- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2008

The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan is an all-new compact SUV that has been designed to mix luxury and a playful driving experience. This crossover is rich in European influence, borrowing styling cues from bigger sibling, the Touareg, with a chassis platform that it blends from Volkswagen’s Passat and the sporty Jetta GTI. Tiguan is available in front-wheel drive and 4Motion all-wheel drive and comes in three trims; S, SE and SEL. Tiguan comes with standard ESP traction control, six standard airbags and three years of no-charge scheduled maintenance.

The front of the Tiguan is fashioned with elegance; a chrome-surround grille is offset by dual horizontal bars and the VW marquee appropriately sitting center stage, with a matching single chrome-bar design. Encased fog lamps sit within the fascia engineered with an adaptive front lighting system that features bi-xenon headlamps poised to allow a 15 degree headlamp turn that works with the steering. Front and rear bumpers are body-colored, with black under skirting.

Turning signals are incorporated into the side mirrors to allow for better signal visibility. Roof rails grace the lid with a neatly tucked-in diversity antenna mounted on top. An available large-sized power-sliding sunroof is optional on the SE and SEL trims, able to draw in four-times more sunlight into the cabin. The rear features a large glass panel along the hatch with integrated tail lights, positioned both on the hatch and rear body. A color-keyed rear spoiler features an integrated brake light for better brake signaling. Dual chrome-tipped exhaust tips sit together to round out the rear.

The front cloth bucket seats feature 8-point seating adjustments with a standard lumbar adjustment for both driver and passenger. Leather seating surfaces are available on the SEL trim. Heated front seats are standard on the SE and SEL trims. An optional 12-way power adjustable driver seat is also available. Also standard on all trims is a 60/40 fold-flat bench style seating arrangement in the rear that can be adjusted forward, back, up and down and slide up to six inches fore and aft travel. When the rear seats are folded down, the back cargo area expands from 23.8 cubic feet to 56.10 cubic feet of space. An optional front passenger fold-flat seat adds additional cargo space, and the ability to stow longer items.

The combination analog and digital control cluster features a trip computer on the SE and SEL trims, with an integrated compass, allowing the driver to view data such as miles driven, length of time driving, fuel expended, tire pressure monitoring and disc brake wear alerts.

A tilt and telescopic 3-spoke steering wheel allows the driver adjust the wheel. The steering wheel on the SE and SEL trims is leather wrapped and features audio controls. An electronic brake button is integrated into the center console and can be activated and deactivated with the touch of a button. Tiguan also comes equipped with three power outlets to supply additional power to the front, rear and rear cargo tiers.

An eight-speaker audio system with a limited Sirius satellite radio subscription is standard on all trims. An optional Dynaudio Premium Sound System, featuring a Digital Sound Processor and a 10-speaker configuration, is also available.

The 2009 Tiguan comes with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, delivering 200-horsepower and 207-pounds-feet of torque. This engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission on the front-wheel drive S trim, while a 6-speed automatic transmission, with Tiptronic shift, is paired to the motor on the front-wheel drive SE and SEL trims, with the option to equip with the manual gearbox. The optional 4Motion all-wheel drive Tiguan comes with an automatic transmission as its only option, and is available on the SE and SEL trims. Fuel economy figures range from 19/26 for the front-wheel drive, with a manual to 18/24 for the 4Motion, with an automatic transmission.

Tiguan comes with electromechanical steering and 4-wheel independent suspension comprised of a McPherson wishbone strut suspension in the front, and a four-link independent spring suspension in the rear. An optional tow package allows the Tiguan to tow a maximum capacity of 2,200 lbs.

Anti-lock vented disc brakes are found on all four wheels. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels are found on the S trim, 17-inch alloy on the SE and 18-inch on the SEL, all with anti-theft wheel locks. All are shod with all-season tires.

The Tiguan has the same 45-point Prevent and Preserve Safety System found throughout the Volkswagen models. All trim levels come with six standard airbags, featuring dual front, front side thorax and curtain front and back. Additional rear side thorax bags are an option in the rear seating area. Traction Control features include standard ABS, anti-slip, electronic brake pressure distribution and electronic stabilization. A tire pressure monitoring system displays a low-air warning on the instrument panel. All trims are also equipped with a standard anti-theft alarm system.

The Tiguan is available in seven colors; Alpine Gray, Wild Cherry, Blue Sapphire, Black Pearl, Candy White, Reflex Silver and White Gold. Extra features found on board the Tiguan are rain sensing wipers, standard on the SEL trim and optional on the S and SE trims, heated windshield wiper nozzles, also standard on the SE and SEL. Heated mirrors are standard gear on all trims.

The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $ 23, 200 (prices exclude destination), and retails at up to $32, 940 for the top-of-the-line SEL with 4Motion AWD, and comes with Volkswagen’s Carefree Maintenance Program featuring a 3-year/36,000 mile no-charge service program.

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