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William Maley

Comments: 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show: 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Grows Up

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On the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen has introduced the second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan.

 

The new model looks to be a smaller version of the Tiguan. As for overall size, the Tiguan has grown 2.4 inches in overall length, 1.2 inches in overall width, and 1.3 inches lower. Overall weight has dropped 110 pounds thanks in part to the Tiguan moving towards the MQB platform.

 

The interior takes a lot of ideas from the Golf in terms of design with a similar dash design and placement of various controls. Available on the options list is a 12.3 screen in the instrument cluster that provides various information and a heads-up display.

 

For the European marketplace, Volkswagen will offer eight engines - both gasoline and diesel - ranging from 123 to 237 horsepower. Front-wheel and Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive will be available.

 

Volkswagen also revealed the Tiguan GTE concept which pairs a 1.4 TSI four-cylinder with an electric motor to produce a total output of 215 horsepower. A 13 kWh battery offers 31 miles of electric-only range.

 

Volkswagen says the 2017 Tiguan will go on sale in Europe next spring. As for the U.S., Volkswagen hasn't said when we'll be seeing it. But the German automaker has announced a seven-seat version destined for U.S. and China will be shown next fall.

 

Source: Volkswagen

 

 

Press Release is on Page 2


 

VOLKSWAGEN REVEALS ALL-NEW EUROPEAN TIGUAN AT THE FRANKFURT INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW

 

Sep 14, 2015

 

Based off the MQB platform, the new Tiguan revolutionises the compact SUV

  • Powerful, authentic SUV design of the new Tiguan was completely reconfigured
  • Tiguan is the first Volkswagen Group SUV to be based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB)
  • Longer, wider, lower – new vehicle architecture enables sportier proportions
  • Tiguan makes its debut at the IAA in an R-Line® version, a classic on-road version and a version with an off-road front end
  • Front Assist with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring, active hood, Lane Assist and the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System are fitted as standard
  • 520 litres of cargo capacity (additional 50 litres) and considerably more space in the rear thanks to longer wheelbase
  • Broader range of power (92 kW / 125 PS to 176 kW / 240 PS) and up to 24 percent better fuel economy
  • Arrives on the market in April 2016
  • Volkswagen is also showing the Tiguan GTE concept in Frankfurt with a plug-in hybrid drive and 1.9 litre per 100 km fuel consumption
  • Newly conceptualised solar roof module for the Tiguan GTE increases its electric driving range


Wolfsburg / Frankfurt, September 2015 — After selling over 2.64 million of the first generation Tiguan SUV, Volkswagen is showing the newly developed European Tiguan at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. In this case, "new" means completely new, a revolution instead of an evolution. The second generation Tiguan is the first Volkswagen Group SUV whose design is based off the forward-looking MQB platform.

 


On-road, off-road and plug-in hybrid

 

Volkswagen is showing four versions of the new Tiguan simultaneously at Frankfurt. The production versions are the very sporty Tiguan R-Line®, the classic on-road model and a special off-road version. Meanwhile, the Tiguan GTE concept vehicle that has a 160 kW/218 PS plug-in hybrid drivetrain shows how the best-selling compact SUV could further develop. The Tiguan GTE is equipped with a solar module that generates renewable electricity that is fed into the battery, enabling up to 1,000 additional kilometres of zero emissions electric driving.

 

A-SUV segment is booming

 

According to Volkswagen forecasts, the A-SUV segment will increase its global sales from 8.17 million today to more than 8.93 million units by 2018, which represents 9 per cent growth. The new Tiguan is optimally tailored for the requirements in this market segment. Perfectly thought out from the first to the last millimetre, it appeals to millions of car drivers and their families as a spacious and flexible companion for their everyday business and personal lives – an all-round vehicle of a new era.

 

The first generation Tiguan launched at the end of 2007 and to date, more than 2.64 million units have been produced. Even though the next generation is ready to take over, Volkswagen earned first place in SUV new vehicle registrations in Germany once again in July 2015 – just as it did in the previous months and years. The general trend of rapid growth in the A-SUV segment is reflected par excellence in this model series. In 2014, more than 500,000 Tiguans were produced, which was 9 per cent more than in the prior year.

