2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Problems and Top Complaints – Is your car a lemon?

Build quality, engine and seatbelt issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Even with a countless number of compact SUVs on the market, Volkswagen has managed to stay ahead of the competition with the Tiguan. Consumers love its modern styling and promise of “exceptional” German engineering. But Volkswagen, at least in recent times, has defaulted topoor reliability. Year after year, the Tiguan falls victim to its maker’s sub-standard build quality. For 2018, VW’s popular SUV has been completely redesigned. Sadly, it’s no better than previous models. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most common problems with the latest Tiguan are structure, engine, and seatbelts.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019

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Problems with structure

A brand new car should be free from “nails-on-a-chalkboard” like sounds. The 2018 VW Tiguan, however,is plagued by an incessant clatter. Online, many owners complain of a rattling sound emanating from the SUV’s B-pillar (that’s the post right behind the driver that houses the seat belt).

An owner from Pueblo, CO, wrote into the NHTSA and said, “While driving at any speed and on any road surface, there is a constant rattling coming from the door and window pillars. It is very loud and noticeable at any speed. Going over rough roads and uneven surfaces makes the rattling worse. The vehicle is brand new and only four days old.”

On Edmunds.com, Tiguan driver Mathew Crawford wrote, “I bought a 2018 Tiguan SEL Premium Plus. I was very excited about the styling and the quality of the drive. The model that was delivered to me in the color combinations I wanted (Silk blue with stone interior) had several issues immediately. The rearview mirror, for example, wasn’t attached correctly. The lane-keeping aids only rarely showed green, rather than orange/yellow. Most irritating was a clicking sound that came from the B pillar.”

So far, Volkswagen has not offered a remedy for this issue. Owners are forced to turn up their stereos to drown out the aggravating B-pillar noise.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 VW Tiguan Build Quality Problems

“Annoying rattle pillar-b driver side only while in motion. Rattle seems related to frame issue and temperature-dependent (it is louder when temps low 30s). Issue widespread reported on the web. Reports already of 3-4 Tiguans that VW has offered full replacement with new vehicles due to this issue. Concerned about safety of my family if structural defect. Car is brand new rattle started at 750 miles.”

“While driving at any speed and on any road surface there is a constant rattling coming from the door and window pillars. It is very loud and noticeable at any speed going over rough roads and uneven surfaces makes the rattling worse. This vehicle is brand new and only four days old. When I called I was told there is no known structural issue. However there are dozens of this issue reported here and on various VW forums.”

“Creak/rattle from driver’s side B-pillar almost since new. Happens when driving over bumps in the road; happens most but not all of the time. Recently started same from passenger-side B-pillar, but less frequently. Most often noticed when driving a moderate speeds (35-55). This is a known issue with a TSB for early model year production. May involve poor/missing welds.”

Problems with the engine

Hesitation from a vehicle while driving can be both scary and dangerous. The Tiguan has stuttered and stumbled for years, and apparently, the issues haven’t been solved in the 2018 model. Owners claim of a dangerous lack of acceleration that puts them in harm’s way.

One comments, “Hello. I have an ’18 Tiguan SEL. It’s less than a month old. It seems to me that it has a hesitation but only when cold. Has anyone else noticed this? I’ve tried sport mode, normal mode, manual shift, etc. but it’s still there. The dealer says it may be characteristic of the car.”

On the NHTSA website, another Tiguan driver complains, “Vehicle hesitates to start from a or dead stop. Will not accelerate as it should. Noticeable lag when shifting and accelerating. Engine misfiring at only 3,000 miles. Very dangerous when turning into traffic or merging onto highways.”

Right now, the jury is still out regarding the cause of the problem. Some guess it’s the electronic throttle body. Others point to the transmission. There has been no response from VW about the issueso far.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 VW Tiguain Engine Problems

“My everyday experience with this vehicle includes – hesitation when accelerating quickly, jerking forcefully when accelerating slowly, random jerking while driving. It seems as though, even as an automatic car, I can feel every gear change. Especially on the freeway, I feel extremely unsafe when I attempt a lane change. When I put my foot on the gas to quickly speed up, my vehicle hesitates and does not match what I am doing on the pedal. The hesitation is especially dangerous for other vehicles on the road. I am extremely anxious when driving my vehicle because I do not feel in control. I worry that, at any point, it will hesitate or jerk forcefully, and cause harm to me, my passengers, and/or those in other vehicles around me.”

