Meet VW's baby 4x4
29 November 2006

This is the much-anticipated new Volkswagen Tiguan 4x4, unveiled as a concept at the Los Angeles motor show today (29 November 2006).

The Tiguan is VW's first serious attempt on the competitive small SUV market. It will be aiming to break the dominance of the Toyota RAV4 and fend off the new Land Rover Freelander and Honda CR-V.

While nowhere near as dramatic as the Concept A, which previewed the Tiguan at February’s Geneva motor show, the new five-seater appears much more stylish than scoop pictures of the car have indicated. Gone is the Concept A’s coupé-like profile, replaced by a more upright body similar to that of the Touareg.

“It was important for us to have the car appear muscular,” says Klaus Bischoff, the exterior designer. Still, the car you see here is not exactly what VW has in mind for the showroom. There will be further tweaks to the styling before the production version is shown at the Frankfurt motor show next September.

According to Bischoff, the nose is likely to be toned down slightly, the wheelarches reduced and the 19-inch wheels replaced by smaller, less costly items, albeit in the same style.

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At 4400mm long, 1850mm wide and 1690mm high, the Tiguan is much shorter, narrower and lower than the Touareg. These relatively compact dimensions are one of the reasons why VW sees its new 4x4 appealing to British buyers more than the Touareg does. The other is price. At around £20,000, base versions of the Tiguan will be pitched close to the RAV4.

The Tiguan is based on the Golf but has wider tracks for added stability. Production versions won’t ride quite as low as this concept, and VW says the Tiguan will be suitable for light off-roading.

Secrecy continues to surround the exact specification of the production version, although it is understood front-wheel drive will be standard, with four-wheel drive optional.

The LA show car is powered by a VW’s new Clean TDI. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, it uses new Bluetec emissions technology. The catalytic converter is injected with urea to reduce nitrogen oxide levels by up to 90 per cent.

With up to 170bhp, the engine will replace today’s 2.0-litre diesel in 2008. The Tiguan will also come with other established VW engines, including the Golf GTi’s 197bhp 2.0-litre turbo.

Greg Kable

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