 

Product offensive – Volkswagen SUVs in all classes

 

For Volkswagen, the new Tiguan marks the beginning of an SUV product offensive. In upcoming years, the brand will be launching other innovative SUVs that are tailored to specific markets in a wide variety of segments worldwide. Volkswagen will be extending the range of SUV vehicles it offers, especially in the U.S. Forecasts indicate that the SUV share will also increase significantly in China and that additional SUV growth will also occur in Europe. Unlike in Europe, drivers in the U.S. and China prefer versions with a longer wheelbase, which is the reason the new Tiguan was systematically developed for two different wheelbases from the start. The "long" Tiguan will be introduced to specific markets starting in the Fall of 2016.

 

"The Compact SUV."

 

The MQB architecture improves all aspects of the Tiguan. The proportions of the latest Volkswagen SUV are even sportier, the design is truly charismatic, and the vehicle's weight was reduced by more than 110 pounds compared to the previous model. A gigantic leap forward has been made in terms of the vehicle's interior and trunk space: the capacity of the trunk has increased by 1.8 cubic feet, to 18.4 cu ft, and the load space can be enlarged to 21.8 cu ft by sliding the rear bench seat forward, by up to 7.1 inches. When the rear seat is folded, the cargo capacity is 58.5 cu ft, a gain of 5.1 cu ft.

 

The engines are more efficient as well. A broad range of eight engines are offered, ranging in output from 92 kW / 125 PS to 176 kW / 240 PS. The engines are more powerful, yet they are up to 24 per cent more fuel-efficient than the Euro 5 engines in the previous model. The new 4MOTION® Active Control system also makes it easier than ever to adapt the all-wheel drive to all possible conditions. The Tiguan is now designed to tow loads up to 5,512 pounds.

 

The new Tiguan has class leading connectivity and driver assistance features. The assistance systems include standard Front Assist with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring, Lane Assist and Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. Connectivity services include automatic accident notification, online traffic and parking space information, and a vehicle status report, while App-Connect integrates all current smartphone platforms with the infotainment system.

 

The result is a Tiguan which extensively redefines the A-SUV segment. It’s an SUV that satisfies all expectations – both on-road and off-road.

 

Safety plus

 

New features include a pyrotechnically activated mechanism – similar to an airbag – integrated in the hood. This mechanism raises the hood as soon as a person comes into contact with it in a crash. This increases the gap between the hard engine and the relatively soft bonnet and thereby reduces the intensity of dangerous head injuries.

 

Among the new Tiguan’s safety features, are the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, the Front Assist ambient monitoring system including City Emergency Braking and – a new feature – Pedestrian Monitoring as standard. If the radar-based Front Assist of the Tiguan detects a person walking into the road, the system warns the driver. In a second step, it brakes the car. The new Tiguan is also equipped with Lane Assist as standard. This camera-based assistance system warns and automatically countersteers if the driver begins to unintentionally depart from the driving lane without activating a turn indicator.

 

Exterior design

 

The new, larger dimensions and proportions elevate the Tiguan from the previous model. At 176.6 inches in length, the new model is 2.4 in longer, and its wheelbase has been increased by 3.0 in to 105.6 in. The new vehicle is 72.4 in wide, which is 1.2 in more than before. Meanwhile, its height was reduced by 1.3 in to 64.3 in on the base, front-wheel-drive model. The coefficient of drag of the new Tiguan was reduced to 0.31 as well, thanks to numerous aerodynamic improvements, such as the door mirrors that were perfected in wind tunnel testing and airflow simulations: this has resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in overall air drag losses on the body.

 

The front end of the new Tiguan has a significantly wider stance. This is attributable to an actual increase in physical width plus the visual effect of the horizontally aligned radiator grille and headlights. The Tiguan is the first Volkswagen SUV to be equipped with dual LED headlights. Above the headlights, a chrome strip runs across the front of the car. Above the radiator grille and the headlights, the V-shaped hood shoots toward the windshield.

