Photo of 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan's exterior by Vince Taroc.

Photo of 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan's exterior by Vince Taroc.

Volkswagen is jumping into the SUV pool with both feet for the 2018 model year — first introducing the three-row Atlas, and now bringing out a second, longer Tiguan to sell alongside its existing (now Tiguan Limited) model.

By stretching it out 11 inches to 185.2 inches, Volkswagen was able to add an optional third seating row that's a rarity for the compact SUV segment. The vehicle can now haul seven passengers — along with only the Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Fleet buyers would likely opt for the two-row version — the third-row adds $500 — and the vehicle would still retain appeal for a fleet driver whose vehicle divides time between hauling point-of-sale materials or medical supplies and family on weekends. The front-wheel-drive models all come with the third row.

The Tiguan presents clean lines, especially with its gently sloping hood and front grille that's reminiscent of the Atlas. The vehicle is available in four trim grades, including S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium. All models are powered by the 2.0T turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine that brings a nice beefiness to the drive. The engine makes 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque.

Volkswagen is also increasing its warranty coverage for its new SUVs. The Tiguan carries a limited warranty of six years or 72,000 miles.

When equipped with two rows, the Tiguan offers plenty of space for cargo with 37.6 cubic feet when all seats are in use and 73.5 cubic feet with the second row folded down.

The cabin has a well-organized layout with appealing dashboard lines and easy-to-find HVAC and audio controls. The S model is equipped with a 6.5-inch screen, while the SE includes a glassy 8-inch display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available — while CarPlay is an intuitive experience, Android Auto provides a much more limited interface.

The base Tiguan arrives with a modest $350 price increase over the existing model and start at $26,245. Fleets can add the Driver Assistance Package with autonomous braking, pedestrian monitoring, a blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert for $850.

Related Photos: Volkswagen's 2018 Tiguan

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