Here is part 2 of Volkswagen’s scheme to catch up in the SUV segment.
Once the quintessential brand for hippies and style conscious hairdressers alike, Volkswagen has grown up in a corporate world that cherishes the SUV when gas prices dip low. American automakers got fat off of SUV profits until the recession, but now that the economy has bounced back, the appetite for larger vehicles appears to be here to stay, much to VW's disappointment. To recover from the lack of SUVs in its lineup, the automaker is aggressively elbowing its way into the party.
After launching the range-topping Atlas, a seven seat alternative to the Ford Explorer, attention has turned to the middle of the segment. The Volkswagen Tiguan has long been the compact competitor to the best selling Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Chevrolet Equinox, but this leaves a large gap between the massive Atlas and compact Tiguan. To offer customers a go between, the German automaker brought an all-new Tiguan with an elongated wheelbase to the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Designed specifically for America, the long-wheelbase Tiguan rides 10.7 inches longer than the SUV on which it is based, 4.4 of which are translated straight to the wheelbase.
Much of the space increase makes its way into the cabin, raising cargo space by 57%. Not wanting to do away with Volkswagen’s signature driving dynamics, the automaker has continued to use its MBQ platform. MBQ can now be appreciated by occupants in the third row, which comes standard on front-wheel drive trims and is optional on all-wheel drive models. Power, not exactly a Volkswagen staple, is rated at 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque coming from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder TSI engine using an eight-speed automatic as the diplomat. 4Motion and Active Control all-wheel drive can be varied by four driver selectable modes to help non front-wheel drive models negotiate off-road territories.
Road tripping Americans saddled with cargo will be happy to hear about the available panoramic sunroof and power tailgate. The tailgate can be activated by kicking underneath the rear bumper and add to the Tiguan's ease of use vibe that the semi-autonomous driver helpers create. These include Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and Lane Assist. The tail end of 2017 will see the long-wheelbase Tiguan hit the market as a 2018 model, which is great for fans of German engineering in vehicles that aren't relegated to the status of luxury cars.