debacle, Tiguan is one of VW’s largest sellers in the US. When my wife bought hers in 2013, I’d routinely count two sighting in a hard day’s city driving (in Denver, where SUVs are dominant). Now, I often see two at one stoplight. I suspect that it’s very unusual for such an old design to show a rising sales curve in its later years.

          Before the scandal, the TIguan was the only VW with no diesel option. That depressed its sales, as VW loyalists chose TDIs for the mileage. With that option gone, the Tig competes with the Golf wagons on a level playing field.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Could depend on what part of Denver you’re in, though. I’m assuming you’re on the north side of the city with the “wheatridger” handle. Anywhere between there and Boulder, VWs are gonna be thick on the ground (and I don’t know who owns the Subaru dealer in Boulder, but whoever it is has a freakin’ license to print money). Here in Dougco? Not so much. Down here, it’s all Hondas and Toyotas for Mom, and the four door brodozer for Dad.

            Either way, I think the Tiguan is selling simply because it’s a small CUV. It takes a GIANT basket of fail for a CUV to not sell. Case in point: Buick Encore. That turd on wheels proves to me that someone could come out with a small CUV called the “Saddam Anthrax Edition” and it’d sell.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        Those “decent sedans” have abysmal owner satisfaction scores compared to the models they replaced. The sedan market was not cooling when sales of those models started to drop off. That was entirely due to poor reception.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        The market may have since 2012 shifted a little from sedans but that doesn`t explain the collapse in Passat sales (117,000 in 2012 to 73000 in 2016).

        I wished VW would just come out with a typical compact CUV and not bothered with 3rd row seats. Toyota stopped offering that on the RAV4 and the Rogue doesn`t do well with that option.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Now if they could just change the name…
    .
    .

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    What’s the point of a 3 row version of this platform when the Atlas is on the horizon?

    It seems that the Atlas would be the CUV for “der Amerikaner”.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The Atlas is going to be a very big vehicle – longer than a Honda Pilot. It’s about the size of a GMC Acadia.

      So it’d make sense that the Tiguan would be three-row to begin with. I have a feeling the plan is to go after the RAV4/CRV market with a slightly bigger vehicle with more seating capacity. It’s not a bad idea.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “go after the RAV4/CRV market with a slightly bigger vehicle with more seating capacity. It’s not a bad idea.”

        That’s basically the Rogue strategy (and Mitsu Outlander). Regardless of whether the third row is a laughable torture chamber, people see that as a “feature” whether or not they’ll realistically use it. They see it as more bang for the buck (ie three row crossover at the price of a two row crossover).

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          There was a time when my kids were little that I’d have loved a third row option without the bulk (and expense) of something like a minivan or full size SUV. Handy feature. Little kids don’t care about seat comfort much.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheatridger

          I’d rather not be hauling around a folded seat in the “way-back,” never used. But parents of young kids will see this differently. The problem with the old Tiguan is that two car seats are about all you can fit. If you have two kids in seats, and those kids have friends, they can’t come along for the ride.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Depending on how this sells I imagine they could eventually bring the short wheelbase Tiguan over here to compete in the new mid-compact class against the Qashqai and new Compass.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    Hinrich J. Woebcken went on to say, under his breath, “The longer wheelbase will result in better control and maneuverability, as well as less bumpiness, to be felt and appreciated by tow truck drivers in all 50 states.”

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      My TIguan’s never been close to a two truck. My only out-of-pocket cost has been a new battery at four years. But I’d be happier with a lot less bumpiness. On 19s, the Tiguan SEL with sports suspension rides like a covered wagon.

  • avatar
    skotastic

    I really dislike the tone of the article.

    Does the author have little kids? I’m 6’4″ and don’t live on a diet of grease burgers. My wife is 5’11”. We have small kids. None of us are fat. With huge baby seats and rapidly growing children, unless I lived in an urban core with scarce parking, it’s hard to justify $30k on a car that a family of 4 will quickly outgrow.

    Most people who pony up the cash for this sort of vehicle are either older empty nesters or families which need more room.

    I think it’s great VW recognizes this, and the fact that most Americans and Canadians don’t live in NY or the GTA, and may want to put something other than a handbag in the back with 4-5 folks up front.

    • 0 avatar
      make_light

      Yeah the whole Fat Americans narrative is getting very tired among auto press. Even if it’s partially true, just not creative or funny anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        It’s very true but we’re not alone either, England’s obesity rate is climbing and I think the same is happening across a lot of Western Europe.

        I enjoy the irony of watching Jeremy Clarkson opine about the uncultured habit of Americans putting cheese on everything as he hefts that giant overhanging belly of visceral fat around his TV studio. That gut’s gonna kill him someday and is probably already working on it.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          That gut will kill him, but he is also correct about American’s putting cheese (or cheese product on everything). If I want a cheeseburger I will ask for one, why does a hamburger come with cheese?

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    I saw the new Tiguan when I was in Europe this summer, and it actually looks really sharp in person. Whether the XL version with its stretched proportions will look as good, I don’t know. I guess we’ll see.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Looking forward to seeing interior volume numbers, which will determine how well this flies. But at least in theory the idea of extending the wheelbase and back door, at the cost of rear overhang, isn’t a bad idea. It will result in a bigger back seat (ideal for those monster car seats) and a bit less cargo space.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    That wheelbase stretch in the rear doors looks goofy. Is the torture chamber third row in this, the Rogue and Outlander (and last generation Rav4) really a selling point? It has to be worthless for anything other than emergencies.

    Offering this vehicle in two lengths internationally (neither of which seem to be properly sized) is the sort of thinking I expect from GM.


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