Volkswagen is in the midst of remaking its SUV lineup.
Just in the past few years the company has added a five-seat version of the Atlas – the Atlas Cross Sport – as well as adding the Taos small SUV and the ID.4 EV. Now the venerable Tiguan, which was the veteran of the group, has gone under the knife.
Today’s review is brought to you by water: Water! It’s moist. The other day when I handed over the keys to the Golf Sportwagen, my dealer’s service department loaned me this base model 2021 Tiguan S 4Motion. There’s no glass on the roof so it’s almost certain not to leak water, but what about its other characteristics?
The Volkswagen Tiguan isn’t about to take a back seat to the Taos.
While the latter is going to make a lot of news as a new small crossover in the brand’s lineup — indeed, I will have my first sampling next week, with a review later in May when the embargo lifts — the already-existing Tiguan isn’t going anywhere. And VW is using a refresh to remind us of that fact.
Volkswagen just revealed the new Tiguan. For next year.
Why did the brand take the virtual wraps off the refreshed version of the Tiguan a year and a half before it goes on sale here, as a 2022 model? Because Europe gets it first. It goes on sale there “shortly.”
Might as well just gather media via Skype and tell us all about it now, apparently.
Volkswagen may be a mainstream brand, but it’s difficult to criticize when it comes to the polish of its products. Regardless of how long their individual components actually last under sustained usage, climbing into a VW model frequently gives the impression that you’ve found yourself inside a quality item. If that’s all it took to make a great car, VW would be king of the scrap heap every year. Yet people tend to demand a lot from their vehicle, including performance, and that’s an area where the automaker often falters.
Going up in trim on a Volkswagen rarely includes a burlier powertrain. The brand is all about rightsizing the basics in the U.S., leaving the options list for technological enhancements and all-wheel drive. There’s also an expansive R-Line trim, but its upgrades are mostly cosmetic, offering the style of a performance trim with nothing to back it up. If you want real thrills from the manufacturer, you’d best select a Golf model with the GTI or R suffix.
What if you don’t want a modestly sized hatchback, though? It’s not like there will ever be a compact crossover equivalent, as VW promised the GTI name would remain exclusive to small, peppy economy cars back in 2017. Could an automaker go back on its word? Provided there’s sufficient time between promises made, of course it can.
The annual sales volumes of Volkswagen’s U.S. arm, if placed on a line graph, would resemble deep sea swells, rising and falling by significant amounts as the company reinvents itself again and again. Today, Volkswagen of America is an SUV-heavy automaker that really wants you to think about eco-conscious electric cars.
The utility vehicles are here. More are on the way, but so too are a selection of EVs. With 2019 sales now on the books, we can look at the current wave and speculate as to its final height.
The diesel emissions scandal that continues swirling around Volkswagen’s German workforce is merely a far-off cloud for the folks at Volkswagen of America. Sunny skies reign, thanks to a decision to go heavy into “Americanized” crossovers.
Sure, the Jetta and Golf families continued their downward trajectory, joined in the descent by VW’s Passat sedan, but those lost sales are more than made up for by two nameplates: Tiguan and Atlas. Break out the iced tea.
If you’re in the market for a very small (for its class) German crossover that demands premium fuel, you’ll soon be out of luck. Volkswagen says the Tiguan Limited — the old model kept in production alongside the newer, much larger Tiguan — will not return for the 2019 model year.
Instead, buyers who can’t go without a Tiguan badge on their vehicle will have to come to grips with knowing they’ll need to spend just over two grand more to satisfy their urge. Alas, we all knew it couldn’t last long.
Volkswagen’s pre-dieselgate “take over the world” scheme appears to have returned in a smaller, more manageable form. Now, VW’s plan is simply to plunder the compact crossover segment — not an easy task, given the fierce competition.
The automaker’s strategy involves spanning the segment with two vehicles carrying the name badge. The old, criticised-for-its-size Tiguan continues on as the Tiguan Limited, while the new-for-2018 next-generation model ferries three rows of passengers on a nearly 11-inch longer wheelbase. Now, we learn of Phase 2 of VW’s plan. Chop the price.
