Volkswagen will soon replace its Tiguan compact SUV with a newer and larger version, which should help it pull in buyers looking for more size and functionality. The current model, which has only received…

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
Still cute and perky, the current 2017 Tiguan takes its final breath with this new Wolfsburg Edition. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Volkswagen will soon replace its Tiguan compact SUV with a newer and larger version, which should help it pull in buyers looking for more size and functionality.

The current model, which has only received a mid-cycle update since 2007, is smaller than most compacts, and therefore sells in much fewer numbers than more popular compacts like Honda’s CR-V, Toyota’s RAV4, Nissan’s Rogue, etcetera. The Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage suffer from a similar scenario, as they’re sized closer to large subcompact SUVs like Mitsubishi’s RVR, Toyota’s new C-HR, and Nissan’s upcoming Qashqai.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
Rugged looking it’s not, the Tiguan proving its worth on curving pavement like most VWs. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The actual sales numbers might be deflating if VW wasn’t in the process of launching a new 2018 Tiguan, with the current model’s 2017 year-to-date sales of 2,562 units ranking 12th out of 16 models selling into the mainstream compact SUV segment; the bottom feeders are made up of niche brands and models like Mitsubishi’s Outlander and Subaru’s Crosstrek respectively, plus has-beens like Jeep’s Patriot and Compass (yes, surprisingly these two Dodge Caliber-based “classics” are still for sale, the latter even being redesigned for 2018). The Tiguan fared slightly better last year, its 11,229 total sales placing 11th overall after all 12 months of 2016 came to a close.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
These 17-inch alloys are standard with the Wolfsburg Edition. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Does its poor ranking make it a bad choice in the compact SUV class? Not at all. In fact, if you were to compare its sales amongst subcompact SUVs, its 2017 YTD number would put it third out of nine competitors, while its 2016 calendar year sales would find it second overall. Of course, if we did this we’d need to toss the two Korean compact SUVs into the mix, but even knocking that fantasy sales chart standing down a couple of notches would be a good showing for the little VW.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
Does the dash layout still look fresh enough for you? (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Yes, that’s quite an intro for a “Garage” update, but I find sales details compelling (they’re the only real indicators of how much we consumers like a given vehicle, or not), and as I often say, the one thing the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” taught us was just how often the audience is correct (makes me still believe in the power of democracy despite recent events). So based on that bit of science, is the Tiguan your best bet amongst compact SUVs?

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
This impressive infotainment system was new last year. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I’ll attempt to answer that question in an upcoming review (and it will no doubt come down to available discounts), but until then I’ll give you a short rundown on the car at hand. First off, all 2017 Tiguans come with VW’s peppy 2.0-litre TSI gasoline-powered four-cylinder, producing 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic with Tiptronic manual mode puts the power down to the front wheels, while as-tested 4Motion all-wheel drive is optional.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
Two-tone black and beige leatherette seats. Cool? We think so. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

In a nice change of events, VW provided a more basic trim level for we journos to drive this time around, which normally happens when any automaker is trying to promote a special edition model (normally our weekly rides are fully loaded up with loot so we enjoy the best possible experience). Therefore, our tester was the second-rung (out of four) Wolfsburg Edition, which takes a base Trendline and adds 4Motion AWD, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with powered lumbar support, their (new last year) 6.33-inch Composition Media infotainment touchscreen with a proximity-sensing display (cool), App-Connect with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink phone connectivity, an SD card slot, and eight-speaker audio, while supposedly “Wolfsburg Edition” badges were stuck onto the outside B pillars, but I can’t find these at all.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
It looks pretty fancy back here, but how does it measure up? (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I defer to VW’s associated paperwork (they hand out when picking up each car), and yes it says “Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4MOTION” right there in black on white. A quick trip over to the VW.ca website shows that indeed the Wolfsburg Edition is the only trim available with my tester’s unique two-tone black and beige leatherette upholstery (a no-cost option that someone at VW’s PR department checked—black being the alternative), its infotainment system isn’t available with navigation (not included in my loaner), and its only paid option is a $1,450 panoramic sunroof (check). So this $31,648 SUV is indeed a completely loaded 2017 Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion in standard Pacific Blue paint (new for this year), sans “Wolfsburg Edition” badging. It must have been an early build.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
A panoramic glass sunroof… we like! (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Anyway, you may want to know that Reflex Silver is new to the Tiguan paint palette this year and available with the Wolfsburg Edition too, while other possible Wolfsburg colours include Deep Black Pearl, Pure White, and Night Blue Metallic (a darker hue than our tester), while yet more 2017 Tiguan additions (can you believe they still updated this eight-year old model for its final partial year before getting replaced?) are relegated to pricier Comfortline and Highline trims.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition 4Motion
A nicely finished cargo compartment, but is it big enough? (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

