2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition

A decade worth of tweaks and refinements

It’s short but it carried a load of 8’ fir strapping, extending from the tailgate to the dash. Volkswagen’s compact Tiguan crossover projects a small footprint but thanks to its boxy shape, more room resides within than expected.

Despite being what I’d consider generous for a compact crossover, cargo capacity is about to grow by 57% with the introduction of the all-new 2018 VW Tiguan. The forthcoming unit will also be nearly a foot longer and can be equipped with third-row seating.

No announcement yet on when the new Tiguan will be in dealership showrooms or its price structure, but its impending arrival shouldn’t dissuade potential buyers from considering the current Tiguan, especially if they’re looking for a small, easy to drive and park crossover with European DNA.

If that’s the case, the 2017 Tiguan has a lot to offer, and has earned its stripes since the vehicle was introduced to the world in 2007. A decade worth of tweaks and upgrades have resulted in the delivery of a fine highly-capable crossover that may become quite the bargain as motivated VW dealerships move them out in preparation for the new line.

Even at regular retail prices, savvy shoppers will find sound value in a Tiguan purchase, which begins at $25,990 for the front-wheel-drive Trendline edition.

The very-well equipped Wolfsburg edition, such as this week’s Exhausted tester, carries a price tag of $30,198 while adding Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive technology and additional driving aids and comfort and convenience items to the mix.

Thanks to its optional Panoramic Power Sunroof, which adds $1,450, my tester’s MSRP tallied a reasonable $31,648.

Both Tiguans versions are powered by the same 2.0L turbocharged I-4 gas engine developing 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available is a 6-speed automatic affair featuring VW’s Tiptronic manual shifting function, which must be performed via the gearshift lever; shift paddles are not available.

At 12.1L/100km in the city and 10.0L/100km on the highway, fuel-economy ratings for the Tiguan are not impressive, especially when its small size is factored in to the equation. The required use of premium fuel is another kick in the teeth at the pumps, but good performance has a price.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a crossover as small as the Tiguan in the $25-$30K range that is propelled by 200 horsepower and more than 200 lb-ft of torque. The Tiguan’s on-road performance is, in my view, unmatched in the category.

Acceleration from a standing start and highway passing power are both commendable, and segment leaders. But the Tiguan’s shine isn’t limited to an enthusiastic right foot; the little ute handles the road exceptionally well, delivering a highly-rewarding balance between ride-quality and handling dynamics.

While one may argue that the Tiguan is past its “best before” date, I’d defend the little Euro-cruiser. I found it a pleasure to drive; certainly more-so than many small, competing crossovers with less spirit.

I’m willing to acknowledge that its cabin design and architecture is wearing thin, but in terms of straightforward functionality – which is a rarity these days – the Tiguan scores high. It’s instrument panel is intuitive and simple to understand from the get-go.

I instantly found a comfortable driving position from which the Tiguan’s outward visibility is unmatched by many of the heavily contoured, overly-styled offerings of late in the small crossover field. After driving the likes of Infiniti’s QX30 with its massive blind-spots, this is a refreshing attribute.

Before potential buyers of a small crossover dismiss the outgoing Tiguan as yesterday’s news, they owe it to themselves to gain seat-time in VW’s baby Touareg. It’s a highly capable machine with more power, superior driving dynamics, and arguably a better all-wheel-drive system, than most other offerings in this highly-contested category.

Plus, dealerships maybe motivated to move the out-going generation of Tiguan, which benefits from decade worth of tweaks and refinements, though not necessarily in the area of fuel-economy.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan AWD
Trim level: Wolfsburg
Price as tested (before taxes): $31,648.00
Freight: $1,795.00
Configuration: front engine, front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L turbocharged I-4 / 6-speed Tiptronic automatic
Power/torque: 200 hp / 205 lb-ft
Fuel-economy ratings with AWD (L/100km): city 12.1, highway 10.0
Warranty (basic): 4 years / 80,000 km
Competitors: Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Renegade, Kia Sportage, Subaru Cross-Trek, Toyota RAV4

Related links:
Volkswagen Canada

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