After a successful run of the first generation Volkswagen Tiguan, launched in 2007, the second generation of Germany’s bestselling SUV is now in the starting blocks. Based on the promising new MQB platform that was recently laid out across manufacturers that are part of the immense Volkswagen Group, the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan is certain to introduce new levels of comfort and space in the A-SUV segment, as well as upgrades on the technical aspects of the car.
With a long-wheelbase version scheduled to launch next year and a possible GTE version still in the pipeline, there are plenty of things to look forward to for loyal Volkswagen Tiguan customers. We headed out to the freezing province of Lapland (Northern Sweden), to test drive the new 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan while also granted the opportunity to thoroughly test its 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
The A-SUV segment is a booming worldwide market, showing current annual sales figures of over 8 million vehicles a year. Expected to rise another 9% by 2018 to annual sales of 9 million vehicles, Volkswagen refuels the intense competition between car manufacturers in this particular segment by introducing a new generation Volkswagen Tiguan.
Production of the previous generation Volkswagen Tiguan peaked in 2014, with the Volkswagen plants producing an impressive 500,000 Tiguans throughout that year. Following the massive production rate, Volkswagen earned and maintained first place in most registered SUVs in Germany for many consecutive months afterwards. If there weren’t already enough reasons to introduce a new Tiguan – seeing the incredible success of the first generation Tiguan, increasing demand and rising competition – after a run of seven years it’s simply time for something fresh and new. And let’s be honest here, Volkswagen could use a big win right now. The new Volkswagen Tiguan might just be that push in the back that the German automaker needs to make people forget about last year’s ordeal and reassure their position at the top of the automotive world.
With all that being said, Volkswagen have stated that the introduction of the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan marks the start of a global SUV offensive. The 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan knows several different versions itself, partly made possible by the new MQB platform. For Chinese and American markets, it’s the long-wheel base version of the new Tiguan that is set to boost sales. While in Europe customers tend to favor a compact SUV over a larger one, Chinese and American customers prefer more spacious SUVs. Logically so, the long-wheel base version of the new Volkswagen Tiguan will be reserved for those markets and is expected to make an introduction in spring 2017.
What about the Volkswagen Tiguan GTE?
First on display at the 2015 IAA, it seems like Volkswagen will be expanding their GTE line to their SUV models, starting with the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan. Because the in Frankfurt presented GTE acts as a concept car, it remains uncertain whether the Volkswagen Tiguan will actually walk down the GTE path. However looking at what the competition is up to recently, it would seem logical for Volkswagen to bring GTE versions to their SUV models.
The fact list of the possible future Tiguan GTE reveals a 160 kW / 218 PS plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of driving the almost-standard stretch of 50 kilometers in “E-mode”. A stated 1.9 liter / 100 kilometers fuel economy potentially makes the Tiguan GTE far superior to its combustion engine relatives in terms of fuel efficiency. Partly responsible for the GTE’s fuel economy, is the new developed solar roof that empowers the Tiguan GTE’s batteries even more.
Volkswagen’s MQB platform is said to improve all aspects of the new Tiguan. Volkswagen’s latest addition to the SUV range makes a sportier appearance, lost a little bit of weight and promises an enhanced driving experience. The new Tiguan sits lower than its predecessor, is slightly longer while also being a tad wider than the previous generation Tiguan. The added 60 mm to the car’s length provides room for a longer wheelbase as well, which has increased by 77mm. The reduced Cd rate of the new Tiguan, which reads 0.31, comes as a natural result of improved aerodynamics following the slight alternations to the SUV’s bodywork.
Arriving at the front-end of the new Tiguan, the car makes a wider appearance due to the increased physical width and alignment of both grille and headlights. The optional full-LED headlights come standard with the “Highline” package, accentuating the car’s front even more.
Also part of the Tiguan’s design evolution, is the slightly higher placed V-shaped bonnet and higher positioned waistline. The new Tiguan has sharper design edges in general as opposed to its predecessor, a design evolution similar to that of the Golf 6 being followed by the Golf 7. This is especially visible at the Tiguan’s rear, with taillights similar to those of the latest Volkswagen Golf. All-around the new design reflects a sharper and sportier looking car, and an SUV that is clearly part of the Volkswagen family.
Heading inside the new Tiguan, we find a completely redesigned interior that is characterized as sportive yet SUV conscious. At first sight it’s a clean design that is very much driver-oriented, with the center screen (synonym slightly) altered towards the driver’s seat. While the digital instrument panel comes as an option, it enhances the driver’s experience even further with the likes of a 12.3-inch active info display. Configurable to one’s preferences, the active info display provides the driver with a navigation overview favorable over the display positioned in the center dashboard.
The new Tiguan comes standard with a 5-inch monochrome infotainment touch display, while the Volkswagen Tiguan Trendline and Highline models receive a 5-inch color display. Optional packages such as the “composition media radio system” or the range topping “discover pro radio navigation system” feature an enlarged 8-inch touch screen.
