2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline

After testing the 2017 Wolfsburg model earlier this year, I was looking forward to trying the Highline version of the revamped 2018 Volkswage Tiguan.

First impressions

My Habanero Orange Metallic tester isn’t part of the “grey is good” class. It stands tall on 18” alloy wheels. A shorter grill and longer lines help create a resemblance to certain stately off-roaders of British heritage, bright colour notwithstanding.

The Tiguan is a larges vehicle than the one I recall, a point the roomy interior helps to drive home. Touches like chrome window surrounds, chrome on the rear bumper and silver roof rails all contribute to the refined look.

image courtesy Volkswagen


Passengers tell me the panoramic power sunroof looks great from the inside when you drive through skyscraper canyons at night. This is the second time I’ve seen this in a Tiguan, so I’ll need to arrange a ride one day in a vehicle thus equipped so I can lean back and enjoy that upward view.

VW modernized the dashboard and controls layout, from the instrument cluster to the touchscreen to the controls surrounding the shift lever. All features are arranged in a clean layout.

image courtesy Volkswagen

That revamped layout extends to the ambient LED and footwell lights, tasteful but not overdone.

Leather seats were large, comfortable and fully adjustable in front. That I felt comfortable in the rear seat told me the Tiguan is larger than the average crossover.

New from the 2017 model is the flat-bottom heated steering wheel, a racing-like touch that appeals to both me and my knees whenever I got into and out of the Tiguan.

Hockey bag test

The hatch predictably swallowed my bag with ease.

It seems large and tall enough to accommodate four such bags without having to lower the folding rear seats, even if that does ruin your rear view.

In-cabin technology

As in most SUVs, the view out the rear window isn’t great on the Tiguan. Thankfully, VW includes  both a rear-view camera and Area View, a 360-degree view of the ground several feet all around the Tiguan. You can switch the 8” in-dash screen to this latter surround view by pushing a button to the right of the shift lever. That view was a lifesaver as I nervously inched the Tiguan into and out of parking spots that seem meant for much smaller vehicles.

When not painstakingly avoiding scrapes on the paint, the touchscreen handles all the mod cons, from regular and satellite radio to Bluetooth connections to phones to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Audiophiles will want to opt for the Fender® Premium Audio System. The 400-watt package and eight speakers will do justice to whatever music you want during your drive.

Sometimes the small touches are the memorable ones. For instance, VW wisely combines the steering wheel heater with the driver’s seat heater control. If the weather is cold enough, you’ll use both. Why press two buttons to do so?

The instrument cluster replicates analog gauges, but it’s entirely digital. It’s a great modern touch. But it made me wonder when VW realize it could add more than one USB port in the Tiguan. If people buy the Tiguan as a family hauler, chances are everybody will want to juice up their phones/battery packs/iPads/etc.


An 8-speed transmission sits between the VW’s 2.0L TSI motor and its four wheels, my Tiguan being a 4Motion model. Response can lag, but the Tiguan figures out highway passing maneuvers quickly enough for you to execute them safely.

Volkswagen added adaptive cruise control and lane assist technology to my tester as well. The former is marvellous in stop-and-go traffic. The only time you intervene is when the Tiguan comes to a full stop. Tap the accelerator when traffic ahead starts to move, and the Tiguan once again keeps pace. On several highway drives, I did not touch the pedals until I reached my exit ramp.

Don’t buy the Tiguan thinking you can let your left foot relax entirely on highway drives. The adaptive cruise control can react a little slowly should a vehicle in an adjacent lane suddenly swerve in front of you. Also, the system may lose track of the vehicle in front if it descends a slope in the road. I noticed this on the off-ramp to my place a couple of times.

Oddly, each time I engaged adaptive cruise, the following distance defaulted to three bars out of five. I kept switching it to five bars, which provided the two-second following distance I try to maintain. Overall, though, the adaptive cruise proved a labour saver.

Unlike adaptive cruise, lane assist technology doesn’t believe it’s worthy of your trust. That’s why it beeps at you if you leave your hands off the wheel for any length of time. If lane markers are worn, I could understand lane assist’s lack of confidence, but it performed well under the limited circumstances I experienced. Granted, I stuck to highways where lane markers were relatively fresh, and the Tiguan seemed to discern them with ease.

Low-speed situations call for VW’s surround view as well as front and rear park distance control to guide you in underground parking lots and other tight spaces. The automatic folding heated side mirrors help to prevent damage in said parking spots.

When you’re at speed, the Tiguan watches out for you using blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and front assist autonomous emergency braking (I triggered this by approaching a slow-rising gate arm just a little too fast for the Tiguan’s liking.)

Light assist manages the height and direction of the LED headlights. You’ll notice the VW raising and lowering these if you park facing a building and watch the lights toggle up and down when you start the engine. On the road, the movement isn’t as obvious, but it does help ensure visibility where you need it.

Fuel economy

The in-dash readout indicated mileage of between 8.5 and 8.9 L/100km during my week with the Tiguan.

VW boosts these numbers by throwing in automatic start-stop. The engine cuts out when you press the brake pedal, as you would at a red light, stop sign, or idling at the curb. Lift your foot off the brake and the engine comes to life before your foot lands on the accelerator. You can shut off this feature, but I can’t imagine any reason for doing so in ordinary driving conditions on public roads.


VW markets the Tiguan with 4Motion starting at $31,175.

The base MSRP for the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Highline is $39,175. My tester had the Driver Assistance Package, a $1,470 option. With freight, PDI and excise tax on air conditioning, this model’s MSRP came to $42,540.

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