Future Cars

Preview: 2008 Volkswagen Tiguan

ON SALE: EARLY 2008 / $24,500 (EST.)

Germans love David Hasselhoff, ja, but it’s their fascination with weird names that makes them so curious. The name of VW’s mid-size SUV–Touareg–raised eyebrows, twisted tongues, and short-circuited spell-check algorithms around the world, but “Tiguan” takes the cake as VW’s strangest name yet. It’s half Tiger and half Iguana. And, no, we don’t know how either of those animals relates to a small SUV.

What we do know is that the Tiguan shares its basic architecture with the Rabbit, a creature we like very much. Even better, it uses the GTI‘s 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission. Volkswagen‘s DSG automatic and all-wheel drive will be options.

Coming in late 2008 is a 140-hp diesel version that’s expected to get some 40 mpg. With stats like that, who cares what it’s called?