Modern. Relevant. Real. The 2018 VW Tiguan

Making a splash for summer, here comes the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.  Loaded with style and class, this VW is working its way into the hearts of car lovers everywhere.

This second generation Tiguan stands out in the small SUV market with its “Americanized” size (10.6 inches longer in wheel base) and storage capability (more than double the cargo room) when compared with the previous generation.

Satisfying the needs of the American market is important to Volkswagen and we see it through model re-designs and the release of the family sized Atlas.

Having laid eyes upon all the new models in one place this past February at the Chicago Auto Show, I’d say that Volkswagen is making its way back into the pocketbooks and garages of the American buyer.


The star of the show isn’t shy when it comes to fashion.  The clean uninterrupted style line from front to back highlights it’s size with flair.  Available 17-20″ wheels make a sporty addition to the fun-to-drive Tiguan.  Volkswagen‘s history of producing fun is ever-present in today’s offerings much as it was in the icons that preceded them.


Volkswagen is working on a new American legacy, unknown to many, in Chattanooga, TN.  Besides being the production home of the Atlas, Volkswagen Chattanooga is cooperating with Chattanooga State Community College and the local Hamilton County Schools.

The Mechatronics Akademie celebrated its first graduating class this year. The two-year mechatronics is an extension program at Chattanooga State for eligible Hamilton County high school students. Their day is divided evenly into high school/college courses.  The combo of traditional and hands-on technical training provides opportunities to learn computing, mechanics and electronics.

Volkswagen Academy is the three-year program offered after high school.  It includes on site education at CSCC and a paid internship at VW Chattanooga.  Students who graduate garner a conditional job offer for employment at Volkswagen Chattanooga.

Graduating high school with forty hours of college credit and having a conditional job offer after a paid apprenticeship are needles in a haystack called the “future” and VW has found a way to guide young people into fulfilling careers while specifically training the type of workforce they need to make the hoped-for impact in the United States automobile market.

White wall and Tiguan

Enter models like the Jetta and Tiguan.  I covered the Jetta this spring and found it equally responsive and fun-to-drive like the Tiguan. Marketing is specific to young, hip, professionals who want more performance and space.  They get both with the Tiguan.

Starting at just $24,595 (in FWD) the 2.0 Liter TSI® 16-valve DOHC Turbo 4-cylinder direct fuel injection engine provides 184 horsepower and spunk to boot without sacrificing MPG.  21/27 MPG for a combined 23 MPG is exactly what I charted during its week-long stay.  The “start-stop” feature can be turned on and off at the console if it’s not to your liking. Tiptronic® is an available paddle shifting option for the die-hard lovers of a manual transmission.  You’re welcome.

VW Tiguan TSI engine closeup

Volkswagen’s 4MOTION® AWD with Active Control allows for customization based on conditions by just turning a knob.  Press the “MODE” and more choices within the four settings appear on the 8″ Discover Media screen. Want a digital compass, steering angle display and altimeter display during off-road adventures?  Done.

My first car was a Volkswagen, an orange Rabbit to be exact.  It’s paint was not a luxurious as the Habanero Orange Metallic of this Tiguan.  Shocker.

Ahhhhh…but I digress…moving on…

A feature that caught my eye, unique to VW, was the “Think Blue.” trainer.  Whether you’re a first time driver or just trying to get the most MPGs out of a tank the “Think Blue.” trainer is an asset.  Using visuals on the Discover Media screen, driving habits are analyzed in real-time and scores as well as charts are used to gauge driving efficiency.

Oh to have had this in my Rabbit back then…I would have had more quarters to spend on Centipede and Galaga at the arcade.

Think Blue Trainer

Creature comforts like leg room are generous in the Tiguan.  The open air feel of the panoramic sunroof compliment the snug (only for small children) third row seat option.  As with most small SUVs, drop the back seat and haul as much as you like but sacrifice passenger space.  Not with the Tiguan.  Dropping the seats in the small third row gives abundant space for kit and kaboodle while keeping the second passenger row intact.

Eye-catching, head-turning, cool.  Exterior features highlight the Tiguan’s design strategically.  Four trim levels, S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium are available.  My SEL Premium starts at $33,850 and clocked in at $35,545 as driven.

An available R-line® edition will be ready this fall that sports 19″ “Trenton” wheels for the SEL and 20″ “Braselton” wheels for the SEL Premium.  Front and rear bumpers as well as wheel arches and skirting claim new design and exterior R-line® badging.

Frenchtown Station and Tiguan

Last and certainly not least, the Tiguan is overflowing with safety features.  Driver and front passenger front and side airbags.  Side Curtain Protection® to mitigate head impact side-to-side.  Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), Engine Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution  (EBD) and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) and an Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS).

Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and Forward Collision Warning plus Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring display in the Discover Media 8″ touchscreen along with the rear view camera fortify the Tiguan’s shield of protection.

VW CAR-NET® uses App-Connect® to integrate the Tiguan to your smart phone.

Driver care packages include the Customer First Warranty that provides for 6-year/72,000 miles.  7-year/100,000 mile corrosion perforation warranty and 3-year/36,000 mile 24-hour roadside assistance program including jump starts, towing, tire changes, out of fuel and lock-out services round out assurances from Volkswagen.

Stripes and Tiguan

Go ahead.  Give the Tiguan a look.  Volkswagen is betting on it.

Volkswagen Builds Its Presence at The Chicago Auto Show

The days of our youth are scattered with experiences that few but us recall.  Many times though, those youthful experiences are remembered for a lifetime.   Their impact surfaces during our adult lives often to mold and shape our futures.  This was so for President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Hinrich J. Woebcken.

As CEO of the North American Region as well, Hinrich was an exchange student in high school.  He went to the prom, perfected his English. and spent time in the American culture.  His tenure in America shaped the essence of his desire to bring German engineering to the U.S. market through Volkswagen and its offerings.

Hearing him recollect his days as a teen in America and the profound influence it had on him for a lifetime was one of the subjects he touched upon at the Economic Club of Chicago Luncheon at the first of two media days at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

ECC luncheon

Photo by Jules Stayton

Re-living days gone by isn’t something any Volkswagen executive would like to do given VW’s woes surrounding the emissions issue.  When asked by David Snyder, COO of Chicago CRED, Woebcken said that one of the most important aspects of getting through that or any other business crisis is transparency.  Sounds familiar.

Volkswagen is steaming ahead with multiple platforms and models made just for the American market.  Bigger is better in America and the addition of a mid-size SUV fits the bill.  The Atlas has been named Good Housekeeping Magazine’s 2018 Best New Midsize SUV for its “exceptional handling, spaciousness, and practicality”. With almost 100 cubic feet of cargo space, the Atlas boasts room for just about anything, I would also be remiss if I didn’t tell you that there are 17 cup holders too.

VW Atlas

Captain’s chairs are available in the second row and car seats don’t have to be removed to access the third row seat.  A rocker lever positioned on the shoulder of the chair initiates the forward movement so passengers can enter the third row. I’m 5′ 10″ and I had no trouble in and out of the third row and sat comfortably.  Volkswagen had a clever display, seen here, right next to the Atlas with all of the “stuff” that would fit into that 100 cubic feet of space.  My product specialist Sheila was happy to tell me of the Atlas and its popularity and if you would like to know more click here. The Atlas is manufactured by the German automaker in Chattanooga, Tennessee at its Volkswagen plant.

Another big moment on day one of the Chicago Auto Show for the VW brand was the release of a new member of the team replacing the CC, the Arteon.

Billed as a luxury sedan for a mid-size price, the Arteon is longer and sleeker than the CC with 268 hp from a 2.0-liter TSI® engine that carries an eight-speed automatic transmission.  4Motion® all-wheel drive is an available option. In a crowded mid-size class Volkswagen hopes that the exterior styling and cab-backward design will give more room and status to hungry buyers hoping for a sedan that stands out from the crowd.

Journalists are hungry for more than just the story and a free breakfast drew all of us to the Volkswagen corner again on day two to discuss the newly re-invented Jetta.  Designers were going for the “elegant, yet athletic” look for this 2019.

VW Jetta

Photo by Jules Stayton

VW’s best-selling model is set to dazzle more than just 20 something females.  It’s strong lines and front grille are undeniably Volkswagen.  This compact sedan will surely make a splash in the busy class.

Not to be outdone by the Atlas, Arteon or Jetta, the Tiguan has also been re-designed. Fresh off its Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award when equipped with driver safety Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking.  The Tiguan garnered a “Superior” as well on the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) test.

VW Tiguan

Photo by Jules Stayton

Unique to its class, the Tiguan is the only compact SUV to offer an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. It is crafted on the premise that most collisions are not one single event, but multiple events after initial impact.  As soon as the airbags detect a collision, the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System engages and hopefully prevents more events as it disrupts the kinetic energy of the initial crash.  It is standard across all trim levels.

Whether the Atlas, Arteon, Jetta, Tiguan or any other Volkswagen product is on your radar, know that VW’s presence at the Chicago Auto Show media days was significant.  Multiple contact points and food win favor among journalists.  Easy to access and open, honest conversation about issues facing the brand are helping move Volkswagen forward.

Volkswagen offered answers, predictions, plans, lattes and hope for the future.

I wonder if Hinrich knew just how important going to the prom in America would be all those years ago…