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Steve’s First Look At The Bigger, Better Volkswagen’s SUVs

You’ve been waiting patiently and they’re finally here. Volkswagen’s new SUVs – the midsized 2018 Atlas and the compact 2018 Tiguan – have been specifically designed for the needs of American customers, both available with 3 rows of seating. This second generation Tiguan now rides on a significantly longer wheelbase with up to 58% more cargo space.

It’s nearly 11” longer than the outgoing model.  With its wider, lower stance the Tiguan now has one of the longest footprints in the segment though VW says is still remains nimble enough to excel in urban driving with a smaller turning radius than the 2017 model.

In front-wheel-drive models, three rows of seating are standard, including a second-row bench that can recline, slide seven inches fore and aft, fold down, and be split 40/20/40. The 50/50 split third-row provides seating for two, and also folds down. When configured with 4Motion all-wheel-drive, the Tiguan comes standard with two rows and a third row is optional. In three-row models, folding the rear seat creates ample cargo space that can be easily expanded by folding the second row using the levers in the cargo area.

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 has become a staple in VW’s lineup in recent years but here it’s been heavily modified with the net effect being lower fuel consumption and more torque.  Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, output is rated at 184 horsepower and a healthy 221 pound-feet of torque.  This engine also uses a gas-saving stop/start system to deliver fuel economy ratings as high as 22mpg city/27mpg highway.

The latest generation of 4Motion is here, activated before wheelspin occurs at the front axle.  Under light loads, the rear wheels are decoupled to save gas but can be summoned in fractions of a second when necessary.  And working laterally, electronic differential locks briefly brake a slipping wheel and transfer drive power to the opposite side. It has four settings: On-road, Snow, Off-road, and Custom Off-road.

Four trim levels are offered on the 2018 Tiguan with a starting MSRP of around $26,000, including S, SE, SEL and the range-topping SEL Premium with 4Motion priced from near $38,500.

By TestDriveNow Auto Critic Steve Hammes for SouthFloridaReporter.com, June 29, 2017 

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