The 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan also introduces internet connectivity for the first time, while simultaneously integrating the driver’s smartphone with its extensive infotainment system. Mirrorlink, Apple Carplay and Android Auto take the user experience of the new Tiguan to a next level, while their own media control app is also available. Depending on which boxes are ticked on the options list, Tiguan owners are able to check the vehicle’s status, allocate its exact location or preheat the car while it’s parked using a smartphone. Additionally there is the clever “interface box” tucked away in the car, in which a smartphone can be placed and charged at the same time without using any cables.
As far as safety and assistance systems go, Volkswagen have got you covered with several standard systems, standard on the Trendline base version that is, such as the front assist surroundings monitoring system, which includes city emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring features. A lane departure warning system is standard on the new Tiguan as well, while the new MQB platform also equips the new Tiguan with an automatic post-collision braking system as standard.
Were you to go with the Comfortline variant, the safety features of the Tiguan are expanded with a driver alert system. The Highline variant has Volkswagen’s adaptive cruise control (ACC) on top of that, which is additionally equipped with a traffic jam assist. Other driver’s assistance systems that form the comprehensive options list are the side assist for changing lanes, pre-crash proactive occupant protection that automatically closes all of the car’s windows and tightens the seatbelts, an emergency assist that recognizes an unresponsive driver and will bring the car to an automatic stop and finally the 360-degree camera finishes the option list for safety and driver assistance systems.
A novelty on the new Tiguan is Volkswagen’s new 3-zone automatic climate control system. Enabling drivers to adjust temperatures individually for each passenger, it’s the air quality sensor and biogenic filter keeping pollutants from entering the car that currently make the Tiguan’s climate control system so unique.
On the comfort side of things, the Tiguan introduces redesigned seats that include a memory function for both the driver and front passenger seats. Optionally the front seats are equipped with 4-way lumbar support as well as a massage function. The interior of the Tiguan is finished in style with an optional panoramic tilting sunroof that has integrated ambient lighting.
The 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan will be available with four gasoline and four diesel engines. The engines come turbocharged as standard, while also being equipped with a stop-start system and battery regeneration function. Starting with Tiguan’s TSI engines, the least potent engine produces 92 kW (125 PS), while the most powerful engine in the TSI range outputs 162 kW (220 PS). The TDI range starts with the 85 kW (115 PS) version, while the 176 kW (240 PS) engine tops the diesel range.
Both base versions of the Tiguan are equipped with front-wheel drive, while all the other versions are fitted with the 4MOTION all-wheel drive (AWD) system as either an option or as standard. The Tiguan’s previous Euro-5 four-cylinder engines are replaced with new four-cylinder engines, accomplishing a 24% increase in fuel economy compared to the retired engines.
In the light of empowering the second-generation Tiguan’s dominance, new upgraded Euro-6 engines are introduced. Previously it was the 150 PS TSI engine that topped the range, while the new Tiguan offers two TSI engines that are – with 180 PS and 220 PS respectively – significantly more powerful than the 150 PS engine that powered the most compelling first generation Volkswagen Tiguan.
The same trend goes for the TDI engines available, with the previously most powerful TDI engine – producing 184 PS – now improved and capable of producing 190 PS. Volkswagen have managed to squeeze even more power out of the new 2.0-liter diesel engines, by making a 240 PS bi-turbo TDI engine available to future customers.
Linked to the most powerful engines is Volkswagen’s 7-speed dual clutch DSG transmission, while the Tiguan’s base models are fitted with a 6-speed manual. The 7-speed DSG transmission shifts through gears seamlessly and at the same time gives the driver a sense of control, offering both normal and sport shifting modes.
4MOTION All-Wheel Drive
Tiguans fitted with Volkswagen’s 4MOTION AWD system gain 11mm more ground clearance in comparison to the vehicles that are only powered at the front wheels. Moreover, Volkswagen takes special orders from customers that prefer a special off-road front end, increasing the SUV’s approach angle by 7.3 degrees. What’s new is the 4MOTION active control system, specifically designed for Volkswagen’s AWD vehicles. The active control let’s the driver choose from four driving modes, comprising of “regular / asphalt”, snow, off-road and individual. As per usual, the last option let’s drivers configure driving settings to their own preferences.
Fitted with a fifth generation “Haldex coupling”, the 4MOTION system actively distributes power to all four wheels before the car slips. As per standard, the 4MOTION only engages the front wheels to save on fuel, but in order to prevent loss of traction in certain situations; the rear axle is engaged immediately.
Arvidsjaur, Sweden is a true favorite among car manufacturers to expose their newly developed vehicles to the freezing cold conditions and test their capabilities on both ice and snow. Almost all large German brands seem to have a base in the cold Lapland region, just over 100 kilometers South of the polar circle, and for legitimate reasons I would say. So if you’re wondering where many of those winter spy shots come from, now you know.
Early in the morning we were handed the keys to a 150 PS Tiguan TDI, with the navigation pinpointed on a nearby hill that overlooks the surrounding region. Getting into the car, the first thing I notice is the clean and orderly interior that I have come to know from modern-day Volkswagens. The sharp lines from the exterior we similarly find back in the interior, giving the interior of the new Tiguan a modern and premium look.
