Say what you want about the unpronounceable Volkswagen Tiguan SUV — the vehicle snagged the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) TOP SAFETY PICK award for 2008. The annual award is given in recognition to vehicles that are the best performers in protecting passengers in the IIHS’ front, side and rear crash test evaluations. Only vehicles with electronic stability control (branded Electronic Stabilization Program on Volkswagen vehicles) and head protection airbags are eligible for consideration.
Accolades For Volkswagen
“In the latest test, the Tiguan’s performance is a standout,” said Adrian Lund, president IIHS. “It sailed through the front and side crash tests without a single downgrade for structure or measures of injury likelihood recorded on the dummy,” Lund added.
“We are extremely proud when organizations like IIHS recognize the hard work of our engineers who are dedicated to the safety of our customers,” said Stephfan Jacoby, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “This award is further validation of Volkswagen’s Prevent and Preserve Safety System approach to vehicle safety.”
Available in three trim levels — S, SE, and SEL– the base MSRP for the Tiguan is $23,200, which is one of the lowest prices for a vehicle in its class. EPA fuel economy figures for 2009 is 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
Tiguan’s Odd Name
The name Tiguan is derived from a pair of German words, or at least parts of them for tiger and iguana. Like its upmarket stablemate, the Touareg, the name isn’t memorable nor does it easily roll off the tongue.
All that said, the Tiguan is based on the VW Rabbit (Golf) platform and is slightly smaller than the Honda CR-V, one of its competing models. Powered by one engine — a 2.0L turborcharged I4, the Tiguan should produce about 200 horses and 208 lb.-ft of torque, the same ratings realized by the GTI. Six-speed manual or automatic transmissions will be offered, which will give the Volkswagen an edge over its competitors.
I like the looks of the hard to pronounce Tiguan and, if the engine is enough for today’s drivers, the VW could steal away people from Toyota and Honda who are attracted to its looks, price, and safety rating.