The first salvo in Volkswagen’s battle to win the hearts and cash of the American populace arrived in the form of two crossovers: the new full-size Atlas and the vastly updated (and enlarged) second-generation Tiguan.
Both models sport three rows of seating, a key strategy for expanding the brand’s sales volume and appeal. Phase Two of the company’s U.S. campaign, however, involves ripping those seats out.
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.
This commercial is not a circa 1970 follow-up to 1969’s infamous Woodstock Music & Art Fair. It’s not a the result of marketers in the 1980s looking back 10 or 15 years. It’s not Volkswagen’s late-to-the-party retro take on counterculture. No, this is Volkswagen’s People First Warranty commercial from 2017. Today.
It is a wholehearted embrace of Volkswagen’s history. The Microbus. An original Beetle. Hippies.
“I think what’s powerful about it,” Volkswagen of America’s marketing director Greg Tebbutt says, “is we’ve got a heritage story that is unique to us and only we can tell.”
But there’s something conspicuously absent from the 60-second “Rain” spot.
It took Volkswagen forever. But finally, in 2008, more than a decade after the compact SUV craze began, the first-generation Tiguan landed on U.S. shores. The Tiguan was more premium-priced than it deserved to be and smaller than it needed to be, but with a potent powerplant and fun-loving on-road behavior, those who could afford it and fit in it were happy.
It took Volkswagen forever. But finally, in the summer of 2017, nearly a decade after the first Tiguan arrived and eventually watched the release of two new Honda CR-Vs, two new Hyundai Tucsons, countless rival redesigns, and a bevy of new competitors, the second-generation Tiguan landed on U.S. shores.
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is now competitively priced. It’s properly sized — marginally larger than many rivals rather than distinctly smaller. This time, however, because of extra weight and an intransigent powertrain, the Tiguan doesn’t feel quite so punchy off the line. And in place of a dynamic repertoire vaguely reminiscent of an Mk5 Golf GTI — lively steering, quick turn-in, grippy cornering — the 2018 Tiguan is comfort-focused, keen on absorbing and mollifying and coddling.
Bigger, more comfortable, and arguably more attractive? The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan finally sounds like a Tiguan American crossover buyers might actually want.
Unlike Mercedes-AMG, Volkswagen’s R performance division isn’t much of a sub-brand. While the VW Golf R remains the industry’s quintessential hot hatch, there’s no shortage of rivals ready and willing to usurp its position as a segment leader. Also, one model does not a sub-brand make.
Down the road from VW’s Wolfsburg, Germany, headquarters, the executives in Stuttgart can’t AMG-ify Mercedes-Benz products fast enough. SUVs, “coupe” variants of SUVs, sedans, and legit coupes are all going under the knife, emerging with taut suspension, improved driving dynamics, and an all-important shot of horsepower — traditionally in “strong” and “extra strong” doses. Not only does it improve an automaker’s image, it also helps sell high-profit utility vehicles.
Volkswagen requires some of Mercedes-AMG’s medicine. Now, according to a recent report, it may have the cure it’s looking for.
Eight Consecutive Months of Volkswagen Sales Improvement Ends in July 2017 - Crossover Volume Still Very Low
After steady declines even prior to the diesel emissions scandal of nearly two years ago, Volkswagen of America took another serious hit in 2016 — the best year on record for the auto industry. Compared with 2012, Volkswagen volume sank by 85,000 sales last year.
But by the end of 2016, Volkswagen’s U.S. sales volume was beginning to rise again. True, that rise was in comparison with a true low — Volkswagen sales in the final one-sixth of 2016 were up 22 percent year-over-year but were 17-percent lower than in the same period of 2012 — but Volkswagen was bouncing back.
The bounce back continued through the first half of 2017, with Volkswagen sales through June up 8 percent despite the market’s 2-percent downturn.
Perhaps July was just a blip on the radar. But Volkswagen’s eight-month streak of improvement screeched to a halt last month as the U.S. auto industry reported its most significant losses of the year, and as Volkswagen’s new SUV lineup continues to dip its toes in American waters.
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