 

The vehicle's side profile is extremely distinctive. The waistline is higher compared with the previous model, which emphasises the SUV style. The character line is also higher and extends over the entire silhouette. The door handles are seamlessly positioned in this line. Beneath the upper line, a horizontal surface follows as a break, and then there is the second character line. Designers talk of a "line dialogue" here. The lower of these lines emphasizes the flared, powerful looking wheelarches and the shoulder section.

 

In contrast to the previous model, the area above the character line is a flatter and has a more elegant band of side windows. This band extends into the dynamically angled D-pillars. The lowest section of the body is an anthracite-coloured area that wraps around the vehicle; the same colour is used for the rugged plastic trim around the wheelarches. A chrome trim strip separates the body colour surfaces and the anthracite cladding. This chrome accent is continued at the rear.

 

The lateral character line becomes a defining rear element above the rear lights. The line defines the upper border of the standard LED rear lights that have a sharp horizontal cut. This cut is continued as a line between the rear lights and forms a trailing edge that is important aerodynamically. The tailgate opening was increased compared to the previous model, too. The lower part of the tail features an anthracite-coloured area and an aluminium-look diffuser that is integrated with the chrome-plated trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes.

 

Interior

 

The completely redesigned interior of the Tiguan has a decidedly sporty yet typically SUV character. The central elements are the instrument cluster (available as the digital Active Info Display) and the infotainment system that is positioned high in the centre stack and angled toward the driver. The dash panel and centre console form a single unit. The centre console itself is dominated by an array of buttons that are laid out around the gear lever. As on the exterior, the designers also systematically applied the "form follows function" principle and create a cockpit style atmosphere. The designers also emphasised the SUV nature of the interior in their choice of surface textures.

 

Thanks to clever packaging, seating space has been significantly improved in the new Tiguan, which has 1.0 in more interior length. Three passengers in the rear seating area, for instance, have 1.1 in more knee room. The size of the luggage compartment has also increased. At 18.4 cubic feet, the cargo capacity of the new model has increased by 1.8 cu ft (with five persons on-board). In addition, the rear bench seat is asymmetrically split and adjustable longitudinally. The reclining angle of the seat backrest can also be adjusted. The cargo area can be enlarged to 21.8 cu ft by sliding the rear bench seat forward (by up to 7.1 inches). When the rear bench is folded, this results in a volume of 58.5 cu ft. If necessary, the backrest of the front passenger seat can be folded fully forward for stowing very long items. Last but not least, it is now even easier to load the Tiguan, because the load sill has been lowered further.

 

An electronic marvel

 

The new Tiguan is one of the world's most advanced compact SUVs, featuring an impressive array of innovations. First, there are technologies like the 12.3-inch Active Info display (interactive, fully digital main instruments with five information profiles) and the head-up display that is being offered for the first time in a Volkswagen SUV. Second, the vehicle's safety, convenience and connectivity have been taken to a new level by an array of driver assistance and infotainment systems.

 

Even the base Trendline model has a number of advanced standard features. These include Front Assist that features City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring as well as the active hood and the Lane Assist lane departure warning system. In addition, the safety equipment is completed by a network of seven airbags, including a knee airbag on the driver's side, and the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System; it helps to avoid secondary collisions. Comfortline mid-level trims have the Driver Alert System as standard.

 

The top Highline trim is also equipped with adaptive cruise control (ACC), which utilizes radar to accelerate or brake the Tiguan and thus always maintain the correct distance to traffic ahead. If the SUV is equipped with DSG® in addition to ACC, it automatically handles stop-and-go traffic as well (traffic jam assist). Other Tiguan driver assistance systems include the optional Side Assist (lane-changing assistant), Pre-Crash proactive occupant protection (detects elevated collision potential, tensions the front seatbelts to preventively restrain the driver and front passenger and closes open windows and the sunroof to just a small gap), Emergency Assist (recognises if the driver is no longer responsive and brakes the car to a stop) and Area View (360 degree all-round view using four cameras that is especially useful off-road).

