Pictures Don't Do It Justice: The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T SEL Premium
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium.
We all know those people who are good-looking but can't seem to take a good picture. 

That's the story of the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.  In photos, it looks somewhat featureless, almost generic.  In person, though, the lines flow, the proportions are just right.  There are details, some of them downright elegant. And, the really good news is that it's just as interesting once you're at the wheel.

Rear 3/4 view of 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium.
The overall effect with the Tiguan is that it feels like a roomier Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, which regular TireKicker readers will recall we reviewed (and liked a lot) back in February.  The driving dynamics are very nearly as precise and the Tiguan (at least equipped the way ours was) is exceptionally quiet.  The lack of road and wind noise at speed is very impressive. 

More good news: The Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium (top of the line) we drove is only $500 more than the Alltrack.  You gain ground clearance, space for people (the Tiguan has three rows of seats, accommodating eight people) and things, give up all-wheel drive (though it's available for an extra $1,500) and fuel economy is very nearly a toss-up.  Both get an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city.  The Alltrack's good for 30 on the highway, with the Tiguan estimated at 27.

Interior view of 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premiu
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium interior.
And while a lot of people say the Americanized, Mexican-built VWs have lost their "Germanness", I've yet to find that to be true.  The Tiguan's extremely comfortable seats, logical control layout and driving dynamics are all clearly traceable to the brand's country of origin.

$36,250 is the base price for the Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium with front-wheel drive. And that buys a very complete machine:

  • Anti-lock braking with disc brakes
  • Anti-slip regulation
  • Engine brake assist
  • Electronic brake pressure distribution
  • Hydraulic brake assist
  • Electronic stability control
  • Electronic differential lock
  • Intelligent crash response system
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • 19-inch wheels with all-season tires
  • Automatic LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights
  • Adaptive front lighting
  • Halogen fog lights with low-speed cornering lights
  • Power folding heated side mirrors with position memory and puddle lights
  • Power tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof with ambient lighting
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control with second-row air vents
  • Heated, leather-wrapped, three-spoke multi-function steering wheel
  • 184-horsepower, two-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission 
  • Heated, ten-way power driver's seat with lumbar support and position memory
  • Heated, six-way manual front passenger's seat with height adjustment
  • Leather seating surfaces in the first and second rows
  • Overhead view camera
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop and go
  • Forward collision warning
  • Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring
  • Park distance control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Remote engine start
  • Keyless access to doors and liftgate
  • Pushbutton start
  • Eight-inch touchscreen navigation system
  • Fender premium audio system (AM/FM/HD Radio/CD/SiriusXM)
  • VW Car-Net (including Apple CarPlay)
All of the above---standard.  And, in our tester, no extra-cost options, so with $900 destination charge, the bottom line rings in at $37,150.   That is $850 above our previous highest price in this class of crossover, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Platinum we reviewed back in March.  But it's not out of line, and our take is that the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium justifies the expense in its usefulness, comfort, quiet and driving dynamics.