1.5″ Lifted VW Tiguan Off road build with Overland Style Mods

  • Off-road Build Style: Overlanding
  • Model: Volkwagen Tiguan MK2
  • Wheels & Tires: 30"
  • Suspension Lift: 1.5"
  • Vehicle Owner: Nate Classen
1.5″ Lifted VW Tiguan Off road build with Overland Style Mods
MK2 VW Tiguan off roading in rocky terrain
Overlanding in a Volkswagen Tiguan crossover
VW Tigan on 30" BFG TA KO2 A/T Off road Tires
VW Tiguan FSR Evolution roof top tent with ledder +7
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When you think of capable off-road vehicles, the Volkswagen Tiguan likely doesn’t come to mind. However, Nate Classen had a different idea when he purchased his 2021 VW Tiguan R-Line. Rather than lowering it for a street look as originally planned, Nate asked himself, “Why would I want to lower an all-wheel drive vehicle instead of just enjoying it off-road?” With this thought, his 1.5” lifted Tiguan off-road & overland adventure build was born.

This unique Tiguan off road build features a B2bfab 1.5” camber-correct lift kit to boost ground clearance while preserving the original suspension geometry. Upgraded Atlas shocks, sway bar links, and Firestone air bags were also installed to improve performance off-road.

The Tiguan rolls on BF Goodrich KO2 tires wrapped around Raceline Arrow wheels, providing increased traction. With a custom camo wrap, roof top tent, auxiliary lights, and other overland accessories, Nate’s Tiguan is ready to conquer trails that most road-focused crossovers couldn’t even dream of traversing.

VW Tigan on 30" BFG TA KO2 A/T Off road Tires
BF Goodrich T/A KO 2 sized 245/65R17 (30”) with Raceline Rims (17 x 8.5 45ET)

List of Modifications & Upgrades:

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

Lift Kit

  • B2bfab 1.5” Camber-correct Lift kit 
  • Atlas shocks on the back with extended length
  • Firestone Air bags to level the back when loaded
  • Upgraded swaybar links front and back
  • Muffler delete

Off-road Wheels

  • BF Goodrich KO 2 245/65R17 (30”)
  • Raceline arrow 17 x 8.5 45ET with 19mm spacer (hub adapters 5×112 to 5×114.3)
  • Powertank prototype monstervalve – allows to air down very fast

Exterior

  • Liquid camo design by Wrapstock (custom designed wrap)
  • Rhino Rack Sun seeker awning
  • Rhino rack pioneer platform system
  • FSR Evolution Roof top tent with additional rails
  • KC Action track recovery boards

Lights

  • Rigid industries 360 lights with Amber covers
  • Rigid Industries Adapt 40” LED lightbar
  • Rigid Indrustries Chase series pod lights

Performance

  • APR stage 2 Tune
  • Luft-technik cold air intake
  • Powerstop ported and slotted brake rotors with Evolution series brake pads
VW Tiguan with b2bfab 1.5" lift kit
B2bfab 1.5” Camber-correct Lift kit 

The Interview

Why did you choose a Tiguan for your off-road project? Is there any interesting story behind it? 

I chose the Tiguan because of the unique feel of it. I want a challenge for a build and not something that anyone can throw together. VW has the ability to go off-road, it’s just not a targeted market for it. I liked the idea of going the polar opposite. 

What was the most difficult part of the build? 

The most difficult part of the build has been getting enough ground clearance and suspension dialed in. Still a work in progress as there really isn’t anything out there and getting manufacturers on board with it is pretty hard. They all love the idea behind it, but not having enough followers makes it difficult to justify the investment. 

What do you love the most about your project? 

One thing I love about this build is it turns non-believers into believers, or the comments I get, asking “Is that A VW on that wicked trail”?!

It’s fun seeing people getting excited about such an underrated rig take on trails you wouldn’t see a street machine out on.

VW Tiguan FSR Evolution roof top tent with ledder
FSR Evolution Roof top tent with additional rails to mount necessary gear.

Any recommendations for someone considering a Tiguan as their off-road project?

100% get what has been confirmed to work. If there are no photos for installation and no reviews, there is a good chance it doesn’t work. Reach out to me and I’ll let you know if it does. Helped many followers get out of a bad situation due to that very issue!

That’s what this build is all about – helping others get out and do the same thing, have the right parts, keep the functionality of their rigs and not have to do all that extra R&D that I’ve gone through.