 

Comfort and convenience

 

The new Tiguan has a new three-zone automatic climate control system, called Pure Air Climatronic®. The technology, which is unique and so far only used by Volkswagen, keeps air quality at a consistently high level thanks to its air quality sensor and active biogenic filter, preventing pollutants from entering the car – from mold spores to allergens.

 

Fully redesigned seats have optional electric adjustment, while the available Smart Comfort Seats automatically travel downward and back to make it easier to enter and exit the vehicle when the ignition is turned off. In addition, the new ergoActive seat includes electric 4-way lumbar support and massage function.

 

Making trips long and short even more pleasant, the Tiguan has one of the largest panoramic sunroofs in the class (34.3 by 53.7 inches), which also features integrated ambient lighting. Other new comfort and convenience features include Easy Open / Easy Close (automatic opening or closing of the tailgate in response to a specific foot movement behind the Tiguan), a heatable steering wheel, and Volkswagen’s variable ratio electromechanical progressive steering.

 

Infotainment and connectivity

 

The Trendline trim is equipped with the Composition Touch radio system (5.0-inch monochrome touchscreen) as standard. The Tiguan Comfortline and Highline get the Composition Colour radio system (5.0-inch colour touchscreen) at no extra charge. The Composition Media radio system (8.0-inch colour touchscreen) is also available. Other options are the Discover Media and Discover Pro radio-navigation systems (both have 8.0-inch displays). All of these systems are part of the second generation modular infotainment matrix (MIB II).

 

MIB II creates seamless connectivity with today's Apple and Android smartphones via App Connect. In addition to MirrorLink®, App Connect also integrates Apple CarPlay® and Google Android Auto™ into the infotainment systems. The Media Control app makes Volkswagen one of the first automakers to also offer an interface to the infotainment system for tablets. Volkswagen also offers a number of online services. Guide & Inform lets users access services such as latest traffic warnings, information on available parking spaces in nearby car parks (number of spaces and address) and information on filling stations (fuel prices and addresses). For the first time, Volkswagen is also offering Security & Service, which can be used to request assistance from the vehicle via a call centre. Some of the features integrated here are online road service call, automatic accident notification, service scheduling (to arrange maintenance appointments for the Tiguan with the service centre) and requesting the vehicle status report. Depending on the package that is selected, it may also be possible to use a smartphone to request vehicle status or parking location or activate the parking heater function.

 

The smartphone itself can be placed conveniently in a newly designed and innovative interface box. The highlight here is that the phone can be charged and coupled to the vehicle's outside antenna inductively.

 

Powertrains

 

There are a total of eight Euro-6 compliant engines, all of which have turbocharging, direct injection, a stop-start system and battery regeneration as standard. The four TSI® gasoline engines produce 92 kW / 125 PS, 110 kW / 150 PS, 132 kW / 180 PS and 162 kW / 220 PS. The four TDI® diesel engines produce 85 kW / 115 PS, 110 kW / 150 PS, 140 kW / 190 PS and 176 kW / 240 PS. The base engines of the new Tiguan are launched with front-wheel drive, but all of the other engines are available with all-wheel drive either as an option or as standard. Compared to the previous model with Euro-5 engines, the four-cylinder engines in the new Tiguan are up to 24 per cent more fuel-efficient. Compared to previous Tiguans with Euro-6 engines, there is up to 10 percent better fuel efficiency.

 

Not only are the engines more efficient, they are also more powerful. The highest powered TSI engine previously made 150 PS in Europe, but now has two 2.0-litre engines with 180 and 220 PS. With the diesel engines, the most powerful TDI used to make 184 PS. This engine now makes 190 PS, but the top engine is the newly engineered 240-PS unit with twin turbos charging and 2,500 bar of injection pressure. With 88 kW / 120 PS per litre of displacement, the 2.0 TDI has one of the highest specific power outputs in the A-SUV segment.

 

4MOTION all-wheel drive

 

Volkswagen offers the highly efficient 4MOTION all-wheel drive system in the new Tiguan, either as an option or as standard, depending on the chosen engine. Ground clearance of all Tiguan 4MOTION versions is 0.4 inches higher, at 7.9 inches. In addition, the Tiguan can be ordered with a special off-road front end package that allows for an approach angle is 25.6 instead of 18.3 degrees. The departure angle at the rear is 24.7 degrees for all versions, as is the ramp angle. Specially developed for the new Tiguan is 4MOTION Active Control – an off-road switch with four different modes. Regardless of whether the vehicle has an on-road or off-road front end design, the new Tiguan is engineered for towing more than 5,500 pounds.

