The new European-market Volkswagen Tiguan also grows, and is 2.4 inches longer and 1.2 inch wider than its predecessor, but 1.3 inch lower overall. The increases in the car’s footprint allow interior room to balloon, too, with an extra 1.8 cubic feet of cargo room, 1.0 inch more overall length inside the cabin, and 1.1 inch extra knee room for back-seat passengers.
While the design of the new Volkswagen Tiguan isn’t an enormous departure from the first-generation model, it does update the crossover to match the rest of VW’s current lineup. A wide horizontal grille greets passersby, with horizontal headlights at either side of the front fascia, and an inverted parallelogram grille opening farther below. A character slash through the door handles accentuates the body sides. Perhaps the most notable visual update is the more sloped rear pillar, along with the wider, chunkier liftgate design.
It’s a similar story inside, where Volkswagen has updated the Tiguan’s design without revolutionizing it. As in other MQB cars like the Volkswagen Golf, a smart, orderly center stack features prominently beneath a wide, horizontal dashboard. A pair of analog gauges surround a color trip computer in the instrument cluster, and buttons for various driver-assist features, as well as the electric parking brake, surround the shifter. An optional 12.3-inch color Active Info Display turns the entire instrument cluster into a visual display, and the Tiguan is also the first VW crossover ever offered with a head-up display.
A long list of safety technology includes lane-assist steering, which will help prevent the driver from veering out of his or her current lane, and a pop-up hood that uses explosive charges to help cushion the impact with a pedestrian. Emergency pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, as well as safety tech like a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, and self-parking are also available.
Other new features for the Volkswagen Tiguan include an “active biogenic filter” in the climate control that helps the quell mold spores and other microbes, a large panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, and an easy open/close power liftgate that can be activated simply by waving a foot under the car’s rear bumper. The rear seats have an adjustable recline angle and can slide forward up to 7.1 inches if more cargo space is needed. There’s also an R-Line version of the Tiguan designed for a flashier look, with 19- or 20-inch wheels, gloss-black exterior accents, aluminum doorsill plates, stainless-steel pedals, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Engine choices include a range of gasoline four-cylinders rated from 91 hp to 217 hp, while TDI diesel engines are offered in anywhere from 84 hp to 237 hp. The top entry is a twin-turbo 2.0-liter turbodiesel. While front-wheel drive is standard, 4Motion Haldex all-wheel drive is optional on most engines. 4Motion models already ride 0.4 inch higher, but shoppers can specify a special off-road front bumper that further improves the model’s approach angle. A controller for the 4Motion system allows drivers to select special modes for snow or off-road driving.
Volkswagen is also showing off the Tiguan GTE concept, hinting at a plug-in hybrid variant that VW says it “might” reveal later in the crossover’s lifecycle. A 154-hp, 1.4-liter turbo-four engine and 6-speed dual-clutch automatic provide the primary motive force for the front wheels, while a 13.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a motor integrated into the transmission provide more assistance. The Tiguan GTE concept can travel 31 miles on electricity alone, returning the equivalent of 123 mpg in hybrid mode, and can hit 62 mph in as little as 8.1 seconds with the gas engine and motor working in tandem.
In an unusual touch, the Volkswagen Tiguan GTE also has a solar panel on its roof to help charge the battery. In a sunny climate, Volkswagen says the panel could charge the battery up with the equivalent of 621 miles of driving range over the course of a year. In a more northerly area like Germany, though, Volkswagen only expects the panel to add about 310 miles of driving range.
The European-market Volkswagen Tiguan goes on sale in April 2016. While it’s not the version that will come to the U.S. market, it likely provides some strong hints as to the design and technologies of the longer-wheelbase version that we’ll see by the end of next year.