How does it perform off-road compared to other Crossovers or SUVs that you’ve taken off-road before? 

It’s no Toyota, Porsche, or Jeep but it handles its own, that’s for sure. It does really well on the trails and can be a bit rough when on washouts, but we are working on finding a strut and shock combination that will eliminate that issue.

It is limited on the articulation and approach angles but being mindful of your limitations and knowing how it will react when you’re pushing the limit will help you avoid getting into a sticky situation. With all the installs I’ve done on it, I know more about my rig than I would just by driving it. That’s a big takeaway from doing the installs.

Off Roaddriving in Rock Volkswagen Tiguan MK2

What kind of terrain do you think it shines on and what to avoid?

If you’re using an overland trail map system like Giaa or Onx maps sticking to a trail rated 2 may be 3 is a safe bet that you will be able to get through the terrain. Handles well on gravel/rocky terrain depending on the tires you’re running.

Does pretty well on steep terrain as well. Highly recommend turning off traction control when in AWD otherwise you lose the capability of that halidex transmission and you’re not going to advance.

Avoid trails that have lots of big boulders that you have to navigate over and through unless you have a really good spotter to help. Otherwise being mindful of your limitations will prevent you from taking the wrong trails.

You only have roughly 2 inches maybe three of extra clearance before you’re going to start ripping panels off or smashing your oil pan. Skid plates are available but they tie into your front bumper and can really play havoc if you’re going too hard. Currently trying to find a manufacturer to design one the continue

See Also
Lifted Ford Bronco Wildtrak With Off-road Mods Built by a Jeep Guy

Is there anything specific that you should keep an eye on when taking it off-road? Like transmission/differential overheating or low-hanging parts?

Be mindful of it overhearing in higher temps and higher elevations. I actually had that happen this summer and ended up having to install a bigger intercooler and add an additive mix called water wetter to help keep the engine cooler. The transmission is a champ and has yet to have any issues with it overheating. 

Staying on top of your services is a huge help as well. Especially when working it harder. I change my oil more often than recommended because of how hard I push my Tiguan, same with the transmission. And clean your air filter after every trip! It will help your turbo out immensely!

Lifted VW Tiguan on 245/65R17 Off road wheels 30"

The Off-road Build Summary

Ground Clearance

To improve ground clearance and performance off-road, Nate installed a B2bfab 1.5” lift kit with camber correction to prevent alignment issues. Upgraded Atlas shocks on the rear and taller sway bar links further improve suspension articulation and handling over rough terrain. Firestone air bags allow Nate to level out the stance when loaded down for camping trips.

Wheels

Aggressive BFGoodrich KO2 tires in a 245/65R17 size provide increased traction on dirt and rocks. They are wrapped around 17″ Raceline Arrow wheels in a bronze finish, with 19mm spacers and hub adapters to fit the Tiguan’s 5×112 bolt pattern. A prototype “monster valve” from Powertank allows rapid tire airing down when venturing off-road.

Overland Gear

To transform his Tiguan into a mini overland adventure rig, Nate equipped it with a sleek camo wrap job from Wrapstock, Rhino-Rack roof equipment including a Sunseeker awning and Pioneer platform rack for storing spare tires and gear. A Free Spirit Evolution rooftop tent with additional side rails provides comfortable accommodations on extended trips. Rigid Industries LED auxiliary lights provide enhanced illumination on dim forest roads and trails at night.  

Performance Mods

To back up the rugged looks and improve power delivery, Nate added an APR Stage 2 tune with a Luft-Technik cold air intake for more responsive throttle control. Upgraded PowerStop slotted brake rotors and pads round out the mods with improved stopping power.

Off-roading in a Volkswagen Tiguan MK2

Conclusion

While Touaregs and Cayennes become pretty common in the off-road community, their smaller brother, is yet to be popular. Nate Classen’s lifted VW Tiguan proves that thinking outside the box can pay big dividends when building an off-road rig. By taking a crossover not typically associated with extreme terrain and modifying it with targeted upgrades, he created a one-of-a-kind overland machine ready for adventure. This inspired build shows that a stock vehicle’s intended purpose need not limit your imagination or creativity when you envision new possibilities.

Catch Nate’s lifted Tiguan project in action out on the trails by checking out his Rogue Element channel on YouTube. See for yourself how this uniquely modified VW crossover handles a variety of terrains that most stock Tiguans would never dare attempt.

 
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