Friday, February 10, 2012
Automotive News VOLKSWAGON TIGUAN SEL 4MOTION Test Drive
ALL NEW 2009 VOLKSWAGON TIGUAN SEL 4MOTION - ‘THE FIRST COMPACT SUV FROM VW’
Sales of small, compact sport utility and crossover vehicles continues to grow, while sales of full-size and mid-size models continue to fall. With VW’s experience engineering and building the superb mid-size Touareg sport utility, the time seemed right for VW to introduce the all-new 2009 Tiguan compact sport utility vehicle.
The Tiguan has been under development for several years and was not put together hurriedly to grab a piece of the expanding new segment, but the competition will be tough from the likes of the BMW X3, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Saturn Vue.
Once inside and on the road, or off-road, you will agree that this is one of the best compact sport utility vehicles on the market. VW’s prowess in styling, engineering, performance, manufacturing, quality and safety is easily seen.
VW offers two styles of Tiguan-the Sport & Style comes to the US, and is a more on-road tuned vehicle with a deeper front airdam, while the European only Track & Field models features a higher front end to give it more off-road manners and a better 28-degree approach angle.
None the less, the all-new Tiguan brings news levels of design, driving dynamics, safety features, plus a long list of luxury and conveniences that are sure to win over many consumers.
It is fun-to-drive with excellent handling and performance characteristics. It is also the first compact sport utility to offer a standard 6-speed manual, or an optional 6-speed automatic, and is built on the proven VW GTI and Rabbit chassis.
The unique styling of the front fascia is highlighted with a deep front airdam, crisp lines and brightwork around the new two-stage grille. Jewel-like bi-xenon headlamps lead into a clam-shell styled hood. The tall greenhouse, also comes with a chrome strip surround, and gives a feeling of space. At the rear, large shoulders blend into the flared fenders below the D-pillars giving it the look of strength. The rear fascia features a tall and wide liftgate, step-up bumper, large, wraparound lamp clusters, and two round exhaust pipes peering out from under the left side of the bumper. Even the bright silver roof rails seem to be an integral part of the vehicle. It also expands the cargo-carrying capacity.
From the side is a wedge shape from the low front end all the way to the end of the roof.
Its curving lines create a feeling of motion, even when parked. The flared fenders are stuffed with 18X8in. alloy wheels and wrapped with 235/50R18in. all-season radial tires. The unique styling shows both toughness and elegance, with just the right amount of elements from each.
Under the skin are VW’s proven powertrain, fully independent suspension, powerful 4-wheel disc brakes and stability control systems.
All Tiguan model receive the 2.0 liter turbo-charged inline 4-cylinder engine. It generates a healthy 200hp at 5,00rpm and 207lb.ft. of torque between 1,700 and 5,000rpm. It is one of the best engines for a quick launch, driving at cruising speeds during long trips, and when encountering stop and go rush-hour traffic. This potent engine is mated to either the standard 6-speed manual front-wheel-drive transmission, or VW’s proven 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. On the highway the automatic returns 24mpg, and 18mpg in the city. The 4Motion AWD system is by Haldex and comes with an electronic differential lock with 90% of the torque channeled to the front wheels in normal driving conditions but with the ability to channel torque to any of the wheels that have traction, instantly.
Underpinning the steel monocoque chassis is a fully independent suspension to smooth out the bumps and to give you precise reaction to your inputs whether driving straight-ahead or when encountering curving roads. Up front are wheel-locating MacPherson struts, an axle assembly with triangular lower wishbones, steel coil springs, anti-roll bar, and a single piece aluminum subframe. The rear setup features 4-links, steel coil springs, gas-charged shocks and an anti-roll bar. The ride was impressive when going over poorly paved road surfaces, and with the new electro-mechanical rack & pinion steering system, even faster reaction with more precise feedback from the road. Turn-in was very good and it built up my confidence to push for more speed.
Part of that confidence building was due to the strong stopping power of the all-new Tiguan. These 4-wheel disc brakes really felt like I was stopping on a dime. Up front are 12.2in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers, while the rear features 11.2in solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers. Further enhancing the stopping power and control during severe maneuvers is standard ABS, traction control, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, and engine brake assist. The standard electronic stabilization program helps to keep you in control of the direction that you want to be headed in.