“This vehicle has a driveability problem. The car has a major hesitation and is very dangerous when pulling onto the highway. The car almost cuts out but doesn’t stall and find it very dangerous. The dealer told me that nothing is wrong with it. Also, there was a recall on my ambient lighting on my sunroof. There could be a leak or humidity could affect the wiring and could cause a fire. There fix is to disconnect it. I have no sunroof lighting. I should get a refund for something they took away.”

“Vehicles hesitates to start from a slow or dead stop. Will not accelerate as it should. Noticeable lag when shifting and accelerating. Engine misfiring at only 3000 miles. Very dangerous when turning into traffic or merging on to highways. Vehicle gives a false sense of accelerating then stops. This happens reliably over and over.”

Problems with seatbelts

There doesn’t appear to be a separate issue with the Tiguan’s seatbelts. Rather, the complaints listed on the NHTSA website are just more accounts of the B-pillar noise. Understandable, since the seat belt retractor is mounted to the pillar.

One owner, from Brownwood, TX, explains on the NHTSA website, “ There is a rattle coming from the lower B-pillar, coming from the driver seat belt retractor.”

Volkswagen, once famous for building indestructible vehicles like the original Beetle, is now associated with poorly-constructed rattle-traps. Hopefully, the automaker will step up to the plate and address these issues soon.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 VW Tiguain Seatbelt Issues

“I purchased a 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL on Saturday, 02/10/2018. Two days later on 02/12/18 on my commute to work I began hearing a “popping” noise from the B-pilars on both the driver’s and passenger’s side pilars. As if though something was loose inside there. I made an appointment to take the vehicle back to the dealer the following Saturday, 02/17/2018 and when I went in for the appointment the service representative informed me they would not be able to look at my vehicle until the following Monday. I asked him if they could provide me with a loaner so that I could leave my car there and he informed me that he could not make that decision. I looked for my sales agent and he was able to provide me a loaner (2018 Tiguan SE). I received a call from the service rep on Wednesday, 02/21/18 telling me that my vehicle was ready for pick up. I went to pick it up and they informed me they had changed out a defective seat belt height adjuster on driver side. I took the car for a ride and it still made the noise. So I did not accept it. They loaned me a different car (2018 Passat R) and was told they would work on my vehicle. They called me again on Saturday, 02/24/18 to tell me my car was ready. When I went to the dealer on Monday, 02/26/18 (i was out of town on saturday), they told me they had changed the seat belt seat adjuster for the passenger side too. I took it for a ride and the noise was still there on both sides. Again, I did not take possession of my car. They told me they would have to dismantle the headliner to get a better grasp of the problem. I was called again on Friday, 03/02/18 to inform me that they were going to have to bring a specialist from VW (in approximately 2 weeks from 03/02/18) to diagnose the problem before taking more invasive actions. They loaned me a third car (2018 VW Tiguan SEL) and no concrete answer on my vehicle.”

“There is a rattle coming from lower B pillar rattle coming from driver seat belt retractor, overhead console, wood trim on both front doors, both tweeter speaker grills, both rear cup holders, also found rear deck lid clips not clipped in all the way driver rear access panel ratting along with both rear stop light access panels.”

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21 COMMENTS
  • Tia A

    I have a 2018 Tiguan SEL and it started cutting off an dying while driving when ever I pause while using automatic shutoff feature. Is this a recall related issue?

  • Goran

    I have damage on the top of the trunk door of my Tiguan 2018. It happened during the
    automatic opening of the trunk. Ice formed in the gap between a body of the car and a
    trunk door, inside the trunk door. The ice was not visible from the outside of the car;
    therefore it was not possible to remove it prior to opening of the trunk. Now, the top
    of the trunk door is bended inside and I can’t open the trunk more than few inches.
    I had been to VW dealership on Des Sources in Dorval with the photos of the damage
    (they did not ask me to bring the car) and they told me to contact VW Canada,
    because this is not covered by the warranty. At the same dealership they told me there
    were four cases such as mine reported to them so far. It is obvious that there is a flaw
    in design/making the car

