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Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
Auto World: Callaway Sledgehammer
Goss' Garage: Wheel Alignment
Road Test: 2018 Ford Ecosport
Quick Spin: 2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
Quick Spin: 2019 Hyundai Veloster
Drivers' Choice: Best of the Year
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 221 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.8 seconds @ 84 mph
EPA: 22 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 13.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.1 tons/yr
Volkswagen has certainly had their ups and downs in recent years. But their current approach of making larger, more comfortable vehicles; and then selling them to Americans at attractive prices, is a real crowd pleaser. So, let’s see how that tactic works for their all-new compact utility, the Tiguan.
The first thing you notice about the all-new, second generation, 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is how mega roomy it is inside. It may still be considered a compact crossover, but the feel is far more midsize, being clearly aimed at American buyers. In fact, it is even built just south of our border in Mexico.
Now, the first gen Tiguan was imported from Europe. And, while on sale here for ten years, it was never very popular.
The new Tiguan still looks a little like the original, but VW’s modern, angular theme is much more in play now. The very long rear doors not only speak to all the space inside, but indicate the Tiguan now rides on a stretched wheelbase version of VW’s flexible MQB platform. It’s more than 10-inches longer overall than before.
Inside, the front seats may appear flat and painful; but actually, it’s the opposite that is true. They are firm, but comfort is excellent; plus, there are plenty of adjustments, and getting in and out is very easy.
Our SE tester is just one step up from base trim, yet features an 8-inch touchscreen, push button start, dual automatic climate control, a host of safety features, and leatherette seat covers.
It’s in the 2nd row that you experience all that extra space the most. Legroom is equal to many midsize entries, and seats back here are very cozy as well.
Need more seats? A 3rd row is standard in front-wheel-drive Tiguans, optional with all-wheel-drive. But alas, this may be one roomy compact, but it is still a compact. The 3rd row’s two seats are only usable for small children. But, at least they do offer it.
With those seats folded, the cargo bay is also spacious of course; but there’s an unevenness to the space due to the folding 3rd row, that keeps it from being as efficiently packaged as it could be. Still, 33.0 cubic-ft. is quite good, maxing out at 65.7 with the standard 40/20/40 2nd row seats folded.
No power lift-gate on our SE trim, SEL and above only; but the very light hatch virtually lifts on its own anyway.
The Tiguan is not exactly stimulating or high-tech looking inside, but is highly functional and intuitive. The larger touch screen found in all but base S trim is much easier to use, the radio sounds very good, and gauges are clear and simplistic as always with VW.
Power comes from a revised 2.0-liter turbo I4 with standard auto stop/start. Horsepower is down from 200 to 184, but torque is up from 207 to 221 lb-ft. It has adequate guts to move the Tiguan’s, 3,800-lbs., but some may wish for more.
We surely did at our test track, where the Tiguan jogged to 60 in 8.8-seconds.It certainly didn’t help that it immediately cuts power at even a hint of wheel spin. Power builds slowly down the track, and the engine sounds pretty decent; but otherwise it’s an unremarkable 16.8-second ¼-mile trip that finishes at 84 miles-per-hour.
Tiguan redeems itself through the cones, however; with quick steering and a nimble chassis, like a slightly heavier Golf wagon, which essentially it is.
No surprise, brakes performed well. 118 feet from 60 to 0 with a short travel, firm, confidence inspiring pedal.
2-wheel-drive Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 27-Highway, and 24-Combined. For an average Energy Impact Score of 13.7-barrels of yearly oil use with CO2 emissions of 6.1-tons.
Pricing starts at a reasonable $25,495; add $1,300 for all-wheel-drive.
With the new Tiguan, and the larger Atlas, Volkswagen is clearly pulling out all the stops to gain U.S. market share. Launching two 3-row SUVs in short order is very bold. And, backing them with a 6 year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is very smart.
The cosmetics may be unremarkable; but the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is a comfy, highly useful, competent handling, well thought out, and yes…American-style crossover. To us it sure looks like VW is fast becoming the Honda of German cars.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 149 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 10.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.4 seconds @ 76 mph
EPA: 23 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 13.2 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.8 tons/yr
Ford recently made headlines with a new strategy that will eventually eliminate all of their familiar family sedans. A big reason for that, are vehicles like this new Ecosport crossover. Yes, utilities are not only the new family car; they’re the new everything car. So, let’s take a look at Ford’s bold vision with their smallest crossover yet.
Usually, Ford is right on top of automotive trends. But, it has taken until now for this 2018 EcoSport to give them a subcompact crossover. At least here in the U.S., as the rest of the world has been driving EcoSports for about 15-years now.
And it doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to know that this EcoSport was not originally intended to please American tastes. There’s no way around it, the ride is rough; but there is also a European sportiness to it. We enjoyed driving it as much as spirited handlers like the Mazda CX-3. And that’s with a relatively high ground clearance of 7.8-inches.