 

The 4MOTION all-wheel drive system uses a fifth-generation Haldex® coupling that actively distributes torque to all four wheels before slip occurs. In normal driving, only the front wheels are driven, saving fuel. But as soon as there is a risk of losing traction, the rear axle is variably engaged within fractions of a second. Along with the Haldex coupling, the electronic differential locks (EDS) integrated in the electronic stability control (ESC) system act as a transverse lock for all four wheels.

 

The rotary/pushbutton switch for the new 4MOTION Active Control is located on the centre console. The driver uses it to activate four higher-level modes and various popup menus. When the driver turns the switch to the left, one of the Onroad or Snow profiles can be activated for on-road driving. When the driver pushes the switch in one of these modes, a popup menu appears on the infotainment system’s touchscreen, showing the driving profile selection with five profiles. When the switch is turned to the right, the driver can select one of the two off-road profiles: Offroad (automatic setting of off-road parameters) or Offroad Individual (variable settings). Here too, pressing the switch opens another menu level. When driving off-road, 4MOTION Active Control lets drivers switch the assistance systems in just seconds.

 

Trim lines and packages

 

The new Tiguan will be available in the Trendline, Comfortline and Highline equipment lines in Europe. All versions may be ordered with an off-road front end as an alternative. The Tiguan Comfortline and Tiguan Highline feature a sporty look with the 'normal' front end. The new R-Line packages make the SUV look even more dynamic. The Comfortline and Highline may also be ordered with the Design package or in the Exclusive equipment specification.

 

The R-Line packages can be ordered as either a total package of exterior and interior features or an alternative exterior package. On the exterior, the R-Line features "Sebring" 19-inch aluminium-alloy wheels or optional 20-inch "Suzuka" alloys. Previously, Tiguans could only have rims up to 19 inches in diameter.

 

Except for the wheelarches, all other anthracite body surfaces are painted in body colour, including the exclusive door trims which have the same visual effect as side sill extensions. The exterior design is finished by R-Line bumpers that have gloss black aerodynamic accents, a two-tone roof spoiler and a gloss black rear diffuser. The interior features R-Line seats (cloth and microfiber seat upholstery, optional "Vienna" leather upholstery), aluminium door sill guards with the R-Line logo that can be optionally illuminated, decorative stitching in Crystal Grey, special trim accents, stainless steel pedal caps and footrest, black headliner and a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel with the R-Line logo.

 

Plug-in hybrid concept—with a solar roof!

 

Wolfsburg / Frankfurt, September 2015 — Demonstrating the future directions the Tiguan might take is the Tiguan GTE – the first plug-in hybrid SUV from Volkswagen, which the brand is showing at the IAA. This Volkswagen, which is being presented as a concept vehicle, develops a system power of 160 kW / 218 PS and can cover a distance of up to 50 km in "E-Mode" driving as an all-electric zero-emission vehicle. Its average fuel consumption (combined) is a mere 1.9 l/100 km; this equates to a CO2 emissions figure of 42 g/km. The relatively long electric driving range not only benefits from the externally chargeable lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 13.0 kWh, but also from a solar module that is integrated in the roof – a world exclusive. Under ideal conditions, the energy that it generates annually is sufficient to add up to 1,000 km of driving range (Germany 500 km, Southern Europe 800 to 1,000 km), depending on the regional solar radiation power.

