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Volkswagen kicks off its crossover offensive with the entirely new 2017 Tiguan

Volkswagen has been promising a crossover expansion for several years now. An ever-increasing number of concepts have been displayed at auto shows all around the world, but until now, none of them have landed in showrooms. The wait is finally over, as the Wolfsburg-based car maker will begin its soft-roader takeover when it shows the all-new 2017 Tiguan at tomorrow’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Visually speaking, the next Tiguan is markedly inspired by the aforementioned concepts, notably the Cross Coupe GTE that was presented last January at the Detroit Motor Show. The front end is characterized by sharp headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights, a thin three-slat grille, and V-shaped creases in the hood. In profile, flared wheel arches add a rugged touch to the overall look, while a more pronounced — and higher — belt line emphasizes the Tiguan’s length. Finally, the back end receives chiseled tail lamps inspired by the ones found on the eighth-gen Passat that’s sold in Europe and a roof-mounted spoiler.

The second-generation Tiguan is built on Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform, a shift that allows it to lose approximately 110 pounds. It stretches 176.6 inches long, 72.4 inches wide and 64.3 inches tall, dimensions that make it slightly longer, wider and shorter than its predecessor.

Volkswagen has confirmed the Tiguan will spawn a long-wheelbase model in approximately a year. With room for up to seven passengers, the longer Tiguan was designed largely for the Chinese market but it could also make its way to the United States. However, the company has not commented on the oft-rumored sportier model that will allegedly feature a sleek, BMW X6-like roof line.

The inside story

The new Tiguan’s cockpit is considerably more modern-looking than the last gen model’s, and its design is noticeably inspired by other members of the Volkswagen lineup like the aforementioned Euro-spec Passat. The steering is commanded through a three-spoke multi-function wheel, and the traditional analog instrument cluster can be replaced by a digital unit at an extra cost.

A large touch screen that runs the latest generation of Volkswagen’s infotainment system dominates the slightly driver-oriented center console. Called MIB II, it’s compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The layout of the dash remains familiar to anyone who has recently driven a Volkswagen: the navigation-, connectivity- and entertainment-related buttons are found on either side of the touch screen, the HVAC controls are located right below, and all driving-related switches (such as the ones used to turn the parking sensors and the start/stop system on and off) are right next to the gear lever.

In Europe, all models regardless of trim level come standard with electronic driving aids such as front assist, city emergency braking, pedestrian monitoring, a lane departure warning system and seven airbags. A heads-up display and a 360-degree camera are found on the list of options, and top-spec models up the ante with adaptive cruise control.

Trunk space checks in at 18.4 cubic feet five five passengers on board, though it’s possible to obtain 21.8 cubes by sliding the reach bench forward by roughly seven inches. 58.5 cubic feet are available with the rear seats folded flat.

In the engine bay

In Europe, Volkswagen will offer the Tiguan with no less than eight four-cylinder engines, all of which feature turbocharging, direct injection, and a start/stop system. The gasoline-powered TSI mills make anywhere between 125 and 220 horsepower, while the diesel-burning TDI units generate between 115 and 240 ponies. Both manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions will be available, and select engines will send power to all four wheels via Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. In its most potent configuration, the Tiguan can tow over 5,500 pounds.

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Four-wheel drive models sit a little higher than their two-wheel drive counterparts, and they can be ordered with a specific front end that raises the approach angle from 18.3 to 25.6 degrees. At the other end of the spectrum, the Tiguan R-Line gains a deeper bumper accented by a strip of body-colored trim, side skirts, a bigger spoiler and a pair of chromed exhaust tips.

A plug-in hybrid model — previewed by the Tiguan GTE concept that will also be shown in Frankfurt — is widely expected to join the Volkswagen family in the not-too-distant future.

It’s important to note the Tiguan that will be displayed in Frankfurt tomorrow will be a Euro-spec model.  The U.S.-spec Tiguan will likely be presented to the public in November at the Los Angeles Motor Show, and it will go on sale in time for the 2017 model year.