The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is Attractive and Problematic

Volkswagen’s Tiguan tends to stand out in a crowd because of its dapper and dynamic style. But once you look beneath the surface, you will find that this  SUV is riddled with potential issues. Because the Tiguan has a checkered history when it comes to reliability, it makes it hard to determine what model year is best to buy used. The 2018 Tiguan is particularly tempting because it marks the latest redesign. However, it’s also one of the more problematic options. 

What makes the 2018 Tiguan attractive 

The 2018 model year was big for the VW Tiguan because it introduced a new generation of striking features. In 2018, the Tiguan appeared bolder on the outside and came with more desirable interior features. The Tiguan’s 2018 redesign included optional third-row seating and standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This SUV’s fuel-efficiency ratings also improved in 2018.

Nonetheless, the 2018 Tiguan was recalled 10 times

A Volkswagen Tiguan on display at an auto show
Volkswagen Tiguan | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Recall actions on a vehicle aren’t always a deal-breaker, but the ones on the 2018 Tiguan are hard to ignore because there are 10 of them. It’s pretty overwhelming to name all of them but we will start at the beginning here. VW first recalled the Tiguan because of a potential issue with its installed frontal airbags which could increase the risk of passenger injuries. Then the SUV was recalled for its recoil strings which could fracture prematurely. The next time the Tiguan was recalled was for its electrical system.

The other recall issues on the Tiguan spanned from its lower ball joint, sunroof assembly, engine, exterior lights, as well as with its passenger airbags. This SUV was also recalled among other vehicles in the VW lineup for not complying with regulatory requirements. The Tiguan was also listed as one of the SUVs that got a failing headlight grade.

The 2018 Tiguan’s spotty reliability scores 


How Safe Is the Volkswagen Tiguan?

Because of the recall issues, Consumer Reports unsurprisingly gave the 2018 Tiguan a terrible predicted reliability score. CR’s reliability data is based on information from current vehicle owners as well as based on the performance of earlier model years. The biggest area of concern on the 2018 model was related to its power equipment. Other problem areas in the previous model years included the Tiguan’s body integrity, brakes, and suspension. 

Oppositely, J.D. Power gave the 2018 Tiguan an above-average dependability score. But J.D. Power’s vehicle information isn’t as thorough as CR’s. J.D. Power mostly focuses on the potential problem areas of a vehicle within the first 90 days of ownership.

What to consider if you really want a Tiguan 

Because of all the issues associated with the  2018 Tiguan, we wouldn’t recommend buying it. If you are set on buying a used Tiguan, you might want to consider the 2017 and 2014 model years instead. Furthermore, there are much more reliable, luxury-focused SUVs to buy used such as the Mazda CX-5. On the plus side though, the 2020 Tiguan is performing much better so far.