Volkswagen is just in time to meet rising gas prices with a smaller more efficient SUV. Powered initially by the 2.0T that has become legendary in the GTI and GLI it offers twice the mileage of some of the larger competition. Small outside does not necessarily mean less space inside. Through efficient use of space, VW has managed to stretch interior space well beyond that of your average sedan. The smaller Tiguan also doesn't require the same amount of compromise in handling as the large gas guzzlers. Billed as the GTI of SUVs, it is surprising how fast it can be hustled through twisty roads.

Great packaging, performance and economy all add up to a class leader. Most VW enthusiasts cringe at the thought of their favorite German manufacturers producing SUVs. VW however is in the business of giving people what they want. There is certainly a large number of customers that want something like this and a large number of them may not have considered VW in the past. With a diesel version in the foreseeable future, the timing of Tiguan should be just right.

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan

Layout
Transverse front-engine, front or Haldex all-wheel drive

Engine
2-liter inline 4, DOHC 16valve with intercooled turbo charger and direct injection

Transmission
6 speed manual, 6 speed shiftable automatic

Suspension
MacPhersen strut front, Multi-Link rear, with front and rear Anti-Roll bars

Brakes
Power vacuum assist, alloy calipers with vented steel rotors

Tires and Wheels
S: 215/65, 16x6.5
SEL: 235/50 18x7

Dimensions
Length/Width/Height(in.): 174/71/66
Weight: 3631 lb

Performance
Peak power: 200 hp @ 5100RPM
Peak torque: 206 lbft @ 1700RPM
0-60mph: 7.8 sec manu. claim
Top Speed: 131mph (limited)

Price
$23,200

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