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Volkswagen enters a bold new compact SUV world with its diesel-only Tiguan crossover

29 May 2008

THE Volkswagen Tiguan is a late entrant to the compact SUV market, but it arrives with its distinctly European flavour in a segment dominated by the Japanese marques. Tiguan has perhaps the most sophisticated features and options in the category, a competitive price and one of the very few in the segment to offer a diesel engine. While volume is limited by supply for the first calendar year it is on sale - and only the diesel version is offered until the petrol models become available in October - the Tiguan is a credible player in this highly competitive segment, and one that Volkswagen believes will become its second-best selling model here after Golf.
Model release date: 1 May 2008 to 1 September 2011

Previous model

Volkswagen Golf Country

Released: Not sold in Australia
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 Volkswagen experiment was the 1989 Golf Country, built on the then-current A2 Golf platform. Using the viscous coupling on-demand all-wheel drive system designed in co-operation with Steyr-Puch used in other Volkswagen products under the name syncro, 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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