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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Starts at $26,245

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Starts at $26,245

— When the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan hits dealers this summer, it will set you back at least $26,245 with destination. That's a tad steep for the compact SUV crowd given that rivals like the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape start at just less than $25,000.

Volkswagen released pricing on its redesigned SUV, which grew quite a bit over the prior generation — and got a snazzy warranty upgrade, too. The base price gets you a front-drive Tiguan S with a standard third row (a rarity among smallish SUVs) and a 40/20/40-split folding second row that slides and reclines. Also standard are 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and a 6.5-inch touchscreen with a USB port plus Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the soon-to-be-required backup camera.

Unfortunately, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking — an important safety feature that's standard on the RAV4 and 2018 Rogue — remains optional on the Tiguan S. It's bundled into a safety package with blind spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems for $850. The next-up Tiguan SE ($29,980) includes the package, as well as a larger (8-inch) touchscreen, two more USB ports, keyless access with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control and leatherette upholstery.

Climb the trim levels to the SEL ($33,450) or SEL Premium ($37,150) and you can get 18- or 19-inch rims, navigation, a power liftgate, a panoramic moonroof, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, power-folding side mirrors, a heated steering wheel, Fender premium audio, 12.3-inch virtual gauges and more.

All trim levels have a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder Used Engine (184 horsepower, 221 pounds-feet of torque) and an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive adds $1,300 but deletes the third row, which you can add back for $500. That's an odd choice of packaging, but perhaps VW followed GMC's lead with the redesigned Acadia, whose off-road All Terrain package deletes the otherwise-standard third row.

Later in the model year, VW will offer an R-Line package for the SEL and SEL Premium with sportier exterior and interior styling for $1,495. That puts a factory-loaded SEL Premium a little past $40,000 — a stratosphere that could elicit some sticker shock among small SUV shoppers, as many factory-loaded competitors top out at a few thousand less.

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