Review: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline

Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: October 19, 2017


You asked for it, and Volkswagen delivered. Customers wanted the charm, drive, and accessibility of the outgoing Tiguan, but wanted a little bit more room inside without forking more money for the larger Touareg or Atlas. So VW has found the solution by giving the Tiguan a little bit of the blue pill, allowing this compact crossover to swell up in almost every dimension. Overall length has stretched out by 271 mm, there’s 57% more cargo space, and a 111 mm longer wheelbase aids in adding more legroom for back row passengers. VW has also added optional third-row seating to boost up maximum capacity to seven passengers.



There’s a great deal of wiggle room for both the first and second row occupants. The second row seats are also situated on rails, which can slide fore and aft - a great idea since the space in the third row is abysmal. VW may market it as a functional back seat but even small children will be complaining to get out. It almost just feels like a marketing ploy to attract customers. The Nissan Rogue does the same.


On the bright side, if you forget about the third row, the Tiguan offers one of the most spacious cabins in the segment. It’s quite an appealing alternative to the smaller Golf Alltrack too, unless you’re a wagon lover like us. The extra ride height helps, and VW deceptively hides all that added girth with clever styling that covers up the new muffintop. The lack of curves and the abundance of straight lines may give off a slightly boring and corporate look, but this handsome Tiguan dressed up in Habanero Orange looks quite charming, almost like a little Charmander.


So what’s the silver lining? Is there a tradeoff for the added size? Hardly. The Tiguan still rides well thanks to the underpinnings of the MQB platform that we enjoyed in the Golf and Atlas. The suspension is a bit stiff for my liking, but it’s soft enough to endure long journeys without any complaints. The ride is more compliant on the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

But it’s the steering that really stands out. Like the outgoing model, the Tiguan is a joy to drive. It has tidy handling, steers and turns corners with eagerness, and body roll is kept in check, but this is the only area where you’d ever feel the gain in size. The rear slugs along sometimes and refuses to rotate as quickly as the front. It’s still feels much sportier than its competitors, though.



The powertrain is the Tiguan’s weakest link. Though it delivers spirited steering and the 2.0L four-cylinder is rather potent when the turbo is boosted up, it lags a little and putters along with an uncharacteristically harsh diesel-like noise - it’s not a pleasant sounding motor. The throttle is overly sensitive, and delivers harsh and abrupt acceleration too. Far from a linear powerband, the Tiguan quickly loses steam at the top end too. The weak and unpredictable engine response slightly ruins the “sporty” driving experience. Though the 8-speed automatic does well keeping the turbos on boost, it never feels invigorating or exciting. Overall, a bland drive despite its sharp corner carving abilities.



The interior definitely feels upscale with glossy materials and dressed up plastics, but nothing here feels cheap or bottom shelf. Fortunately, the Tiguan still uses a volume and tuning knob but the rest of the controls are now touch-operated. Much to my enjoyment, there is a handy all-in-one button for the heated steering wheel and heated seats (with three-mode adjustment), meaning one push is all that’s needed to get your body toasty in the colder months. All the newest modern tech is also available on higher trim levels, like a 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, and remote engine start (the first I’ve seen in a VW). It also borrows Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster.



The Tiguan ($28,925 - $39,175) goes up against some big competition in this compact crossover segment, but the main ones that stand out to me at the Honda CR-V ($27,090 - $38,490), Toyota RAV4 ($27,605 - $38,385), Nissan Rogue ($25,948 - $36,298), and Subaru Forester ($25,995 - $39,495). The Tiguan has its advantages - it’s arguably the most upscale out of the bunch with finer materials and better craftsmanship, but it is slightly more expensive because of it. The Tiguan also delivers the best infotainment experience and steering feel, but is outmatched by every other competitor’s powertrains. The Forester has superior safety equipment, outward visibility, and engine output, and the Rogue has the cheapest prices with the option of third-row seating as well. Shame about its CVT. The CR-V remains a safe choice, but has less torque than the bunch and is a bit staid and sober to drive - it’s not the cheapest option here either. And the RAV4 is the only one to offer a hybrid powertrain. If you’re looking for a diesel, the Chevrolet Equinox has got one.


So there you have it. The new Tiguan is a handsome crossover that has listened to its fans and grown in size. With more cargo space and passenger carrying capacity than before, this cleverly packaged Tiguan is a tour de force in this heated segment. If the powertrain were more refined and had a bit of gusto, it would have been my go-to choice, but despite its great steering feel and haven of tech features, the Tiguan’s rivals have it outmatched with better engines, transmissions, and smaller price tags.


Photo Gallery:








型号 Model: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline

顏色 Paint Type: Habanero Orange
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $39,175

試車售價 Price as Tested: $40,645
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,789
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,701 / 1,839 / 1,684

車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,750
引擎 Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 184 hp @ 4,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 221 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD

油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 10.6 / 8.7
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.7





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