Every automaker these days wants to sell a mini-SUV, and Volkswagen is
the latest to join the cute-ute club. The new Volkswagen Tiguan looks
like a miniature Touareg, but it feels more like a giant Golf.
The Tiguan's cabin is
upscale and well built, as Volkswagen and its luxury arm Audi have
become known for. But, like so many things related to VW, the story
quickly gets more interesting from there. Volkswagen has decided to sell
a small sport utility called the Tiguan, a marketing-inspired word that
combines "tiger" with "iguana", that's shockingly endearing, the kind of
vehicle that makes your heart flutter. Let me explain.
Personally, I've never
liked the concept of small SUVs. They look like the big, tough sport
utilities, but they don't have nearly the off-road prowess or towing
ability of their giant brothers. And they have about the same size cabin
as a passenger car, while they don't drive nearly as well. That doesn't
make sense. Now, I realize a lot of people like small SUVs. They just
don't work for me personally.
But, for some strange
reason, this Volkswagen does. It doesn't drive at all like the Touareg,
its fatter sibling, and instead feels like a monster Golf. It's sporty,
cute and zippy. Yes, zippy.
You can feel the German
roots in the Tiguan, too. When you close the doors, they let out the
same Teutonic thud you hear in Mercedes, BMW and Audi luxury cars, like
they're filled with concrete. It has a taut suspension that makes you
dream of autobahn cruising. It's got the same best-in-class interior
treatment that Volkswagen and Audi have perfected. And best of all, it's
adorable. The sweet, baby-face Tiguan looks like it wants to cuddle,
pudgy fenders and all. The shape just makes you grin.
It also has plenty to
show off under the hood, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
engine that makes 200 horsepower. That's ample power for a small SUV
like this, and it gets 26 mpg on the highway at the same time.
All things combined, I
think this is one of the best mini-SUVs on the market. Unfortunately,
it's priced like one.
The Tiguan carries a
higher starting price than most of its competitors because of the level
of standard equipment and, probably, the awful exchange rate between the
euro and the dollar.
My test vehicle cost
more than $33,000, yet it didn't come with things like leather and power
seats. That's hardly a bargain. To be fair, it did have a navigation
system and enormous glass sunroof that was like having a patio door over
your head, but I don't think the Tiguan will appeal to people who shop
on value alone. Still, it has a lot of appeal to me.
What was tested?
The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4Motion SUV with a base price of $28,875.
Options on the test vehicle: Panorama sunroof at $1,300, navigation
system at $1,950, rear side airbags at $350, trailer hitch at $320,
alloy wheels at $400. Price as tested: $33,195.
Why buy it? It
drives like a monster Golf, fun and sporty, and has a distinctly German
feel. It also looks adorable.
Why avoid it?
It's fairly pricey compared to other small, five-passenger SUVs. The
cheapest model starts at $23,200.
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: SUV Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
VW Home Page
Column Name: VW makes
an endearing SUV
Topic: The 2009
Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4Motion
Word Count: 616
Photo Caption: The
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4Motion
Volkswagen Tiguan Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 06
the Microsoft Word version here:
2009 VW Tiguan
Download the Original Image File here:
2009 VW Tiguan