The 2018 VW Tiguan Is Still Weird In Two Ways

In the pursuit of volume sales, the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan destined for North America has been brushed with the normal stick.

It’s square, has a conventional-looking grille, has power comparable to the best-sellers in a class that includes the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V and does everything it can to blend in and not offend.

OK, it still has a weird name. “Tiguan” has never rolled off the tongue, but VW clearly wasn’t concerned enough to change it for the American market unlike the larger Atlas SUV that will be called Teramont everywhere else. The U.S.-bound, Mexico-made Tiguan is a larger variant of the model already on sale in other countries and will be known as the Tiguan Allspace. Which I keep calling the “Allspice” instead.

But the stranger aspect of the new Tiguan is that it is offered with a third-row seat, bringing capacity to a theoretical seven passengers. While the Nissan Rogue offers one and the Mitsubishi Outlander comes standard with seven seatbelts, these are cheap seats for sure. The Tiguan’s, however, might be the tightest squeeze. It’s placed practically on the floor, it seems to be lower than you think it really is whenever you try to sit down. Another auto show visitor got in through the other side as I sat back there and I ended up sitting uncomfortably close to this person I’d never met. Consider this if you ever get into a three-row Tiguan uberPool.

There are nice touches, like the fact the cargo cover actually fits in the cubby under the cargo floor, so it’s not forever gathering dust in your garage. The second-row, at least, slides easily forward and is less complicated to operate than in even more expensive three-row SUVs. And the new Tiguan itself is nicely finished, as we found when we tested a European-market example, though all the examples at Detroit were the top-trim SEL models.

The new Tiguan will probably be distinguished enough in the class thanks to its optional gadgets and the fact it’s finally a good size for the U.S. market. Cargo space with just two rows of seats gives the new CR-V a run for its money, and it’s probably as hatch-like to drive as the Escape or a Mazda CX-5. That third row in it, however, will be a source of amusement if you’re seated in a more spacious area – or anguish if you drew the short straw.

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  • Ilbirs

    Maybe this akward third row on the Tiguan Allspace is due to how raked is the rear. forcing the designers to low the H point of that seats to free some headroom. Compare this to the third row of the Touran II (same MQB platform, same wheelbase):–WNooAoUqnZutF6DhcrZIrnNRQCLcB/s1600/2018-VW-Tiguan-Allspace-NAIAS%2B-%2B11.jpg

    As can be seen, the bottom seats raises a little bit when the third row is used, making this position a little less uncomfortable than actually is. As can be noticed, Touran’s II rear is also more upright than Tiguan Allspace’s, preventing the occupant’s heads to be too close the roof as they’d be if the Tiguan have this kind of solution:

    We must also that not only Touran II is roomier than Tiguan Allspace but also smaller outside than the extended version of the SUV sibling:

  • William

    Having seen a few of the short-wheelbase Tiguan MK2’s on my recent trip to Europe, I can understand why VW decided to bring only the long wheelbase. The SWB’s are incredibly short in person (at least visually) and wouldn’t have boded well with VW’s efforts to Americanize its US portfolio, in my opinion.

    • The LWB Tiguan does not look sporty…I for one am only interested in getting the SWB R version pumping out the 300+ HP…I do not need the extra space and I only have 1 kid…this is how VW misjudges the market…with the Atlas coming out @ $30K starting price, the 7-Seater Tiquan is the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist…

  • emjayay

    With everyone else going all Buck Rogers futurey or applying sports car style cues to a tall station wagon, I guess VW gets the boring looking ugly bread van market all to its own.

  • choyM

    I like it and I will probably buy it. The 7-seater Tiguan is for people like me, people who really only need a 5-passenger vehicle, but there’s always that occasional out-of-town visitor and you’ll need the extra seating. And I have small kids who can easily fit into the 3rd row. I currently drive a minivan and I have my third row folded 90% of the time. It eats up too much gas and while the cargo room is awesome for the occasional big item purchase or for hauling a ton of stuff for trips and summer picnics at the beach, the reality is that a vehicle the size of the Tiguan is what I need 98% of the time.

  • pschatzow

    The question that I have is about mpg. As a commuter if the Tiguan does not get around the 32 mpg highway the the CRV gets then I might not buy it. Coming from a 2014 Jetta TDI that I will be generously compensated for I have a lot of options to choose from. I wish the suv came in the R Line trim. The other cars that I will look at is the Mini Countryman, CRV and Audi Q3.

    • Edward Taggart

      Same here, looking to use the buyback money from my TDI SportWagen to get a AWD SUV. Probably going with the CR-V. For less than the Tiguan SEL, I can get the loaded CR-V Touring which is closer to the SEL Premium in features. Leather, LED headlights, Digital Dashboard, etc.. Only thing missing is the Panoramic sunroof, which I will miss…

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