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2018 Tiguan Drive


Frisky Dingo

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We've gotten our first Tiguans in and I've got a decent little drive a few times. I've thus far driven an SEL Premium 4Motion (2 row) and an SE FWD (3 row). My impressions follow-

 

The Good-

Overall driving dynamics. Steering is crisp and precise, with nice weight. Handling is beyond competent with a generally eager nature and it is happy going through corners. It really feels like a larger, taller Golf. Which it essentially is. 

Solid structure. It feels stiff and solid. Like most other VW's. It is quiet, and it rides quite well, even with the 19" wheels found on the top-trim SEL Premium.

Virtual Cockpit really takes mainstream segment infotainment to the next level. There is a multitude of combinations that can be played with to display the information you wish to see most.

The large in-dash screen and surrounding controls are neat, clear, and easy to use, as with other VW's.

Seats were comfortable for the time I spent in them. Second row is quite spacious when slid back to the max. Third row is easy to access and will easily accommodate a few kids up to early-teen range for a decent distance. With the 2nd row scooted up a bit, adults of a smaller stature could fit in a pinch.

Styling. It's safe and conservative like most others, but it's handsome enough, and isn't shouty. It's understated and will age well.

Outward visibility is great.

Standard and available features.

 

The Just Okay-

Packaging. Limiting LED headlights to the top-spec SEL Premium is a major oversight. It's also the only trim to get Fender audio. 

The cargo area with both rear rows of seats folded down isn't completely flat.

The second row seat does not release and slide as easily as other models, the Atlas in particular.

Pricing. Although the Tiguan does have a few party tricks up it's sleeve- 3rd row, Virtual Cockpit, etc- trim level for trim level, it costs a little more than competitors. Considering how little VW will incentivize them, they may be a hard sell in upper trims.

 

The Bad- 

Powertrain. The reviews aren't lying. I personally hate this segment of vehicles, and though others are guilty of the same problem, this new 2.0T just doesn't cut it. It's adequate for a few people in normal driving, but when pushed, it takes too long to downshift, gets confused, and is generally caught out of power. I couldn't imagine this thing loaded up with a family of 4-5 and their belongings, or worse, when loaded with 7 passengers. It would be an absolute dog. There is some assistance in higher trim models that get the Individual Drive Modes from the GTI that allow you to adjust the response of the throttle, the steering weight, etc. When put in 'Sport' for drivetrain, it does get noticeably more competent in it's shifting duties and is more ready to move forward. Lower models don't get it and you're stuck with it in it's most relaxed state of tune. 

Going hand in hand with that, the FWD model I drove spun it's front tires easily and often. In an attempt to over come the lack of pop, judicious throttle applications would result in spinning of tires and torque steer. And this thing does not have enough grunt to have to be dealing with torque steer.

Gas mileage kinda sucks.

 

 

I certainly wouldn't tell anyone with their first, or even two kids, to not go look at one, but this is not a stand in for a proper 3-row CUV. It has very nice driving manners, is generally well-equipped, and I struggle to think of a competitor that I clearly like more, so I will not discount it. There's a lot to like, even with the lackluster power. I think if I needed that 3rd row for any more than very occasional use, I would just go up a segment. My trim of choice would be a SEL 4Motion.

I was waiting to drive one of these to confirm or rule it out of consideration as a replacement for my wife's Rav4. I think I have ruled it out, as much as it pains me to say. WHy they didn't put the 2.0T they are using in the Atlas in this thing is beyond me. It lags rivals in fuel economy anyway, so why not give it some firepower to make up for it. The Atlas's 230+ hp and 250+ tq would transform this vehicle. A TDI would make it near perfect. Shame. I think the lack of power will leave this off my list for now.

 

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Ugh!  You beat me to the first one!  I was hunting these down the last few weeks!

disappointing that the power train sucks!  I thought the last Tiguan was a bad drive. Was hoping with the big new size the power train would be good!!  Guess not. 

Size and bonus third row with 2.0t at a low price were the draw here. For example I considered this vs a new equinox for someone like my mom. But maybe in this case the base ford edges are getting cheaper and cheaper and sans third row might be a better buy if the mpg sucks on the small Tiguan. 

Vw just never gets 100% of it right at one time. I really disliked the last Tiguan so I guess even if it's greatly improved, that is a good thing. 

Side note. Car and driver had an equinox 2.0 test and they actually complimented the power train. Maybe that's the rav replacement ?  Or what about a 2.0 atlas?

Edited by regfootball
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12 hours ago, regfootball said:

Ugh!  You beat me to the first one!  I was hunting these down the last few weeks!

disappointing that the power train sucks!  I thought the last Tiguan was a bad drive. Was hoping with the big new size the power train would be good!!  Guess not. 