  • Paul L

    Engine noisy , should of purchased a Honda

  • Frank P

    I had a 2018 VW Tiguan. My comment on NHTSA website is posted here: “Creak/rattle from driver’s side B-pillar almost since new. Happens when driving over bumps in the road; happens most but not all of the time. Recently started same from passenger-side B-pillar, but less frequently. Most often noticed when driving a moderate speeds (35-55). This is a known issue with a TSB for early model year production. May involve poor/missing welds.” After going returning to the dealer three times, they decided to do a TSB repair. I requested a buy-back, but it was refused. After the TSB repair was completed, the noise was less prominent but was still noticeable. I had enough of VW and the Tiguan and traded it in. Not sure if I have any recourse since I no longer have the vehicle?

  • Amber S

    I have a 2018 Tiguan and it has already been to the dealership 3 times, for several issues. The last time it was there, it was there for just over a month. My car had defective lining that caused the inside of my car to have puddles of water on the carpet and they had to Replace the carpet and the lining in the entire vehicle. It was also there at that same time, for the second time, for my continued complaints of a possible transmission issue. The vehicle has a very hard time accelerating and does not match what my foot is doing on the gas pedal. The vehicle revs at high rpm and clearly has a hard time accelerating when the issue occurs. The dealership has told me that they cant find an issue even though I have videos of this happening. I have also seen complaints about my exact issues on Carcomplaints.com. While my car was at the dealership for the leak repair, they found a handful of recalls that included needing a new gas line. I’ve had a case open with VW corporate for almost 2 months and they have not made a decision about buying back my car.

  • Clarisse R

    Hello, I have a 2018 VW Tiguan that i do not feel safe driving. I have had issues with a leaking roof, Soaked carpets that took 2 trips to service to replace that were full of mold, rattling in the b pillars and the engine has no power and is burning oil. I would like out of my lease without penalties.

  • Dr. D

    I rented a 2019 Blue VW Tiguan suv from Sixt at SFO in June 2019. The suv only had a few thousand miles. We left SFO and headed up to Fr Bragg on the coastal HWY. It definitely was slow to respond and hesitated with acceleration. Then my adult daughter rolled down the window in passenger rear seat while in Yosemite and THE WINDOW GOT STUCK A FEW INCCHES FROM THE BOTTOM AND THEN THE GLASS JUST FELL DOWN INTO THE DOOR. I called Peter at Sixt and was told the closest Sixt was San Jose or SF ( we were in Oakhurst) so he told me to take the NEW CAR TO MICHAEL VW IN FRESNO FOR REPAIR UNDER WARRANTY THE NEXT MORNING. SATURDAY BUT THEY DIDNT HAVE A MECHANIC ON SAT. THERE, I got sent to CLOVIS VW. The counter lady at Clovis said IT IS A COMMON PROBLEM. IT IS COVERED 100% UNDER WARRANTY. OUR ONE MECHANIC ON DUTY IS SO BACKED UP IT WILL TAKE AT LEAST 4-5 Hours FOR HIM TO EVALUATE IT. The problem usually requires taking off TWO DOORS AND WE USUALLY HAVE TO ORDER THE PARTS. So we left with our taped up window( Really really noisy and had to leave SOMONE with suv when we stopped to take pics) and went to Kings Canyon and Sequoia and then exchanged the vehicle at SFO Sunday June 9,2019. Now on 9/2/19, Sixt EMAILED ME A BILL FOR $241. REALLY! Don’t rent from Sixt. Don’t buy a VW. WHY IS SIXT CHARGING ME FOR A PROBLEM THATS COVERED UNDER WARRANTY FROM VW?

  • Chris W

    Purchase 2019 R SEL 4 Motion Sunday.

    check engine light, 25 miles, tire pressure 30, miles, break boost 33 miles, auto start/stop malfunction 35 miles.

    On freeway 75 mph sudden stall decelerating no response from gas pedal almost in an accident.

    At shop now less than 100 miles second day of ownership.

    Case opened with VW North America

  • kevin s

    2018 Tiguan se, now 20k miles. At 15k miles needed new tires allready and dealing with vw now, the rotors are grooved so bad. waiting on corporate to see what thre going to do. vehicle has horrible throttle response. And jerky transmission.

