First Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

Dare They Do A Diesel?
When we first drove the Tiguan in 2008, we wrote that VW executives were "investigating" exporting the SUV with the company's 2.0-liter TDI turbo-diesel I-4 packed underhood. Sadly, executives trot out that same line when we ask about the engine, which is available once again in European-bound examples.

That's a pity, because the TDI is one of the best engine offerings available in the Tiguan. Overseas, the 2.0 TDI is offered in three different forms (110 hp, 140 hp, and 170 hp), but seeing as the 140-hp variant would be the most likely choice for America (it's already sold here in both the Golf and Jetta), we hopped behind the wheel of a Tiguan so equipped.

Although it is down 62 hp from the gas-powered 2.0T, the TDI betters it in torque: to be exact, the TDI offers a stout 236 lb-ft from 1750-2500 rpm. Acceleration from 0 to 62 mph is roughly three seconds slower than with the 2.0T, but the TDI is more than adequate when it comes to moving around the Tiguan's 3657-pound mass. Better yet, it consumes roughly 27 percent less fuel than the turbocharged gas engine.

Tiguan product planner John Ryan tells us that the obstacles to exporting the TDI to America aren't necessarily related to demand; in fact, customers and dealers alike are perpetually begging VW to offer the engine in our market. The two largest hurdles lie with meeting emissions requirements (a costly urea aftertreatment system will be necessary to meet U.S. regulations) and production capacity (almost every Tiguan sold in Europe is built with a TDI).

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