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MSRP: $24,595 - 37,550

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 8.3
Safety: 9.8
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Review

The redesigned 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is a good family vehicle with a sizable cargo hold, spacious first- and second-row seats, and a solid predicted reliability score. However, a fairly weak engine keeps it relegated to the middle of our compact SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of user-friendly tech features
  • Good cargo space
  • Smooth ride
  • Roomy first- and second-row seats
  • Postage-stamp third row
  • Unimpressive engine
  • Subpar fuel economy

Is the Volkswagen Tiguan a Good SUV?

The Volkswagen Tiguan has above-average cargo and passenger space for a compact SUV. It also has a smooth ride and a long list of standard and available technology features. The Tiguan was a finalist for our 2018 Best Compact SUV for Families award thanks to its combination of space, family-friendly features, and positive feedback from the automotive press. Its third-row seating is a rarity for the class, but the seats are too small for adults. Also, its lone available engine has lethargic acceleration and subpar fuel economy. 

Should I Buy the Volkswagen Tiguan?

There are many reasons to like the 2018 Tiguan, but you can do better. This Volkswagen has one of the highest starting prices in the class, and some rivals have many of the Tiguan’s virtues without the missteps.

The Mazda CX-5 excels in areas where the VW falters, such as athletic handling and good fuel economy. However, it also has far less space than the Tiguan. The Honda CR-V bests the Tiguan in several key areas; it has a larger cargo hold, roomier rear seats, and better gas mileage. However, it doesn’t offer third-row seating. Both the CX-5 and CR-V’s MSRP are lower than the Tiguan's.

Compare the Tiguan, CR-V, and CX-5 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volkswagen Tiguan?

VW redesigned the Tiguan for the 2018 model year. The new edition's engine puts out 16 fewer horsepower, but it feels more energetic and gets about 2 more mpg than the old engine. The old six-speed automatic transmission is swapped for an eight-speed automatic. While the previous-generation Tiguan sat just five, the 2018 model is larger and offers a third-row seat that ups seating capacity to seven. The new model has much more cargo space, a larger infotainment touch screen, and many more driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

It is possible for you to save money by shopping for a used Tiguan, but you won't get the benefits of the vehicle's redesign. If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Tiguan review to help you decide if you can live without the 2018 model's extra features. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for savings and incentives on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Tiguan »

We Did the Research for You: 26 Reviews Analyzed

Here at U.S. News, we do your car-buying research for you and put everything you need to know into one comprehensive review. Our analysis combines professional reviewers’ opinions with hard data, letting us provide an accurate appraisal of every car we rank. For this overview, we analyzed 26 Volkswagen Tiguan reviews.

This overview includes reviews and data for the 2018 model year.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. We use our expertise to craft unbiased car reviews. To ensure objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Volkswagen Tiguan Cost?

The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan has a base MSRP of $24,595. That’s higher than almost every nonhybrid competitor’s starting price (by $2,000 in some cases). There are three higher trims, each of which is a few thousand dollars more than the one below it. The highest trim is the Tiguan SEL Premium. It starts at $36,250, which is a really high price for a compact SUV. However, it comes standard with almost every feature you can get in a Tiguan, so the price doesn’t escalate much from there.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

Volkswagen Tiguan Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Tiguan or Honda CR-V?

It's easy to see why the Honda CR-V sits near the top of the compact SUV class every year. It has a user-friendly infotainment system and a substantial cargo area that exceeds the Tiguan’s already ample cargo hold. In addition, the CR-V’s upscale cabin has two rows of seats that are roomy for all but the tallest passengers. While the Volkswagen only offers one meager engine, the Honda offers two fuel-efficient power plants. The CR-V is fairly maneuverable in tight spaces, and its ride is smooth. The CR-V does all of this at a more affordable price, making it the obvious choice.

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Tiguan or Mazda CX-5?

As one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in the class, the Mazda CX-5 is also one of our highest-ranked compact SUVs. Its quick acceleration and efficient engine are impressive, but the CX-5’s sharp handling is its strongest feature. The Mazda's high-grade cabin and two rows of roomy seats are other standouts. However, the CX-5's infotainment system isn't as intuitive as the Tiguan's, it has much less cargo space, and its lower reliability rating is concerning. 

Compare the Tiguan, CR-V, and CX-5 »

Tiguan Interior

How Many People Does the Tiguan Seat?

The base Tiguan seats seven people across three rows. All-wheel drive-models come standard with two rows of seats and carry up to five people; the third row is optional in these models.

The front seats are supportive, and the second row is spacious. The third row is smaller than in most other 3-row vehicles, and it doesn’t provide enough room for adult passengers.

Tiguan and Car Seats

The Tiguan’s second-row seats have two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The middle seat has a tether anchor only. The tether anchors are easy to find and identify, but the lower anchors are a little difficult to access.

Tiguan Interior Quality

The Tiguan’s cabin materials are as nice as any compact SUV’s, but other SUV interiors have more panache.

Tiguan Cargo Space

The standard 3-row Tiguan has 12 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in use. That’s enough for several shopping bags but probably not enough for the whole family’s luggage. With all seats down, you have nearly 66 cubic feet of space, which is above average for the class.

The 2-row Tiguan has even more room. It has more than 37 cubic feet of space with all seats in use. That’s enough space for luggage for a long vacation or plenty of cookout gear, including a portable grill and a cooler. The 2-row Tiguan has a maximum cargo capacity of 73.5 cubic feet, which is higher than nearly every other compact SUV.

