What it Is
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Preview – 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: The Touareg has a baby bro, dubbed the Tiguan, and it’s VW’s first crossover. Built on a modified Passat platform, the four-door, all-wheel drive SUV goes on sale in the U.S. next summer. Tiguan will do battle in the same arena as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, although it won’t sell in the same high volume. In the world market VW will offer five engines, three gasoline and two diesel, four of which are turbocharged and one that isn’t coming here at first is supercharged and turbocharged. On the utility side of things, the Tiguan will tow 5,500 pounds.
by Bob Beamesderfer
MyRide Road Test Editor
Photo Credit: Volkswagen, Staff
Why it Matters
Volkswagen is attempting to answer its struggle in the U.S. market with the reintroduced Rabbit, possibly the Up! minicar and the Tiguan small ute. Figuring that Americans’ love affair with vehicles that are at least truck-like will continue, the Tiguan offers a more economical choice than the Touareg. The 2.0 liter diesel engine will be offered in the U.S. once VW overcomes technical issues with the motor being developed for the States. To that end, the Tiguan has a base price of $22,490 and is expected in dealers in early summer 2008.
What’s Under the Hood
For starters, VW will bring the 200 horsepower turbocharged, direct-injection, 2.0 liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine, or TFSI for short. This should give the Tiguan equal footing with its competitors. There are two other gasoline and two diesel engines, all turbocharged four-cylinders with direct injection. A choice of six-speed transmissions will be offered, an automatic and a manual, both of which the company says are capable of going off road. VW also adds 4Motion all-wheel drive. Late summer 2008, the 2.0 liter, turbocharged diesel four-cylinder will arrive for all 50 states. The oil burner’s output is 140 horsepower and 247 lb.-ft. of torque.
What it Looks Like
The Tiguan bears a family resemblance to the Touareg 2, with softer lines around the front-end elements, a smaller lower opening and smaller side ducts. The Tiguan has more pronounced wheel wells and the sides and rear are more sculpted than the Touareg. In person, it’s a rather compact vehicle with attractive styling.
The interior is modern and straightforward, in addition to being a little more down-market looking than Big Brother’s. The center stack is dominated by a touch-screen, which will no doubt handle the entertainment and navigation systems. Speaking of navigation systems, the Tiguan’s radio-nav system guides occupants back to the pavement when used in off-road mode. Rear-seat passenger room is pretty good, and the rear seats are on sliders, which is more of a benefit to cargo space. Speaking of which, the cargo room is good with the seats all the way back.
What Volkswagen Says
VW wants its first crossover to draw new buyers into showrooms. The Tiguan’s starting price reflects that, along with the features that were shown at the Los Angeles show. VW Chief Executive Officer Stefan Jacoby calls the Tiguan the GTi of crossovers. Jacoby also emphasized the company’s belief that the turbo direct-injection diesel (TDI) is an Earth friendly motor. With 840,000 VW diesels sold in the U.S., Jacoby says the company will be the leader in clean diesels with the new TDI engine.
What We Think
Turbocharged, gasoline or diesel, all-wheel drive and manual or automatic six-speed transmissions: That’s a pretty good bit of exclusivity to have in a vehicle that will probably sell for about $25,000 to $30,000. Flexible cargo space, attractive exterior and interior and multi-media features are all good selling points.. VW has abandoned the idea of another Euro Van or Vanagon, so for those who want an adventurous VW at a reasonable price, the Tiguan looks to be the choice.