2018 VW Tiguan SUV Aims For U.S. With Third Row, Higher MPG

September 20, 2015

Don’t get too eager to go put an all-new Volkswagen Tiguan, introduced this past week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, in your driveway.

You won’t find this new utility vehicle at dealerships this month, this year, or possibly even next year (very late calendar-year 2016 or early 2017 is its anticipated U.S. on-sale date).

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That model changeover can’t come soon enough, as the new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan will finally give VW a foothold in one of the most important segments of the vehicle market—that of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Subaru Forester, among others.

Sizing up, to fit in against CR-V, RAV4

For the current Tiguan, VW hasn’t consistently sold more than 30,000 units annually. That’s just a tenth of the annual sales of the Honda CR-V, and also a small fraction of Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, or Subaru Forester sales.

What will bring this new Tiguan to the major leagues isn’t just a single thing. One most important improvement in the new Tiguan is that it’s now American-sized for a compact crossover; compared to the previous Tiguan, the short-wheelbase European Tiguan (shown in these pictures) is already 2.4 inches longer, with a wheelbase that’s three inches longer. But the long-wheelbase version—not to be officially shown until next year’s Paris Auto Show—has another nearly four inches of wheelbase and an available three-row seating layout.

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U.S. versions of the 2018 Tiguan will be assembled in Mexico, although Volkswagen might bring the short-wheelbase Tiguan to the U.S. a year or two later, in a high-performance ‘R’ model (as hinted by the sportier ‘R-Line’ trim of one of the Frankfurt show vehicles)..

Next-gen TSI engine tech under the hood

The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan will be powered by VW’s familiar 2.0-liter TDI turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, as well as a version of the turbocharged, direct-injected Miller-cycle 2.0-liter four that powers the new Audi A4 (making 188 hp in that model). “It’s a very efficient combustion system,” said Neusser.

VW says that fuel economy of this engine line is up 24 percent versus the previous engines; while the current Tiguan achieves just 21 mpg city, 26 highway (23 combined), expect the new model to achieve at least 30 mpg on the highway.

The Tiguan will offer a choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive, and will have the Haldex 5 system that’s used in a wide range of models from the high-performance Golf R to the Audi Q3 crossover. Yet a new multi-mode control system will provide settings for tackling off-road conditions.

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