For now we’ll leave the commentary there, and instead revisit this special Tiguan soon as a full road test review. That means I’ll let you know how it drives, if it’s interior is still up to snuff after all these years, how well the relatively new infotainment system works, is that eight-speaker audio system any good, if there’s enough room in back, how useful the storage area is, etcetera. Stay tuned…

Ask any auto scribe to name their top 10 cars and Volkswagen’s GTI will likely show up somewhere on the list, or at least it did before this Golf R arrived. At first glance it doesn’t look all that…

2017 Volkswagen Golf R

Ask any auto scribe to name their top 10 cars and Volkswagen’s GTI will likely show up somewhere on the list, or at least it did before this Golf R arrived.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R
Sporty Golf R is still a subtler design than the more youth-targeted GTI. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

At first glance it doesn’t look all that different, other than a few unique aero aids, 19-inch alloys, a quad of chrome-tipped tailpipes poking through a rear diffuser, and a big “R” badge on the liftgate, but VW’s usual subtly (compared to Subaru’s dinner table-sized WRX STI wing) masks a seemingly rally capable drivetrain boasting a 292 horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 280 lb-ft of torque (the same mill as used in the Audi S3 and TTS Coupe), a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automated transmission, and a sport-tuned version of Volkswagen’s already capable 4Motion all-wheel-drive.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R
The R’s quad of chromed tailpipes is an intimidating sight. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

We test this quickest-ever Golf and fastest VW overall with the autobox, complete with standard paddles, and without giving much away ahead of a forthcoming review, its powertrain provides a more mature and refined delivery than, say, the immediate punch of the aforementioned WRX STI. Likewise its fully independent suspension is made for aging buttocks, pampering with standard adaptive dampers that offer three levels of comfort-oriented firmness.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R
Sport steering wheel and metal pedals look brilliant. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The R arrived for model year 2016 and therefore the 2017 model carries forward mostly unchanged except for standard blindspot monitoring, and standard Driver Alert, which pays attention to a variety of parameters and then recommends you take a break when you may be getting tired. The 2017 model also includes a Sport HMI display that provides performance details within the base 6.3-inch colour infotainment touchscreen (that also features a rearview camera), while the exterior paint palette has grown to include Limestone Grey Metallic.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R
This big 8-inch infotainment display is optional, but worth the upgrade to the Technology package. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

You’d think this most potent Golf would be racier looking than the GTI inside, but in fact it’s cabin focuses more on delivering a more mature (there’s that word again) premium experience than luring in those easily swayed by flashy styling and glitzy gizmos. Its high (for a mainstream volume-branded compact hatchback) $40,695 base price might have something to do with its more luxury-oriented approach, the GTI with its more provocative interior and eye-grabbing exterior, replete with front fascia styling strakes, targeting a younger demographic with its more attainable $29,495 starting price.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R
Comfortable and fabulously supportive sport seats are a cut above. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Therefore, leather upholstered sport seats with light grey contrast stitching come standard with the R, as do piano black lacquered inlays with beautiful blue accent lighting on the doors. Additional sporting elements include a flat-bottomed leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, also with light grey stitching, a leather- and metal-adorned shift knob and leather boot (also contrast stitched), plus metal foot pedals with rubber grips.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R
Rear seat passengers have plenty of room. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The only way to make the Golf R more practical would be to add a wagon variant, but so far VW hasn’t responded to the ultimate wishes of its ardent niche five-door fans. Still, standard 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks maximize utility.

An optional Technology package adds a proximity-sensing 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s one of the best in the biz thanks to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, superb graphics, and quick operation, while dynamic cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and parking sensors are also part of the upgrade.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R
A thoroughly practical sports car. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

High demand makes sure the Golf R sells out long before any 2018s arrive, so it’s good news that Volkswagen Canada managed to get their hands on more for the 2017 model year.

Make sure you come back soon to read the entire 2017 Volkswagen Golf R review…

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