By on November 28, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line, Image: Volkswagen of America

Volkswagen’s American fortune will not come by way of an electric, next-generation Beetle. No, the automaker’s U.S. game plan rests firmly on the success of existing and future utility vehicles. With no new models kicking around to bring to L.A., the automaker decked out its recently introduced second-generation Tiguan in ever-so-edgy R-Line trim and headed to the show.

Featuring an added (but not heaping) dose of visual aggression, the Tiguan R-Line, available in the first quarter of 2018, should give crossover buyers something new to look at while the company fleshes out its lineup with new tenants. It’s early days yet, but it seems the company’s crossover push is already working.

Let’s be honest — finding the differences between the R-Line and another uplevel Tiguan would be much more difficult if the model shown above wasn’t white. Clearly, adding the R-Line package brings a revamped lower fascia with black-ringed air intakes, front fender badging, a blacked-out rear diffuser, and a choice of edgier 19- and 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Inside, there’s no shortage of glittery reminders that this Tiguan is an extra-special one. Even the welcome screen informs you of this fact.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line, Image: Volkswagen of America

The removal of the stock Tiguan’s side sill and wheel arch cladding lends the impression that this Tiguan’s home is the mean streets of Anytown, USA, not the woods. Of course, appearances aside, there’s no real difference between the R-Line and its Tiguan siblings. The same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rests under the hood, making the same 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, and connected to the same eight-speed automatic. (A powertrain described as “unresponsive” and “lackadaisical” in a recent TTAC review.)

If R-Line is your thing, prepare to pay more for it. The package only applies to the Tiguan SEL and SEL Premium, and the markup amounts to 1,795 for the lesser trim, $1,495 for the range-topper.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

When it debuted in early summer, the 2018 Tiguan represented a more Americanized version of the crossover, stretching some 5 inches longer than a Toyota RAV4. The former Tiguan (which soldiers on as the Tiguan Limited), was often criticized for its puny size. There’s even a third row on offer if you feel like handing over an extra $500.

While the new Tiguan’s performance isn’t exactly scorching, the model’s sales performance is (so far) quite the opposite. By keeping the old model on hand, the nameplate recorded its second-best U.S. sales month in October, with volume rising 54 percent, year-over-year. September saw a year-over-year sales gain of 44 percent.

Meanwhile, there’s new volume rolling in from the midsize Atlas SUV, introduced this past spring. Between them, the Atlas and Tiguan are making up for lost sales in the traditional passenger car segment. So far in 2017, only one month has seen a sales drop compared to last year’s Volkswagen brand figures. North of the border, sales are on track to surpass last year’s figures by a healthy margin.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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9 Comments on “Volkswagen Tosses Out an R-Line Tiguan as It Waits for More Crossovers...”

  • avatar

    VW has a lot of work to do regarding the perception of quality. Upscale models may be bolstered by the new warranty but price of new VWs is too darn high and there are better choices.

    • 0 avatar

      There sure are (better choices). VW will probably continue to be a niche manufacturer in the U.S., especially since they’ve abandoned the TDI market and are going to be late to the game with electrification (unless you take the defunct Jetta hybrid or the E-Golf seriously)

      • 0 avatar

        “VW will probably continue to be a niche manufacturer in the U.S., especially since they’ve abandoned the TDI market ”

        Uh…the TDI market was the definition of niche. I happen to think that VW is well positioned, actually. They have been very popular with the “hot hatch” crowd for years, and now they’re finally hitting the right marks with their CUVs. When those Golf/GTI drivers grow up and have a family it will be easy to transition them into the larger VWs, particularly thanks to the cost certainty that comes with the 6yr/72k mile warranty.

    • 0 avatar

      Priced too high? How do you figure? When I was shopping for mid-sized sedans the Passat was the best deal going. You can get a fully loaded one (minus the V6) for under $32k MSRP, and certainly under 30 after 2 minutes of negotiation. The Tiguan is cheaper than most of it’s mid-sized competitors, you can get everything but AWD for $32.5k MSRP (and again, probably closer to $30k real world. The Atlas starts a hair over $30k and maxed out just under $40k (both MSRP). What other similarly sized 3-row SUVs can be had at that price? And they all come with 6 year 72k mile warranty from MY2018 onward. Maybe if you’re shopping for a hot hatch they might be overpriced, but for the family-oriented cars they’re definitely in the sweet spot.

  • avatar

    Well, so close to getting excited. I have been looking to get a small SUV. I have been looking at a few including the x3, Stelvio and the CRV. The used x3 xdrive35i is dang near as expensive as a x5 xdrive35I. The Stelvio is new and a little more then I would like to pay. I really like the performance of the Alfa Romeo. The CRV was good for being cheap, but not as fast as I would like. Was hoping this would be the first hot Ute. It would be easy to exchange the 2.0 (same as the A4 ultra) for 2.0 found in the GTI or even better the 2.0 in the A4 (not the ultra) and tune the suspension.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    It’s astonishing how differently VW is viewed in Canada than in the USA. In Canada VW is accepted as a European marque and Passats, CC’s, even Tiguans are therefore generally considered more upscale than more mundane/mainstream Domestic, Korean and Japanese segment competition. More in line as a ‘junior’ Volvo.

    And in Canada their comprehensive warranty is ‘only’ 4 years/80,000kms, which equates to 50,000 miles.

    We can however still get deals on Jettas, but not so much on other VW products.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly true sir. The way the brands are presented up here I would consider my wife trading her Corolla for a Jetta an appreciable step up. Similarly, I consider my brother’s Tiguan to be in a demographic above the RAV4 and the CR-V twins. We just consider European to be intrinsically a class above Asian.

  • avatar

    I’d look hard at a Tiguan GTI (or Sportwagen, or Alltrack).

    Otherwise, passing interest only.

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