Tiguan leads with diesel

Volkswagen Australia releases Tiguan with diesel option first
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Volkswagen's first compact SUV will be initially offered to Australian buyers with a diesel option, followed later this year with two petrol versions.

The Tiguan line-up leads with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder TDI turbodiesel, rated at 103kW/320Nm. Priced at $35,990, the diesel Tiguan comes with a six-speed manual, or six-speed automatic for an extra $2300.

The entry petrol model, with VW's 2.0 TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine, starts at $33,990 for the six-speed manual version or $38,290 for the auto. The starter's 2.0 TSI unit is good for 125kW/280Nm.

Topping the range at $42,990, the 147kW/280Nm 2.0 TSI option is available with six-speed automatic only, but it features tiptronic self-shift as standard. Tiptronic can also be ordered for the other auto-equipped models.

The petrol models are expected in October.

Jutta Dierks, managing director of VW Australia, said the company secured early delivery of the diesel-engined Tiguans as a "strategic approach" to further its focus on turbodiesel sales, which make up more than half of all VW models sold Down Under.

Dierks said introduction of a compact SUV in the local market was important for the company to "be a major player in Australia".

"It [Tiguan] opens a door to a segment we've never been in," said Dierks. "It opens doors to customers we've never talked to and possibilities. That's why we were so keen to bring it in. We hope it will give us the chance to grow the brand further and establish us as a serious player in the market."

Year-to-date VW is Australia's tenth-selling brand, with 3 per cent of the market share. This time last year VW had 2.5 per cent.

VW Australia identifies four key players in the compact SUV segment as rivals for Tiguan: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and Nissan X-TRAIL. The company expects the entry of a European manufacturer will shake-up market dominance held by the Japanese. Meanwhile, Renault has just released its Koleos softroader (more here).

Of the Japanese makers, only Nissan has committed to a diesel version for its compact SUV line-up (more here).

The C-SUV market accounted for 90,330 vehicles and made 19 per cent growth last year. Dierks said her company is aiming for at least a "small piece of that big cake in the future" with the Tiguan.

While turbodiesel sales remain steady for VW Australia, concerning the local arm is the price of diesel fuel.

"It worries us that the price [of diesel] is going up, and the gap between petrol and diesel is opening again. It's bad enough there is a gap, but it's even going in the wrong direction," said Dierks.

Currently VW Australia's diesel model mix is highest with the Passat; helped by the recent introduction of the 125kW turbodiesel engine, according to Dierks.

VW says the 2.0 TDI diesel offered in the Tiguan already meets Euro V emissions standards, which do not come into effect until 2009. The common-rail unit, codenamed E888, is also lighter, quieter and smoother than the previous EA113 Pumpe-Düse version.

The 2.0 TDI's claimed fuel consumption is 7.4L/100km for the six-speed manual Tiguan, and 7.9L/100km for the auto-equipped diesel model. CO2 emissions are rated at 195g/km and 209g/km for the manual and auto models respectively.

Unlike overseas models (more here), Tiguan will be initially offered in Australia in its most road-going guise with 18-degree approach angle, and without the Trend&Fun, Sport&Style or Track&Field's tags or spec distinctions.

VW Australia says the Track&Field softroader version and perhaps a two-wheel drive model will be offered to local buyers later.

Standard-fit equipment includes 16-inch wheels (for the TDI and 125kW TSI; 17s for the 147kW TSI), roof rails, air-con with dust and pollen filter, cruise control, leather-trimmed gearknob and multi-function (with trip computer functions) steering wheel, MP3-compatible CD player, auxiliary input socket, four 12-volt sockets, and cargo tie-down hooks.

The Tiguan is offered with some clever options including a touch-screen sat-nav system with 30GB hard drive and SD card slot, and park assist with parallel parking assistance.

We used the parallel parking feature during the Tiguan's local launch and while it will take new owners some familiarity -- including becoming adjusted to letting the system briefly take over operation of the steering wheel -- it indicates the car's dimensions for sizing-up tight spots and can be easily switched to assist parking from the left-hand side in one-way streets.

Visit the Carsales Network again for our local launch review of the Volkswagen Tiguan.

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Published : Thursday, 29 May 2008
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