Car reviews - Volkswagen - Tiguan - 103TDI 5-dr wagon
Volkswagen finally joins the compact SUV craze with its bland but effective Tiguan
28 Nov 2008
VOLKSWAGEN’S all-new Tiguan is so late to the compact SUV party kicked off by the 1994 Toyota RAV4 that the segment has since gone out of fashion and is now hip again – so there’s something to be said about its timing. And, indeed, on the strength of the sub-$40,000 103TDI version, we think that the boxy little VW is totally in tune with today’s family buyers’ needs, offering an appealing blend of driveability, economy, practicality and brand appeal. The styling might be a little bland and the name nonsensical (a cross between Tiger and Leguan, which is German for iguana, it's the final result from about 350,000 registered names including 'Namib’, ‘Rockton’, ‘Samun’ and ‘Nanuk’...), but the Tiguan is the tastiest in its class by far.
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Family Tree: Tiguan
Given its very late arrival to the compact SUV segment, who would have thought that Volkswagen would have built such a vehicle well before anyone had even thought of the term? While VW was not the only manufacturer to experiment with a light-duty, high-clearance all-wheel drives - Toyota did with the Tercel and Subaru made its name with such vehicles from the 1970s on - the VW experiment was the 1989 Golf Country, built on the then-current A2 Golf platform. Using a viscous-coupled on-demand AWD system, the Country also features underbody protection plates, a suspension lift (to 180mm), bullbar, rear swing-away spare wheel carrier and a 77kW 1.8-litre eight-valve petrol engine (with a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel option). Only around 6500 Countrys were built - all in left-hand drive - with the majority sold in Europe and a handful making to Japan.
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