 

TSI plus E plus DSG

 

The concept car is driven via its front axle by a direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine (1.4 TSI with 115 kW) and an electric motor. The lithium-ion high-voltage battery supplies the electric motor with energy. The Tiguan GTE operates with a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) that was specially developed for hybrid use. The electric motor was integrated into the gearbox housing. Additional components of the hybrid drive include the power electronics (converts DC power from the battery to AC power for the electric motor) and a charger. The Tiguan GTE can be driven in the described E-Mode or in one of the three other modes Hybrid, Battery Charge, or GTE. After starting the drive system, the concept vehicle automatically drives off in "E-Mode". When a minimum charge level of the battery has been reached or when there is very high demand for power, the drive system automatically switches over to the "Hybrid" mode. This means that "E-Mode" is deactivated, and the Tiguan GTE now behaves like a classic full hybrid vehicle. It charges the battery regeneratively during deceleration and automatically uses the TSI and/or electric motor according to the driving situation. By pressing the "E-Mode" button, the driver can manually switch to zero-emissions operation if necessary. Exclusively driven by electric motor, the Tiguan then has a top speed of 130 km/h.

 

GTE mode as boost function

 

The driver presses the GTE button to switch to GTE mode, which activates the sporty side of the concept car. This GTE mode is an exclusive feature of all Volkswagen vehicles with a plug-in hybrid drive system. The characteristics of the accelerator pedal, gearbox and steering are made noticeably more dynamic, and the tuning of the TSI is more performance oriented. In addition, in the GTE mode the TSI and electric motor work together in what is known as "boosting" which makes the full system power and the maximum system torque available. The Tiguan GTE then has a top speed of 200 km/h and accelerates to 100 km/h in a short 8.1 seconds.


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I really like the looks of the current generation and there's something about this that doesn't strike me as attractive. It did need to grow a bit as it was slightly undersized or the segment, good to hear it lost weight as well.

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I tend to like this more than the current generation.  I think the current Tiguan has a bit of a roller skate look, this to me being longer, wider, lower is a bit more squared off, and looks a bit more trucky.  VW needs some more crossover sales, this might help.

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improved, still bland outside but the German fanbois will eat it up.

 

The inside is much better.  Looks like it has a real trunk now too.

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Looks good with the big chunky wheels and nice interior. Will be interesting to see it in the flesh and pricing when it makes it over here.

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      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
      There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is.
      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
      If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length.
      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
      The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids.
      Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9.
      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      In a month's time, Europe will be switching from much maligned New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). Automakers are scrambling to get models certified under this new procedure. This presents a big problem for Volkswagen as they don't have enough engineers to make sure their vehicles to meet the new standards.
      According to Reuters, Volkswagen lost a number of engineers that specialized in engine calibration ever since the company revealed they were using illegal software on their diesel vehicles to cheat emission tests.
      “Engine development expertise has been lost,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess.
      It is so bad, that Volkswagen believes it will affect their financial results for the second half of this year as they might not be able to get a number of vehicles out on the road. The company said there would a bottleneck of certain model variants between now and October.
      Volkswagen is working hard to try and overcome this problem. They have plucked BMW engine development expert Markus Duesmann last week to try and get through this mess.
      Source: Reuters

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      In a month's time, Europe will be switching from much maligned New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). Automakers are scrambling to get models certified under this new procedure. This presents a big problem for Volkswagen as they don't have enough engineers to make sure their vehicles to meet the new standards.
      According to Reuters, Volkswagen lost a number of engineers that specialized in engine calibration ever since the company revealed they were using illegal software on their diesel vehicles to cheat emission tests.
      “Engine development expertise has been lost,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess.
      It is so bad, that Volkswagen believes it will affect their financial results for the second half of this year as they might not be able to get a number of vehicles out on the road. The company said there would a bottleneck of certain model variants between now and October.
      Volkswagen is working hard to try and overcome this problem. They have plucked BMW engine development expert Markus Duesmann last week to try and get through this mess.
      Source: Reuters
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen's Chattanooga, TN plant will soon have two more vehicles rolling off the line.
      Hinrich Woebcken, VW's North American CEO told Autocar that the upcoming I.D. Buzz and Crozz EVs for the region will be built at Chattanooga.
      “For strong product momentum, they need to be produced in the USA. It’s not possible to come into a high-volume scenario with imported cars. We want to localise electric mobility in the US,” said Woebcken.
      Woebcken also revealed that the models would be 'Americanized'.
      Source: Autocar

      View full article
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