In addition to a smaller, more urban-friendly footprint than the redesigned Tiguan, the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Limited – a carryover first-generation model – also scores points for its lively four-cylinder turbo and upscale interior. But deductions from that total include a dull, conservative design, lackluster handling, and middling safety scores.

Best Value

Offered in only a single trim, pricing for the 2018 Tiguan Limited starts at $23,150 for the front-wheel drive model and tops out at $26,915 for the all-wheel-drive version equipped with the optional Premium Package and seventeen-inch alloy wheels. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The usual power features are present, plus a five-inch touchscreen, keyless entry, heated outside mirrors, and Bluetooth connectivity. While a rearview camera is also standard, advanced safety features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control are not offered.

With a single trim, we'd opt for the all-season versatility of the all-wheel-drive model and kick things up a notch with the Premium Package. The Tiguan Limited's budget focus is its strongest attribute, so we'll pass on the optional 17-inch wheel package and its $495 premium.

  • Model: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Limited SE
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 200 hp / 207 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 19 City / 25 Hwy
  • Options: 4Motion all-wheel-drive ($1,975), Premium Package ($1,295, roof rails, 6.3-inch touchscreen, HD radio, satellite radio, USB port, multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, cargo cover, keyless push-button start, leather-wrapped gearshift knob, cruise control, and Volkswagen App Connect, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto)
  • Base Price: $23,150 (including a $900 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price:$26,420

Performance

Volkswagen Tiguan Limited

More responsive than a Toyota RAV4, there's a nimble feeling to the Tiguan Limited that's surprising in a product this old. The ride is smooth and tuned for comfort, ideal for extended highway cruising. The suspension does a nice job of absorbing road irregularities and larger impacts, while the automatic transmission emphasizes the engine's broad torque curve, making even daily commutes interesting. Towing capacity is 2,200 pounds, while the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, which typically delivers ninety percent of torque to the front wheels for better fuel economy, is capable of sending one hundred percent to either axle under extreme conditions. Speaking of fuel economy, it's not stellar. The EPA estimates the Tiguan Limited will return19 miles per gallon in the city, 25 on the highway, and 22 combined on all-wheel-drive models.

The turbo four can make things interesting, but most competitors' normally-aspirated engines offer equal power, with rivaling turbos packing considerably more powerful offerings. Like many older, four-cylinder turbos, Premium fuel is recommended for the Tiguan Limited's 2.0-liter.

Style

The Tiguan Limited's conservative exterior is wrapped around an interior that, while on the small side, looks nice enough The materials are simple and richly textured. Fit and finish is impressive, the front seats are sporty and supportive, while the driving position is excellent. The second row seats slide and tilt to adjust for more passenger room or cargo space, and offer adequate shoulder and leg room, while the parking footprint is small enough that it's not a challenge to park.

On the downside, only cloth upholstery is available – leather requires stepping up to the redesigned Tiguan. In going the mono-spec route, VW also axed the option of power seats, heated seats, adjustable seat height and lumbar support, a sunroof, automatic climate control, fog lights, LED running lights, and bi-xenon headlights. More worryingly, the Tiguan Limited's crash test results are subpar, while the cargo capacity (24 cubic feet with the second row up and a maximum of 56 with it folded) can't compare to that of rivals like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, which can top 70 cu ft of max cargo volume.

The Best and Worst Things

Despite being limited to cloth, the interior remains decidedly upscale.

It's a bummer that advanced safety features aren't available.

Right For? Wrong For?

Volkswagen Tiguan Limited

A small footprint and versatile interior should help to attract urban-dwellers that need an affordable crossover.

Poor crash test scores and the lack of advanced safety gear will hurt the Tiguan Limited with families.

The Bottom Line

Despite a city-friendly size and upscale interior, the Tiguan Limited disappoints with a conservative design, lack of equipment, and poor safety ratings.