Size and bonus third row with 2.0t at a low price were the draw here. For example I considered this vs a new equinox for someone like my mom. But maybe in this case the base ford edges are getting cheaper and cheaper and sans third row might be a better buy if the mpg sucks on the small Tiguan. 

Vw just never gets 100% of it right at one time. I really disliked the last Tiguan so I guess even if it's greatly improved, that is a good thing. 

Side note. Car and driver had an equinox 2.0 test and they actually complimented the power train. Maybe that's the rav replacement ?  Or what about a 2.0 atlas?

 

Again, my review probably makes it sound worse than it is, and it is definitely reviewed with an enthusiast slant. There's definitely other players that are guilty of the same problem- Rav4, previous CX-5, and CR-V. It's lightyears better than the outgoing Equinox and Terrain.

 

Trouble is, I would have never considered any of those vehicles. I was hoping this would be the one I could swallow, but alas, it's not. I would much rather have an Alltrack. As for your suggestions, I do not like the new Equinox styling. Atlas 2.0T is limited to FWD models. Idk that I'd rule it out until I drive one, but it doesn't look promising. 

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:worthless:

Would love to see some of your own pics here like the back with 2nd and 3rd row folded down. Also would like to see at night the Virtual Cockpit and a comparison photo of it during the day. Be interesting to see.

Appreciate the honest multiple drive review, always good to see they have a solid foundation, but clearly need to tweak it a bit. I will never understand why come out with less than the best impression for an auto and then at the end of life after say 7 or 8 years they finally build it the way everyone says they should have built it from day one. My 2006 Escalade ESV Platinum is that way, they finally addressed everything that people were asking fro since 2001. 

Wish they would bring it out as the best possible then say where and how do we take it from here. I think auto companies would gain loyal and strong sales compared to some of the lackluster auto's that disappointed people after showing a hot concept auto that was green lighted.

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2 hours ago, dfelt said:

:worthless:

Would love to see some of your own pics here like the back with 2nd and 3rd row folded down. Also would like to see at night the Virtual Cockpit and a comparison photo of it during the day. Be interesting to see.

Appreciate the honest multiple drive review, always good to see they have a solid foundation, but clearly need to tweak it a bit. I will never understand why come out with less than the best impression for an auto and then at the end of life after say 7 or 8 years they finally build it the way everyone says they should have built it from day one. My 2006 Escalade ESV Platinum is that way, they finally addressed everything that people were asking fro since 2001. 

Wish they would bring it out as the best possible then say where and how do we take it from here. I think auto companies would gain loyal and strong sales compared to some of the lackluster auto's that disappointed people after showing a hot concept auto that was green lighted.

 

I am a firm believer that MFR's design cars with easily fixable flaws intentionally so that they can do a facelift to address complaints and spur sales again. There are precious few makers who I think are putting their best foot forward with every model introduction.

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GM is as bad as any for what you just described. 

Cx-5 drive decently when I tested one long time ago but the Mazda power trains are always lame to me. They redid some of the cx-5 now and the interior is nicer but still no amazing engines. 

I think Tiguan is disappointing because we always set ourselves up to think vw's may drive better.  I think they had a huge chance here but probably went 'the safe route'

Edited by regfootball
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 Remember, the Tiguan and other CUVs in it's niche are just basic point a to point b transportation for the masses to haul kids around in..not for driving enthusiasts.  Buyers of such appliances only care that they are reliable.  VW probably dumbed it down for the US market as far as suspension settings, etc. 

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4 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

 Remember, the Tiguan and other CUVs in it's niche are just basic point a to point b transportation for the masses to haul kids around in..not for driving enthusiasts.  Buyers of such appliances only care that they are reliable.  VW probably dumbed it down for the US market as far as suspension settings, etc. 

 

The suspension and all that stuff is great. It's just lacking power.

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Was just looking at Tiguans last month.... for a friend.

We needed to get something with a bunch of incentives because her old car was buried in negative equity.  VW had some decent money.

Ended up with the Golf Alltrack instead of the Tiguan.  

Not that it would have helped, but how in the heck did they get a 3rd row of seats in what was (in the 2017's we looked at) a very small back cargo area?  Rear-facing?

Also, the 2.0 that she drove was not bad.  But the rated mpg's coupled with just adequate power was what made it a terrible choice in my opinion.

The 1.8 in the Golf Alltrack was rated much better and it moved the car as well as the 2.0 in the Tiguan, from my seat of the pants perception on the test drive.

If it weren't for the Golf Alltrack, she would have possibly bought something other than a VW.