It also feels narrow inside; almost like a smart car, where you’re just about rubbing shoulders with your front passenger.
The upside of that, is that all controls, including the tablet-like screen at the top of the dash, are within easy reach.
Front seats are also narrow and have significant bolstering, even in the bottom cushion.
Elsewhere inside, it’s a nicely modern space, and there are very good materials for an entry ute; as well as plenty of storage options.
Rear seat room is just adequate for even small adults; and entry is a little tight.
We haven’t seen this in a while. Accessing the cargo bay requires swinging the door to the side, and we don’t really mind it; at least it opens to the left so you can load from the curb side.
A low floor makes loading easy, and there’s more space than you’d expect;
20.9 cubic-ft. Rear seats require an old-school flipping up of the seat bottoms to get everything flat; not quite the flexibility you’d find in the Honda HR-V, but a good 50.0 cubic-ft. of space is the result.
As far as subcompact crossovers go, the EcoSport is a very stylish one, with a bottom-heavy, rounded shape that is consistent with its playful persona.
At our test track the “sport” part of our all-wheel-drive EcoSport does shine through; it’s a fun little ute, providing you don’t push it too hard. It doesn’t feel top heavy at all, and you can get both under and oversteer out of it.
Braking performance was only reasonable.120 feet from 60 to 0 was our average.
Now, we’ve made it this far without talking about the engine. The base unit is a small 1.0-liter 3-cylinder turbo, and we were kind of looking forward to seeing how well it moved this little ute around.
But, Ford sent us an all-wheel-driver which required an upgrade to the 2.0-liter I4, which we liked just fine; but at 166-horsepower and 149 lb-ft. of torque, it’s no EcoBoost.
After a quick tire chirp off the line, there’s a disappointing delay for real power; which happens at almost exactly the same time that a shift is triggered in the 6-speed automatic transmission. It took a long 10.0-seconds to hit 60, and 17.4 to complete the ¼-mile at 76 miles-per-hour. Yawn!
As for the eco part of the 2.0-liter all-wheel-drive EcoSport, it’s unremarkable. Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 23-City, 29-Highway, and 25-Combined. Yet, we did average a decent 27.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular. The Energy Impact Score is 13.2-barrels of yearly oil use with 5.8-tons of CO2 emissions.
Pricing is very rational, starting at $20,990 for a front-wheel-drive S. Our top trim SES with the 2.0-liter and all-wheel-drive goes for $27,875
While the 2018 Ford EcoSport was not originally designed with us in mind, we still think it’s a reasonable first entry into America’s growing tiny-ute market. It’s very modern, handles great, and has loads of cargo space for its small footprint. Plus, if this is a preview of what Ford has in store as their small sedans go away, they just might have a better idea after all.
Comparison Test: Luxury Compact SUVs
Over the Edge: Electrified Muscle
Goss' Garage: Autonomous Maintenance
Quick Spin: 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Quick Spin: 2018 BMW M550i
Road Test: 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
In Podcast 183, the MW crew talks about Ford's biggest and smallest SUVs: the Ford Ecosport and Lincoln Navigator. Then, our Over the Edge guy, Zach Maskell fills us in on his latest auto adventures, and we answer a viewer's many questions about the VW Beetle convertible.
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
2018 Audi Q5
2018 BMW X3
2018 Cadillac XT5
2018 Lexus NX 300 F SPORT
2019 INFINITI QX50
2018 Volvo XC60
Crossover utilities dominate the market these days, and they come in all sizes and prices. And those prices are generally climbing as more and more luxury is being added to even smaller, compact SUVs. But, with around 50-k on the line for something that takes up so little real estate, we thought it might be wise to help you do a little comparison shopping.
When it comes to luxury utilities, there are plenty of choices. But, this time around we’re focusing on compact luxury SUV’s. As usual, we joined the staff of cars.com for this bumper-to-bumper comparison of seven small crossovers.
The price cap: $53,000. Most are 2018 models… with one 20-19 in the mix. There’s also one V6… the rest have turbo-4 powertrains. Each has an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
We brought them together outside Chicago. Starting witH the Italian bred Alfa Romeo Stelvio… the sporty Audi Q5… the benchmark BMW X3… the sharp-edged Cadillac XT5… the dynamic Lexus NX 300 F SPORT… the innovative INFINITI QX50… and the all-new Volvo XC60.
Joining us was a potential buyer to help keep our test “real”. To make it even more challenging, we added a track component… taking the group to Great Lakes Dragway in Wisconsin.
For a complete break-down of the track times, specs and overall scoring head on over to cars.com.
But our bottom three finishers were, quite surprisingly, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, BMW X3, and Lexus NX 300 F SPORT. Each lost points for things other than driving performance, such as interior style and materials, lack of advanced safety features, and spaciousness.
That leaves a most practical quartet.