  • GRamos

    Two recalls on the 2018 Tiguan so far (airbag and overhead led lights) and the other night it started leaking water from the overhead console. It has a sunroof but the next day the sunroof well was dry, yet the water that had obviously collected in the overhead was still leaking through. Had to get a ride to work today and it will be there all day. The service only shuttles you to your house. The other odd things are the sluggish response when accelerating (they have checked this before only to say that it is fine) and the windshield wiper fluid is constantly emptying and the alert light comes on often. I hardly use the windshield wiper fluid or at least no more than I have in any other vehicle I have driven. The service is looking into that issue again also. I have had many leases of VW vehicles. 3 Tiguans including this one, two Jettas, and one CC and none of the other vehicles have had these chronic problems. Early on my husband (a trained mechanic and experienced CDL licensed driver) and I experienced a strong hesitation and the car just stopped. He had them check it and again all clear as per the service, but seeing these other comments about hesitations and sudden stops is disconcerting.

  • Jon

    2018 Tiguan has been in the shop for 6 weeks, for the 2nd time since Jan…. Sunroof leaks. The dealer says they keep going back and forth with VW Corp for parts and recommendations. VW Corp has opened a case, any idea what they might do? The key fob also won’t work, replaced the battery twice. Lots of little ticky tack problems that should not come with a new car.

  • Tim M

    My 2018 Tiguan will randomly blast hot air from the driver’s side vents. It has been doing this from almost the first month of ownership. It has been to the dealer 5 or six times for this issue. It is there now.

  • Mo

    I have a vw tiguan r line 2018 and the gearbox is very jerky and it rattles alot when i put on to drive or reverse and while im driving when i deaccelerate theres a knocking sound and there is a rattle noise coming from inside the car at the back as for the gearbox issue it went to vw tec 3 times and they came back with the same anwser its normal thats how dsg ? Many1 have similar issues with theres

  • Traci

    Was carpooling today in 18 Tiguan SE, it was semi heavy traffic on the freeway. MPH was about 65 and slowed considerably, but I was aware and in control. . I had approximately a car and 1/2 length in front of me and all of a sudden the brake assist slams, throwing me and my passenger viciously forward, total whiplash. I was like Whoa, this is not good. It’s the 2nd time now. We also smelt major burnt rubber and as we continued back up to speed of traffic, the car at about 55 MPH made a ghostly wooooo sound , carpooler heard it to. Did it again about 3 minutes later.
    This amongst all the other issues I’m having, pillar noise, horrible acceleration, stalling, lunging at almost complete stop, I’M FED UP.
    Wondering if the lot of us have a safety issue/class action case here? How can that be coordinated?

  • Rahim D

    I have a 2018 Tiguan SE. The seat belt sign is coming on even it is plugged in. I wonder what is going happen if there is a crash?

  • KateC

    I just leased a 2019 VW Tiguan SEL and have had two instances where I was at a full stop before making a u-turn and the car jerked forward, stopped for 4-5 seconds with my foot pushing on the gas peddle and then lurched froward. The first time two oncoming cars had to stop short and swerve out from hitting me. VW of Naples said they cannot repeat the problem and car is fine. I won’t drive it, as I am petrified of driving this vehicle again. It only has 400 mile on it., Opened a case with VW corp, because the dealership will put me in another new vehicle or break my lease. VW Corp listens but says it is at the dealers discretion, while the dealer sates it is VW Crop’s decision. SAFETY SHOULD NEVER COME BEFORE MONEY.

  • Carlos N

    Engine noisy when accelerating in cold situation. It is better after warm up .

  • Arya

    I just leased a 2019 VW Tiguan, and the engine has had 2 major incidents of hesitating after I pressed on the gas. The car has about 200 miles on it. Any recourse?

  • Robert i

    My Tiguan is two months old what an awful ride it feel every little bump
    I wish we could return it

  • Harinder S

    My 8 months old VW Tiguan has displayed multiple safety error messages. The dealer has accepted the fact that the vehicle showed those messages. The dealer wanted me to keep driving.

  • Kelly K

    In February I bought a brand new VW Tiguan and by July it was in the shop along with many many more throughout the country. As of now they are unrepairable. VW has initiated a buy back. I also paid off the loan in July and now they are not wanting to cover the complete payoff from 2 months ago due to negative equity. Do I have any recourse?

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