Tiguan Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Tiguan include a 6.5-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink, and a USB port. Available features include a panoramic sunroof, Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, a nine-speaker Fender audio system, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, navigation, and two additional USB ports.

Unlike some rivals, the Tiguan comes standard with connectivity features for Apple and Android phones. It also offers a user-friendly infotainment system and the excellent Digital Cockpit, which provides a 12.3-inch screen behind the steering wheel (in place of the traditional gauge cluster) that can show speed and fuel data, audio and climate settings, and even your navigation.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Tiguan Performance

Tiguan Engine: Not a Mover or a Shaker

You know how some vehicles make the hair on your neck stand up when you put the hammer down? The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan isn’t one of them. The only powertrain is a 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The engine delivers a generally flaccid response when you hit the gas. Power output is OK for driving around town, but it’s slow to get up and go on the highway.

Tiguan Gas Mileage: A Pain in the Gas

The Tiguan trails many class rivals when it comes to fuel economy. It gets 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway in front-wheel drive models, while all-wheel-drive models lose 1 mpg in the city.

Rival compact SUVs will save you some scratch at the fuel pump though. You’d save about $200 in gas money each year by driving the Honda CR-V instead of the Tiguan, and you’d save about $150 by driving the Mazda CX-5 instead of the VW.

Tiguan Ride and Handling: Built for Comfort, Not for Speed

As part of the redesign, Volkswagen focused on the Tiguan’s ride quality, but it comes at the expense of athleticism. The Tiguan rides smoothly over almost any road surface, but there is plenty of body roll in corners. The available all-wheel-drive system provides reliable road grip even during inclement weather.

Read more about performance »

Tiguan Reliability

Is the Volkswagen Tiguan Reliable?

The 2018 Tiguan has an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out five from J.D. Power.

Volkswagen Tiguan Warranty

The VW Tiguan features one of the best warranties in the class. While many compact SUVs come with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, Volkswagen backs the Tiguan with a six-year/72,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Tiguan Safety

Tiguan Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Tiguan the highest rating of Good in all five crash test categories and named it a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Tiguan a perfect five-star rating for its performance in side crash tests, as well as four stars for rollover crash safety.

Tiguan Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard. Available active safety features include adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and autonomous emergency braking.

Read more about safety »

Which Volkswagen Tiguan Model Is Right for Me?

There are four Tiguan trims. All trims come with three rows of seats and front-wheel drive. You can add all-wheel drive to any trim for an additional $1,300. All-wheel-drive models only come standard with two rows, but you can add a third row to AWD models for an additional $500.

There are some notable differences (features-wise) between the Tiguan’s trim levels. The base trim costs the least, but it also provides the least. If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, the Tiguan SE is a great choice. It still carries a starting price under $27,000, but it comes with more features, including some driver assistance tech.

The two highest trims provide more in the way of comfort, but they also provide the most features. If you’re going to go above the SE trim, you might as well go all the way up to the SEL Premium. It comes standard with virtually every feature you can get in a Tiguan, many of which are not available in lower trims.

Volkswagen Tiguan S

The Tiguan S is the base trim, and it has a starting price of $24,595. There aren’t a ton of available features in the S trim besides AWD, though you can get the Driver Assistance package for $850. It includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and autonomous emergency braking.

Volkswagen Tiguan SE

The Tiguan SE starts at $26,750. In addition to the S trim’s standard features, the SE comes with leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, the equipment from the S model's Driver Assistance package, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and two additional USB ports. The SE is the lowest trim to offer a panoramic sunroof, which you can get for $1,200.

Volkswagen Tiguan SEL

The Tiguan SEL has a starting price of $31,090. In addition to the standard features from the lower trims, the SEL comes standard with a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, and an upgraded infotainment system with navigation. Front and rear parking sensors are available.

Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium

The highest trim is the Tiguan SEL Premium, which starts at $36,250. This trim comes standard with just about every feature you can get in a Tiguan, including leather seats, a hands-free power liftgate, lane departure warning, a 360-degree camera, and a nine-speaker Fender audio system.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

See 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan specs and trims »

The Final Call

The redesigned 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is a good compact SUV for families. It has two rows of roomy seats, plenty of cargo space, and many tech features, though the engine feels weak at times and the mpg ratings are below average. Overall, the Tiguan is a good SUV, but it’s not necessarily the smartest buying choice because of its high starting price. Most class rivals cost less, and several deliver everything that’s good about this Volkswagen and then some.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "For others looking for a roomy compact crossover SUV, though, this full-figured Tiguan's price premium will be offset by the sheer amount of car you get for the money. While we might lament the loss of a sense of driving pleasure, we understand why Volkswagen remade this small crossover into a spacious, comfortable cruiser. The Tiguan now meets the wants and needs of shoppers in the segment, most of whom will take space over pace any day." -- Car and Driver
  • "The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is an attractive, spacious crossover, compact in name only, with a wide range of options and, thankfully, at least one fun color choice. That's pretty much where the car's personality ends, but I still found a lot to like about this thing." -- Jalopnik
  • "Clearly, the new Tiguan is very functional, roomy, and easy to live with, qualities that give it a better chance of resonating with most compact-SUV shoppers than the old version. For VW loyalists, though, the new Tiguan may be a bit too straightlaced, having traded sportiness and cheerful looks for more mainstream virtues." -- Consumer Reports

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: November 16, 2018

Strengthening Demand: So far in 2018, Tiguan sales are more than double what they were to this point in 2017, most likely due to 2018 model’s full redesign. However, it still ranks in the bottom five in the class in terms of overall sales this year.

Research more buying advice »
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