Confirmed: With a New Volkswagen Tiguan Incoming, the Old Volkswagen Tiguan Becomes the Tiguan Limited in America

The enlarged, second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan arrives at Volkswagen of America’s dealers this summer, leaving room beneath Volkswagen’s Honda CR-V challenger for a smaller, more affordable utility vehicle.

No, not the T-Roc. That’s later. Automotive News has received confirmation from a Volkswagen spokesperson regarding a rumor we already knew well: the existing Volkswagen Tiguan will survive as the Volkswagen Tiguan Limited.

We would have preferred the City Tiguan nomenclature, but so be it.

Volkswagen won’t be the first automaker to replace an old model, only to provide the old model with a stay of execution. You’ll fondly recall the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Classic, which is decidedly not a classic, that cohabited with the seventh-generation Malibu in GM’s sedan lineup for fleet purposes. Chevrolet then did the same with the Impala Limited, a continuing ninth-gen full-size sedan that fought for fleet sales while the current Impala became a retail-oriented car.

Then there’s the Nissan Rogue Select — the first-generation Rogue you wouldn’t select — which ran as a distinctly affordable compact crossover from 2014 to 2015 in conjunction with the current Nissan Rogue.

But it’s also a strategy Volkswagen knows well, even here in North America. The Volkswagen City Golf and City Jetta were Mk4 Volkswagen compacts that continued for four model years following the launch of the fifth-gen Golf (initially known as Rabbit) and Jetta.

Likewise, America’s 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan will become the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Limited. Yes, the 2018 model year will be its tenth. It’s somewhat cramped: with 23.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats and 95.4 cubic feet of passenger volume, the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Limited will be 39 percent and 10 percent less voluminous, respectively, than a 2018 Honda CR-V.

However, the Tiguan Limited won’t be Volkswagen’s primary CR-V competitor. The 2018 Tiguan (sans Limited badge) is ten inches longer than the Tiguan Limited and is big enough to offer a third row of seating. Instead, the Tiguan Limited will stack up, size-wise, against vehicles such as the Honda HR-V. Granted, even the HR-V provides slightly more passenger and cargo volume than the Tiguan Limited.

But while the outgoing Tiguan/incoming Tiguan Limited is old and small, recent demand hasn’t reflected those facts. 2016 was the Tiguan’s best U.S. sales year ever by a wide margin — sales jumped 74 percent between 2014 and 2016, alone. The Tiguan’s best ever sales month came in December of last year when 5,575 were sold.

That wasn’t enough to make the Tiguan a mainstream choice in the compact crossover sector. Numerous small luxury brand utility vehicles can sell distinctly more often than that. But it highlighted Volkswagen’s ability to, like every other automaker, sell SUVs if there are SUVs to sell (and if the price is right).

The price of the 2018 Tiguan Limited, Automotive News says, won’t be known until late June. It’s Volkswagen’s intention to severely limited the number of models in the Tiguan Limited lineup. Volkswagen Canada, for example, sold the City Golf and City Jetta as de-contended entry-level compacts with subcompact-aping prices and were sufficiently popular for Volkswagen to provide the cars with a mid-cycle facelift.

Volkswagen Canada’s plans for the first-generation Tiguan may not be identical to Volkswagen of America’s.

“We are presently working on a Canadian version and hope to announce details in the coming weeks,” Volkswagen Canada media relations manager, Thomas Tetzlaff, told TTAC earlier today.

Here’s hoping Volkswagen Canada skips the Limited naming scheme. Consumers are prone to link Limited with top-spec models, but this Tiguan Limited is actually going to be a lower-spec version of the old model.

City Tiguan? Nah, that doesn’t make sense for a utility vehicle.

Country Tiguan. There it is. The 2018 Volkswagen Country Tiguan. Like a rugged, utilitarian, farm implement in Saskatchewan.

Regardless of the badges, the old Tiguan’s protraction, the new Tiguan’s arrival, the Touareg’s continuity, and the ramping-up of the Atlas effectively doubles the size of Volkswagen’s SUV/crossover lineup over the span of mere months.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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