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.