First Look: 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

No, the revamped 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan won’t officially be introduced until the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March, but that won’t stop interested customers from buying them. VW revealed today that the first examples off the line are already rolling into German showrooms.

So, what’s new for 2012? A new look, at least for the exterior. Designers have reworked the Tiguan’s form to bring it in-line with recent Volkswagen design trends, leaving it looking like a 2011 Touareg in three-quarters scale. New headlamps with LED running lights smoothly flow into a slender, broad grille. In back, the compact SUV receives new tail lamp assemblies, complete with interesting L-shaped lenses, echoing those used on its big brother.

These modifications, however, appear to be simply skin deep. The new Tiguan’s cabin appears to be a carbon-copy of the last model, although engineers have thrown in a streamlined HVAC control interface, along with a color information screen within the gauge cluster. Switchgear previously placed just above the shifter have been relocated, allowing room for a keyless ignition button.

Expect even fewer changes to permeate the engine compartment. VW has yet to announce U.S. specifications for the revamped Tiguan, but the European model appears to still be offered with at a turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4, along with the ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbo-diesel TDI I-4. We imagine U.S. models will continue to utilize the turbocharged 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter I-4 offered in today’s model, although we’d love to see the TDI come stateside as a means to improve fuel economy (the EPA rates AWD models at 19/25 mpg city/highway).

U.S. pricing hasn’t been announced, but seeing as the European model appears to avoid a price hike, expect the 2012 Tiguan to start near $24,540 when it arrives stateside later this year.

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