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Volkswagen Tiguan PDF Print E-mail

It's not yet available - it should be brought to market in late 2007 - but the Volkswagen Tiguan would appear to be an ideal vehicle for the roads and countryside of Phuket. Think of it as VW's answer to the Toyota RAV4. Only a great deal better.

Based on the highly successful Golf, the Tiguan, albeit still in concept form, was displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, where it received universal acclaim. Inevitably known as a "small Touareg", Volkswagen's upmarket SUV, the new vehicle will feature all-wheel drive in most versions, while the model presented in Los Angeles featured a so-called "Clean TDI", a diesel engine of the next generation. In this unit Volkswagen says it employs a modular concept of different systems to significantly reduce emissions.

One of the systems includes a NOx (oxides of nitrogen) storage catalytic converter, reducing the nitrogen oxides by up to 90 percent compared to existing engines. This unit, says VW, meets the strictest emissions standards in the world.

The "Clean TDI" introduced in the Tiguan is part of the BLUETEC initiated jointly by Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. The idea is to establish a concept of BLUETEC as a uniform label for clean and low-consumption cars and SUVs with diesel engines. BLUETEC complies with even the strictest U.S. emissions regulations.

The technologies used and individually developed by each manufacturer serve to reduce nitrogen oxides in particular - the only exhaust components that lie above the rates of gasoline engines, due to the conceptual design of diesel engines.

The overall design of the Tiguan is distinctive and surpasses the rather bland appeal of the RAV4, although probably Toyota would disagree.



"It was very important to us to have the car appear powerful. Muscular. For us that had a higher priority than anything else," says Klaus Bischoff, head of design at Wolfsburg, Volkswagen's spiritual home and still its headquarters. The Tiguan, its makers say, transfers the Touareg idea of a capable sedan and SUV into a different class.

Of modest proportions, the new vehicle is just 4.4 meters long and 1.69 meters high. There is a distinctive hood feeding into the headlamps, while broad, powerful bumpers beneath the headlamps are completed by matching foglamps.

"An off-roader needs a long hood and an upright position," adds Bischoff, "That lends the vehicle self-assuredness and power."

Viewed from the side, it is clearly related to the Touareg; it is also immediately clear that this is a European design. The 19-inch alloy rims with low-profile tires add to the Tiguan's image of muscle. These are expected to be carried over to become a production reality later this year.

The interior is much as you would expect, with comfortable seating for five, while the rear seat backs can be folded asymmetrically to offer versatile cargo space. Fully folded, objects up to 2.5 meters in length can be accommodated. There is a large panoramic roof, a full 1.34 meters in length, affording a great deal of light to the passenger compartment and it is anticipated this will be standard on all but the entry-level model. The concept car featured silver instruments and door handles, while there was also a great deal of orange. Production models are likely to be rather more subdued.

While currently the Tiguan is to be built in Germany, speculation prevails that it may eventually be produced in Puebla, Mexico where the Beetle is made, due to the inherent weakness of the U.S. dollar. North America, of course, will become a major market for the new SUV.

More details of the exact specification of the forthcoming Tiguan are expected in the first quarter of 2007 - probably at the Geneva Salon de l'Automobile in early March - but if the LA concept is anything to go by, it is undoubtedly an ideal prospect for these shores.

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© 2019 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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