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2009 Volkswagen Tiguan: A Preview


Volkswagen has developed a little brother for the Touareg SUV, and as a reader, you may have seen our previous Tiguan report and podcast. Set to launch midway through 2008, the Tiguan is a small SUV of the crossover/modern style, based on the latest Golf (known as the Rabbit in U.S. dealerships). But like the Touareg above it, Tiguan has some rock-crawling capability (depending on equipment and market). With inspiration claimed in part from dune buggies, it is fitting that VW ensures the small SUV can get over some rocks and through some sand.
The formal reveal is scheduled for the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, but VW has been comparatively public about its development. The first hint of their intent was found in 2004’s outlandish Concept T, an odd cross between sports car, SUV, and dune buggy revealed the North American International Auto Show. Next the inspiration was applied to Concept A, a more rational development of ideas born in the Concept T shown in February 2006 at the Geneva auto show. In November 2006, the near-production Concept Tiguan was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show. VW has released quite much about the European-market Tiguan and invited a group of international journalists to tag along for some development testing in Namibia. The first production photos were released in June 2007 and we’ve got a pretty clear picture of the car you can buy next summer.



(Click for more Concept T photos here and here, another Concept A photo, and another Concept Tiguan photo.)

In this web-driven world, there is a microsite with advanced Tiguan information, images of the concept cars, and short films about Tiguan’s inspiration and development. The site is appealing and if you have the patience to wait for the mini-movies to load, you are rewarded with designer Andreas Mindt and head of VW design Klaus Bischoff describing their vision for the vehicle. It’s in German, but VW has thoughtfully provided subtitles. Check it out at; VW says more than a million people have been there in fifteen weeks.
Two Looks: Purposeful Off-Road or Stylish Urban
Due to the U.S. tendency for not straying further off road than the mall, only the on-road nose in Trend & Fun and Sport & Style trim levels are planned for U.S. showrooms. But there are two faces of Tiguan for international markets. The Track & Field nose allows for a 28-degree approach angle versus the 18-degree angle with the deeper city-friendly noses and it will be equipped with off-road electronic aids including hill-descent, stability, and traction control rather than traditional low-range gearing or differential locks. At launch, 4Motion will be standard, though a front-drive is likely to be added later.


Differences between the two looks are all below the grille; hood, headlights, and grille are shared. The base Trend & Fun will sport sixteen-inch wheels, with the Sport & Style moving to seventeens, both sporting the more stylish face. If that’s not enough, VW promises optional eighteen-inch wheels.

Turbocharged, Direct-Injection I4 Engines for Maximum Efficiency and Power
Not unlike its competition, the Tiguan will offer four-cylinder power only. Unlike the competition, all engines will be direct-injection, turbocharged units and the U.S. lineup promises more power than most other Compact SUVs or Compact Crossover SUVs. In the States, look for one gasoline and one diesel, though the diesel may have a delayed launch. The gasoline unit is the 200HP 2.0L turbocharged FSI in the GTi and Audi’s A3 and TT. The Bluetec diesel is a 2.0L direct-injection turbocharged unit, delivering 170HP. In addition to the 200HP gasoline and 170HP diesel units, international markets will see 1.4L Twincharger engines (so called for their use of both turbo and supercharging) in 150HP and 170HP outputs and a 140HP 2.0L diesel. The 1.4L will get the option of VW’s new seven-speed DSG (automated manual), but the 2.0L engines are expected to see the existing six-speed automatic, DSG, or manual options.
Tiguan Sports Some Tricks New to Volkswagen of America
The Tiguan will be offered with a 30GB hard-drive system for operating the navigation and storing music. The touch-screen system will also operate hand-free phone and auxiliary MP3 players and iPods. At least in international specification, the Tiguan’s RNS 510 navigation/entertainment system will get a standard rear-view camera system as well. And for those markets that get the Track & Field version, there is an off-road setting for navigation that allows you to store up to 500 points on even non-digitized roads to get back to the city once you’ve left.

Volkswagen’s European Touran and CrossTouran models added a Park Assist feature for 2007 that helps you parallel park. As the Tiguan uses Golf parts just like the Touran and CrossTouran, it may not be much of a surprise that Tiguan will also offer the feature.

Assuming both features are offered globally, this will be the first application of both the hard drive system and the parking assist to VW’s North American lineup


  • iqbal| July 16, 2008 at 1:41 am

    please give me description about differences between tiguan track and tiguan tren

  • Anson| May 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    I’m from vancouver and belive it or not I saw one on the street most of the car was uncovered but the door handles still had white plastic on it… 1 thing before you judge the car it looks ALOT better in person (and from the front it looks like a facelifted/concept tourag)

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