2008 Volkswagen Tiguan Clean Diesel

2008 Volkswagen Tiguan Clean Diesel

Significance: The people's brand finally gets a small SUV, and based on the GTI, it should be a good driver. The Tiguan's clean diesel--a first in the segment--will be efficient and powerful. Let the diesel revolution begin.

Volkswagen's Concept Tiguan gives us good idea of what the company's small SUV will look like when it goes into production late next year. The Golf-based crossover (which will be called--shock!--the Tiguan) is poised to battle the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V, and the Toyota RAV4, for cute-ute supremacy. Visually, this concept has a strong family resemblance to its big brother, the Touareg, but it also takes cues from the Volkswagen Concept A shown last spring at the Geneva auto show.

The Concept Tiguan looks great, with an aggressive face and taut body lines that work well with its compact dimensions. As always, VW does a nice job of sprinkling enough chrome and brightwork around the body to give the vehicle a bit of sparkle without appearing gaudy. We also like the black roof panel/panoramic moon roof--it's reminiscent of the carbon fiber panels that BMW puts on some of its M cars. The concept also sports nineteen-inch Continental tires with body-matching orange trim and xenon headlamps that appear to float freely inside their housings.

Under the hood, the Concept Tiguan has a 2.0 liter "clean TDI" diesel engine that VW dubs "a diesel engine of the next generation." This motor produces 140 horsepower and 200 ft/lb of torque. It runs much cleaner than current diesel powerplants thanks in part to a catalytic converter that's capable of reducing nitrogen oxides by ninety percent over today's diesels. Of course, this "clean TDI" not only meets the strict emission standards in the U.S., but also those around the world. When the Tiguan reaches production, buyers will likely be able to choose one of three engines: the aforementioned diesel, VW's impressive 2.0-liter turbo four, and possibly even a V-6. And while we're big fans of the way it looks, we can't help but be more excited at the prospect of slipping behind the wheel when the Tiguan finally hits dealers.

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