Drive Time: Bigger 2018 Tiguan a boost for VW
July 28, 2017
Good response came my way from last week's column regarding the Mercedes SL roadster. The SL has built a tremendous following over the past 60 years; it is recognized generally as one of Germany's finest products.
I did hear, too, a bit of muttering, something about the "excessive" $100,000-plus price for the Benz. I realized long ago that, "You cannot please all the people all of the time." So, for those waiting for something less than luxury, today "this Bud's for you."
It's the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, almost a foot longer than the previous Tiguan, with turbocharged engine and 8-speed automatic transmission, 4Motion all-wheel drive and backup camera. It brightens the roadways, finished in habanero orange hue.
All that, and priced at $27,495.
The cargo area inside the rear liftgate has been expanded to 37.6 cubic feet behind the second-row seating.
Jan and I loaded it with fishing rod, fly rod, tackle box, boot box, fishing jacket, shoulder bag, worm box, cooler. Still, lots of room left.
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A 184-horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbo 4-cylinder moves the Tiguan. Sure, it has some turbo lag, but I've driven enough turboed VWs over the years to accommodate that; it's the same with the ratchet handle still used to adjust height of the seat, I started using those with the old Beetles and Rabbits back in the '70s.
The Tiguan, a large compact crossover, carried us up the hills into Big Thompson Canyon, which we departed for the Devil's Gulch Road. At Glen Haven, we took a right at the store and ventured up the narrow, cabin-lined dirt road, visiting up and back with several cabin dwellers.
Though larger than a year ago, the Tiguan continues to be a nimble handler. Its wheelbase of 109 inches is 7 inches longer than before; it is equipped with struts and coils for front suspension and multilinks and coils at the rear, with antiroll bars all around. The VW rides on Bridgestone Ecopia 215/65R17 tires.
In addition to the roomy cargo space, the rear seating has ample legroom and headroom. The Tiguan, in front-wheel-drive form, can be bought with a third-row seat.
We were driving the AWD version, of course, which offers a dial-in of onroad, snow or offroad four-wheel control, as well as normal, eco, sport and custom settings for steering, gearing and engine response.
A drive in to Denver on Saturday with son Brent for the Mecum classic car auction raised the VW's overall fuel-mileage average to 26.7. Its EPA estimate is 21/27.
Of the VW's $27k price, $1,300 was for the 4Motion AWD setup. Navigation wasn't included.
Volkswagen is in the midst of launching a renewed presence in the SUV/crossover market.
The larger Tiguan is a major step in that goal, though VW will continue to produce the smaller one and call it the Tiguan Limited.
Another new arrival, in addition to the '18 Tiguan, is the VW Atlas, a three-row competitor that is the largest crossover ever introduced by the German maker. The company also will still produce the Touareg SUV, which joined the lineup in 2004.
All this expansion comes a year after showing off the ruggedly trimmed VW Alltrack, competing with the Subaru Outback.
With only the small Tiguan and the Touareg in the showrooms last year, VW sold fewer than 50,000 SUVs. Jeep and Ford sold around 800,000 apiece.
Judging from the drive in the roomier '18 Tiguan, VW's numbers will climb this year.
Oh, and the fishing? Two little ones, caught and released.
— Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.