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2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Kicks Off SUV Blitz in America

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Kicks Off SUV Blitz in America

By Christian Wardlaw, September 14, 2015

There are two primary reasons to take a pass on the current Volkswagen Tiguan. First, because the design is nearly a decade old, the Tiguan turns in lackluster crash-test performances according to both the federal government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Second, the cargo area behind the rear seat is quite small.

Volkswagen intends to resolve both of these issues with the redesigned 2017 Tiguan, which is scheduled to arrive in the United States in the fall of 2016. The new Tiguan will be the first of several new crossover SUVs from VW that are coming to America in order to help the brand capitalize on what appears to be insatiable demand for these practical, weather-beating vehicles.

Longer, lower, wider, and more aerodynamic than the outgoing model, the new Tiguan sits on the same Volkswagen Group vehicle platform that forms the basis of the Golf, Audi A3, and the Audi Q3. A short-wheelbase version of the Tiguan will be sold in some regions, while a long-wheelbase model with extra interior space is headed for the U.S. market and other areas of the world.

Debuting this week at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, the European version of the new Tiguan loses 110 lbs. Design features include LED headlights and taillights, dark gray lower body and wheel arch trim, and trapezoidal exhaust outlets. Euro-spec models are offered in four trim levels, including an R-Line variant with larger wheels and a sportier appearance.

Additionally, in a move similar to what Jeep does with the Cherokee Trailhawk, Volkswagen will offer the Tiguan with an off-road driving package that modifies the front styling to improve the crossover SUV’s approach angle. Maximum ground clearance is greater than before, too, now measuring 7.9 in.

These factors, combined with a more sophisticated 4Motion all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, portend improved off-roading capabilities. The new 4Motion AWD system powers the Tiguan’s front wheels until the system senses a possible loss of grip, at which point power is instantly distributed to the rear wheels. New Active Control technology is available for 4Motion, providing On-road, Snow, Off-road, and Off-road Individual driving programs.

Final specifications for the U.S.-bound Tiguan will be announced closer to the SUV’s launch, but it is a good bet to expect turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines burning gasoline or diesel. A 6-speed manual gearbox could remain available, as it does in the current Tiguan, but more likely Volkswagen will elect to make a 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) standard equipment in its new SUV.

Automatic engine start/stop and brake energy regeneration systems will help to maximize fuel economy, and VW has confirmed that a variable-ratio progressive steering system will be offered in Europe. Volkswagen also claims that the Tiguan will tow more than 5,500 lbs, when properly equipped.

In Frankfurt, Volkswagen also introduced the Tiguan GTE Concept. A plug-in hybrid model, it combines a turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed DSG with an integrated electric motor, 13-kWh Lithium-ion battery, and an innovative range-extending solar roof module to deliver up to 31 mi. of electric driving on a single charge. Drivers can choose between E-Mode, Hybrid, Battery Charge, or GTE powertrain modes, with GTE supplying the liveliest driving character, according to VW.

Switching gears, so to speak, cargo space is improved for all versions of the Tiguan, and a new sliding rear seat and fold-flat front passenger’s seat help to enhance the crossover SUV’s utility. The rear liftgate is also larger than before and the load height is lower.

Gains are modest in Europe’s short-wheelbase model, cargo volume increasing a minimum of 1.8 cu. ft. to a total of 18.4 cu. ft. with the rear seat moved all the way back in its track. Slide the rear seat 7.1 in. forward and the Tiguan’s trunk grows to 21.8 cu. ft. With the rear seat folded down, the new Tiguan holds 58.5 cu. ft. of cargo. These figures will increase for the long-wheelbase model to be sold in America.

As is expected with any modern vehicle redesign, the Tiguan takes a technological leap forward. Depending on the trim level and options, it offers a new touch-screen infotainment system with an 8-in. display and App Connect technology that provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Connected services, remote vehicle access, inductive smartphone charging, and tablet connectivity represent additional highlights, and a navigation system is optional.

Volkswagen has announced several options for the European Tiguan, including a triple-zone automatic climate control system with air purification, panoramic sunroof with embedded ambient lighting, hands-free power rear liftgate, head-up display, massaging front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The Tiguan will also be available with a 12.3-in. digital active information display that replaces the traditional instrumentation, an upgrade first developed for VW Group’s Audi division. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go traffic jam assist capability is also on the menu, along with a 360-degree camera view system.

In Europe, the new Tiguan is equipped with a standard forward-collision warning system featuring pedestrian detection and low-speed automatic emergency braking. A standard Active Hood design detects when a pedestrian has fallen onto it, automatically rising to increase clearance between the hood and the engine in order to reduce head injuries. Volkswagen’s automatic post-collision braking system is also standard in Europe, designed to reduce secondary collisions following an initial impact. A lane-departure warning system with lane-keeping assist is also standard for the European Tiguan.

Driver Alert monitoring is an option for the new Tiguan, as is Emergency Assist technology that can detect if a driver is no longer responsive and automatically bring the SUV to a stop. Pre-crash technology readies the cabin for an unavoidable impact, and a lane-changing assist feature is also available.

Volkswagen promises that the 2017 Tiguan is the first of several VW-badged crossovers headed our way. Our bet is that a smaller one will join the fray, as well as a larger one equipped with 3 rows of seats and 7-passenger capacity. Stay tuned.

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