06 June 2007

The wonderful thing about Tiguans...

VW's Golf-based SUV is alive and well and testing in the Namibian desert

Volkswagen Tiguan

Back in the New Year, we got rather excited - perhaps a little too excited - as details of Volkswagen's Golf-based SUV emerged.

Touted as a competitor to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4, and named after a tiger-iguana hybrid (seriously, we couldn't make that up), the Tiguan was scheduled to arrive in Europe late this year.

But since then, everything's gone rather quiet. We feared that the Tiguan had been consigned to the back burner, along with the Iroc concept we saw in Paris. 

But the car's very much alive. OK, it's lost some of the funky styling of the concept, but at least it looks like being a genuine off-roader.

VW tells us that the Tiguan will feature an Offroad Mode that helps tailor the 4Motion four-wheel drive to different terrains, and steering that eliminates jolts at the helm when driving over rough ground.

There's also a new satnav system that works off-road so that you can find your way back to civilisation no matter how far off the beaten track you head.

The Tiguan is currently undergoing hot weather testing in the Namibian desert and VW is trying out the whole range of engines, which covers 148- and 167bhp 1.4-litre and 197bhp 2.0-litre petrols, and 138- and 167bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesels.

When the Tiguan goes on sale early next year - later than expected - buyers will have the choice of two front-end styles.

One front-end style will be offered on the 'Trend and Fun' and 'Sport and Style' models, with the emphasis more on road driving.

The 'Track and Field' model is a more dedicated off-road machine that can tackle steeper inclines without damaging the bodywork.

No word on prices yet, but a VW insider let slip that the Tiguan will be very competitive compared to the Honda and Toyota SUVs.

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