Due to the car’s new design, the rear seat passengers enjoy more legroom and all-around it feels like the car is a spacious place to be in. This also translates to the luggage space in the back, increased by 145 liters compared to its predecessor.
The center console looks organized and features all the necessary buttons, and the same goes for the center-dash. I’m personally a huge advocate for “the more you can incorporate into the infotainment system, the better”, while reserving separate buttons for the more important functions deserving of one. A nice example is the fact that apparently Volkswagen refuses to dump the dated CD player, which is fine, and tucked it away in the dashboard compartment instead.
On our way up the hills, I immediately notice the car’s stability. The new Tiguan handled the icy roads very well in “normal mode”, impressively so. Engaging snow mode using the knob in the mid-console, the 4MOTION AWD system is provided with more grip, at the cost of slightly slower gear changes. The car feels now even more secure, although I didn’t find the difference between snow mode and normal mode that significant. That’s however a testament to the driving characteristics of the car when driving in normal mode.
The Tiguan found its way to the top of the local viewpoint smoothly, without any loss of traction. Going downhill went just as comfortably, as we continued our journey to our next destination. Called the playground, Volkswagen had set up a temporary base with an adjacent ice track, small drag strip and slalom. The carved out track was specifically created for testing the Tiguan’s 4MOTION AWD, and not so much for setting the best lap time. Fun fact: the Tiguan’s extensive infotainment system does feature a lap timer.
The numerous curves, bends and differences in altitude formed a perfect testing ground for the Tiguan, and I believe I made good use of that opportunity. The first lap was done in normal mode, which went quite fluently. On an off-road track you are a bit more liberated in really putting the car to the test, as opposed to test-driving on slippery open roads. As a result, it didn’t take long before I had the car sliding through curves, bringing its sporty character to life.
It was on the track, where I did notice the difference between snow mode and normal mode more easily. Pushing the Tiguan harder on the track resulted in better traction whilst going through bends with snow mode engaged. The same goes for getting back into a straight line after coming out of a corner at full throttle. This difference became even more apparent when accelerating on the drag strip, alternating between driving modes. In snow mode the Tiguan draws a straight line, while in normal mode the car tends to shiver in the first seconds looking for the best traction.
The off-road mode brings the car’s playful character even further to life, especially on snow. The car was tougher to control, which made it more fun to drive around the ice track. The off-road mode is really a function that one should use when going off-road, and is therefore, especially in winter conditions, not as suitable for use on public roads as both normal and snow modes.
After some proper fun on Volkswagen’s playground, we head out to a nearby ice lake where we get to test the Tiguan even more. Different from the playground, there was no specific agenda here, having an open and very spacious lake at our disposal. The off-road mode had my preference on this terrain, while also playing around with individual mode, mixing more of the car’s sporty character. Switch off traction control, and you got yourself an endless drifting ground that the Volkswagen Tiguan was anxious to conqueror.
After having tremendous fun on the ice lake, it was time to head back to the playground and look over a few more of the car’s interior details. The center touch screen is very responsive, while there is also the option to control it using buttons. Possibilities are endless, including the car’s ability to connect to the internet and read live traffic situations. Another cool feature is the “think blue” efficiency assist, that tries to train you in driving more efficiently. As for going off-road, the system can give you detailed information about your surroundings, including driving angles, altitude and more.
The new Tiguan also comes with optional head-up display. Although functionality is great and it improves safety, I feel like it does detract from the clean interior in general. To compliment the neat interior, I would’ve gone for a windshield display, instead of the separate glass screen that pops out of the dashboard. Another modern-day almost obligatory option is the ability to open the trunk while waving your foot underneath it.
Pricing and Competition
Launching the base models in April 2016 across Europe, prices in Germany start at €30.025 for the six-speed manual diesel variant. The 180 PS TSI Comfortline fitted with the 7-speed DSG transmission, starts at €34.450. The new Volkswagen Tiguan goes head to head with the Toyota Rav4, Honda CR-V, and Kia Sportage, which are slightly more attractively priced but arguably lack the refinement and premium image the German SUV has. Looking up, the Volkswagen Tiguan comes closer to competing with the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q3, over which it holds a significant price advantage while maintaining a similar quality standard.
There is very little not to like about the new 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan. Its looks have improved in comparison to the first generation Tiguan, it is loaded with some of the latest tech and features and shows to perform very well in the toughest conditions. The SUV’s interior is clean, spacious, user-friendly and makes you feel right at home. Its upgraded 4MOTION AWD system is a pleasure to experience, enabling the Volkswagen to take on some of the roughest terrains, while being a comfortable cruiser any other day. Packed with the latest technologies and driver assistance systems, the new Volkswagen Tiguan’s total package is what impresses the most. With excellent value for money, the Tiguan might just be the most capable car in its class, and should therefore top your A-SUV shopping list.