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Well I was just happy to find out that the third row is an option.  I "built" a new Tiguan in green over at VW's site and it came up at $27k for the config I'd want (just $1k more than my Jeep), but the fuel mileage figures are down considerably from my Jeep Compass, which amazes me with its real world consumption (stands at 31.5 overall according to DIC with 5500 miles so far... GREAT!).  As mentioned... a TDi Tiguan would rock my socks, but alas, cool heads are nowhere to be found.

Edited by ocnblu
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On 7/26/2017 at 2:03 PM, lengnert said:

Was just looking at Tiguans last month.... for a friend.

We needed to get something with a bunch of incentives because her old car was buried in negative equity.  VW had some decent money.

Ended up with the Golf Alltrack instead of the Tiguan.  

Not that it would have helped, but how in the heck did they get a 3rd row of seats in what was (in the 2017's we looked at) a very small back cargo area?  Rear-facing?

Also, the 2.0 that she drove was not bad.  But the rated mpg's coupled with just adequate power was what made it a terrible choice in my opinion.

The 1.8 in the Golf Alltrack was rated much better and it moved the car as well as the 2.0 in the Tiguan, from my seat of the pants perception on the test drive.

If it weren't for the Golf Alltrack, she would have possibly bought something other than a VW.

 

Great choice, my man!! The Alltrack is an excellent little car. I would park one in my driveway along my GTI yesterday if not for needing one vehicle that is a little bigger and can accomodate several kids or adults for a long trip.

I was hoping the new Tiguan would fill that void, but I'm doubting it now.  

As for your statements, the old Tiguan is plenty punchy, yes. But it's too small, rides poorly, and has poor mileage. The new one is all new and much, much larger.

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On 8/7/2017 at 11:13 AM, Frisky Dingo said:

 

Great choice, my man!! The Alltrack is an excellent little car. I would park one in my driveway along my GTI yesterday if not for needing one vehicle that is a little bigger and can accomodate several kids or adults for a long trip.

I was hoping the new Tiguan would fill that void, but I'm doubting it now.  

As for your statements, the old Tiguan is plenty punchy, yes. But it's too small, rides poorly, and has poor mileage. The new one is all new and much, much larger.

Thanks, yeah I think the Golf was a very good choice for her too.  And she seems to be enjoying it so far.

I am not surprised they enlarged the new Tiguan.  The last model surprised me with how small the cargo area in the back was.

I may have to go back and see the new one now!

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I was lurking at the VW lot last wknd checking out the Alltracks and new Tiguans.  Anyone who has been around here for a while knows I am a VW lover, having owned several.  When I stuck my nose tight against the Tiguan's back glass, I was actually sort of underwhelmed by the space behind the second row.  Visually it seems like my Jeep at least matches it.  The rear doors on the Tiguan are 3 miles long, and it looks like it has good room back there, but I also think my Jeep has a relatively roomy second row.  Plus... the Tiguan's looks are soooo buttoned down, even for a VW.  They are famous for their functional, conservative style since forever, but it is a little sleepy looking, even for me.

 

Although the T-Roc will be smaller still, I think it will be a spunky little ute, with its body-color interior trim and more spirited style.  There are YouTube vids on the T-Roc and I'll be innerested in seeing it in person.

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15 hours ago, ocnblu said:

I was lurking at the VW lot last wknd checking out the Alltracks and new Tiguans.  Anyone who has been around here for a while knows I am a VW lover, having owned several.  When I stuck my nose tight against the Tiguan's back glass, I was actually sort of underwhelmed by the space behind the second row.  Visually it seems like my Jeep at least matches it.  The rear doors on the Tiguan are 3 miles long, and it looks like it has good room back there, but I also think my Jeep has a relatively roomy second row.  Plus... the Tiguan's looks are soooo buttoned down, even for a VW.  They are famous for their functional, conservative style since forever, but it is a little sleepy looking, even for me.

 

Although the T-Roc will be smaller still, I think it will be a spunky little ute, with its body-color interior trim and more spirited style.  There are YouTube vids on the T-Roc and I'll be innerested in seeing it in person.

 

No. Just no. The new Tiguan shames most others in the space department, especially behind the 2nd row. I've had them open alongside pre-owned competitors, and in many cases, it's not even really close.

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  • 4 months later...

Sat in one today.  Didn't drive it, but actually seemed ok inside to me.  It was a cloth version.  It's not luxurious, but it doesn't to me come off as bad.  Simple and clean dash layout, not fancy.  Good space utilization, front and back, and lots of trunk room (AWD version).  Improvement over the last Tiguan to me.  I may try to go drive one one of these days.  

Edited by regfootball
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I'm still waiting for someone to drop some tuning software for this thing before I consider one for actual purchase.

I almost bought a silver Atlas SEL 4Motion R Line last week. Until one of our porters scraped the front bumper on a fence and curbed a wheel on a parking block. And there went that.

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