In fourth place, is the Cadillac XT5. It’s the only V6 in the group, and it delivered decent power. Ride and handling are European firm, while still American comfortable. It was the test’s most expensive at $52,560.
Garick ZIKAN: "The Cadillac is the only domestic brand in this group, but it has the driving characteristics to compete with the European and Asian rivals. There’s also plenty of tech and a lot of luxury you can see and feel.”
KELSEY MAYS: “In terms of driving it’s certainly the heavier car here so you can tell it’s heavier in terms of handling. I will give Cadillac credit though for having an immediate accelerator pedal. I mean you get on the gas and it sells a lot of power right away, there’s no lag like there is in some of the others.”
JOHN DAVIS: Third place goes to the INFINITI QX50. The sole 2019 model, it includes the first production Variable Compression engine. The combustion chambers can expand or contract for best power or efficiency. Pricing is mid-pack at $49,685.
Garick ZIKAN: “We’ve driven this 2019 QX50 before and the engineering really steals the spotlight this time around. There’s the new Variable Compression Engine, the chassis is stiffer and it’s now front wheel drive. So while its always been a luxurious ride, it’s now more engaging”
Patrick Masterson: “It’s the only one in the challenge that has two screens. The navigation was very low rez and it was also slow to respond if you were pinching and zooming. The multimedia screen was crystalline. The pixel quality was tremendous and as good as any other vehicle in the test.”
JOHN DAVIS: Coming in at number two is the Audi Q5. This sporty SUV offers a great balance between pampering and performance. At $52,275, it is 2nd highest among the group.
Brian Wong: “The Audi is a good all-around vehicle. I feel like it performed well in many of the different aspects of our testing. If I had one nit to pick with it is there’s a little bit of lag from the engine."
Garick Zikan: “The Audi Q5 is a great blend of luxury and athletic ability. The design inside and out is very clean and modern and it’s comfortable, while at the same time holding on to those firm and stable driving characteristics we like so much in European sport sedans.”
JOHN DAVIS: That leaves the Volvo XC60 as our winner. No surprise to us. Volvo took everything we liked about the larger XC90 and presents it in a smaller package. Even with comfort and spaciousness comparable to a midsize ute, pricing was a relative bargain at $50,540.
Ashish Bodhanwala: “What’s interesting is my wife had the XC60… the old one… and I liked the car other than some reliability issues. This one I like it. It seems a little bigger. I definitely like the infotainment system… much much better than what we had in the old Volvo.”
KELSEY MAYS: “Really easy to see out of. Roomy first and second row. Lots of multimedia technology and lots of kind of driving tech. This was the only car in the test to have lane centering steering that worked all the way down to a stop. That’s a semi-autonomous feature that really puts the XC60 ahead of the other as tested vehicles.”
“The Volvo brings a lot to the driver’s seat. There’s plenty of power, the transmission is smooth… it handles well and its very comfortable.”
JOHN DAVIS: Utility sales are strong across the board. And while they have to be ranked, in this premium segment they all have a lot to offer. But Volvo is clearly on a roll, and the Volvo XC60 stands out in this crowded field of great down-sized luxury utilities.
Volkswagen has certainly had their ups and downs in recent years. However, their current approach of making larger, more comfortable vehicles; and then selling them to Americans at attractive prices, is a real crowd pleaser. That formula is now being tested on their all-new compact utility, the 2018 Tiguan. The first thing you notice about the second generation Tiguan is how overly roomy it is inside. It may still be considered a compact crossover, but the feel is far more midsize. The new Tiguan still looks a little like the original, but VW’s modern, angular theme is much more evident. The very long rear doors not only speak to all the space inside, but indicate the Tiguan now rides on a stretched wheelbase version of VW’s flexible MQB platform. It’s more than 10-inches longer overall than before. The interior is not only roomy, but well put together, and feature packed. Our test SE trimmed model was just one step up from base trim, yet includes an 8-inch touchscreen, push button start, dual zone automatic climate control, plus a host of safety features. It’s in the 2nd row that you experience all that extra space the most. Legroom is equal to many midsize entries, and seats back here are very cozy as well. A much cozier 3rd row is standard in front-wheel drive Tiguans, but optional with all-wheel drive. Folding the second and third row generates a mostly flat load floor. A very light rear hatch lifts almost on its own, with power assist fitted to upper trim levels. Motive power comes from a revised 2.0-liter turbo I4 with standard automatic stop/start. Horsepower is rated at 184, and torque at 221 lb-ft. As you might guess, this is no rocket. However, the Tiguan handles great for its class with quick steering and a nimble chassis. For all of our impressions of the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3741 that begins airing June 15, 2018. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network. With the new Tiguan, and the larger Atlas, Volkswagen is clearly pulling out all the stops to gain U.S. market share. The cosmetics may be unremarkable; but the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is a comfy, competent handling, well thought out American-style crossover.