The interior cabin is roomy and very comfortable. Luxury, convenience and high-tech features abound throughout the cabin, more to the levels found in the BMW X3. Soft-to-the-touch quality material lines the dashboard and shelf for a high-quality look.
The interior is designed for you and your passenger’s convenience with flexible seating including reclining rear seats with 6in. of fore-aft travel, including a front-passenger seat that folds flat to increase the length of cargo that you can easily load. The optional panoramic sunroof lets in lots of air and sunlight that gives a feeling of added space because it is now so much more light and airy.
The doors open wide to make entering and exiting safe and easy. The front bucket seats are very comfortable, supportive and heated. The convenient center console holds storage slots, dual cup-holders, and a storage bin with padded armrest. In front of the cupholders is a shift gate surrounded with aluminum trim. There are more aluminum trim pieces on the dashboard, door handles, audio, navigation, climate control dials and steering wheel.
Visibility is excellent from inside and the privacy glass cuts down on heat and damaging sun rays as well as keeping the interior more secure.
The new instrument panel has big dials for the speedometer and tachometer with smaller gauges for the fuel on board and engine temperature coolant, all surrounded by aluminum bezels. Inside, the center screen gives you vital information about how the systems are doing, plus outside temperature, odometer, trip computer, etc.
The 60/40 split 2nd row also features a drop-down center armrest with dual cup-holders, coat hanger clips and reading lamps at each back door… In the rear of the center console are air-ducts to help channel air to the seat, and pop-out dual cup-holders.
Above each door is a grab handle for easy entry and exit. The rear cargo hold features chrome tie-downs, storage bins, cargo cover, light, and an under-floor storage area.
The loaded Tiguan SEL 4Motion model that I tested came with these standard features: dual-zone climate control with pollen filter, intermittent wipers with rain sensor speed control, DynAudio 300-watt audio system with 9-speakers and a subwoofer, 3-spoke, leather wrapped/tilt/telescope steering wheel with redundant buttons for the audio system and trip computer, leather wrapped shift knob, 12-way power driver seat, map pockets behind the front seats, express up/down power windows, power door locks, anti-theft deterrent system, self-dimming rearview mirror, power, heated rear-view mirrors with heated washer nozzles, privacy glass rear side and tailgate windows, thick-cut pile carpeting with front/rear/cargo floor mats, dual map lamps, and sunglass holder in the overhead console.
Options include DVD navigation system with rear backup camera, and a large, power panoramic sunroof.
Standard safety features include driver/front passenger airbags, driver/front passenger side airbags, front/rear side curtain head impact airbags, 3-point safety belts for all seating areas, LATCH child seat anchors, front/rear crush zones, side impact beams in each door, child safety rear door locks, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The all-new VW Tiguan compact sport utility or crossover, whichever you want to label it, maybe late to the party, but the party has really just begun as this segment needs high-quality vehicles, like the Tiguan, and is growing in popularity with consumers every month. The base price for a nicely equipped Tiguan is $23,200.00, while my fully loaded SEL 4Motion model stickered at $37,230.00, including $699.00 destination charges.
Price: MSRP $32,940 Invoice $30,668
Type: Compact SUV
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles
Length: 174.3 in.
Width: 71.2 in.
Height: 66.4 in.
Wheel Base: 102.5 in.
Ground Clearance: 6.9 in.
Curb Weight: 3631 lbs.
Front Head Room: 39.1 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 56.2 in.
Rear Head Room: 39 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 54.8 in.
Front Leg Room: 40.1 in.
Rear Leg Room: 35.8 in.
Luggage Capacity: 23.8 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5
Base Number of Cylinders: 4
Base Engine Size: 2 liters
Base Engine Type: Inline 4
Horsepower: 200 hp
Max Horsepower: 5100 rpm
Torque: 206 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 1700 rpm
Maximum Payload: 1330 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity: 2200 lbs.
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 39.4 ft.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 16.8 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway)
Automatic: : 18 mpg / 24 mpg
Range in Miles: (City/Highway)
Automatic: 302.4 mi. / 403.2 mi