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Hard tests for electronics and suspension in Namibia
Tiguan starts to show its real face

VW Tiguan SUV: front side view.

The production version will be at Frankfurt in September.

29 June 2007.

The first official photos of the new compact Tiguan crossover mark the approaching debut of VW’s 14th model series.

The new lower-medium sized sports utility vehicle (SUV) will be presented to the public for the first time at the Frankfurt international motor show (2007 IAA) in September, before reaching the showrooms in early 2008, just a few weeks after its structural brother, the SEAT Altea Freetrack (the Spanish SEAT brand is part of the VW group). Another more luxurious version will be developed for the upcoming Audi Q3.

VW Tiguan SUV: back side view.

Extended wheel arches, VW's C-pillar and short overhang.

The Tiguan was conceived for the urban world of its structural brother, the VW Golf, and the landscapes of its bigger brother in VW's lineup, the Touareg.

On the sides, the Tiguan silhouette spans between the extended wheel arches with Volkswagen's typical C-pillar. A very short overhang characterizes the steep rear end. Also significant are the front headlights and rear lights with matching shapes.

VW Tiguan SUV: dashboard view.

VW Tiguan with RNS 510  radio navigation system.

The RNS 510  radio navigation system is controlled using fixed menu buttons, two knobs and a touch screen for the numerous information, entertainment and system functions. In this case a rear-view camera eases the view behind, a standard fitting.

On the engines side, the Tiguan will offer exclusively turbocharged direct injection engines, reducing fuel consumption and emissions - compared to equally powered normally aspirated engines with larger displacement -  while increasing dynamics and driving fun.

Overall there are three TSI (gasoline) and two TDI (diesel) engines. Of these the new 2.0-litre TDIs with common rail fuel injection achieve 103 kW / 140 hp and 125 kW / 170 hp, with a torque of  320 Nm or 350 Nm at 1,750 rpm in four-wheel drive. Both TDIs meet the limits of the Euro-5 standard first coming into effect in 2009.

The turbocharged direct injection gasoline engines provide 110 kW / 150 hp (1.4-litre), 125 kW / 170 hp (1.4-litre) and 147 kW / 200 hp (2.0-litre). New to the Volkswagen program are the 150 hp and 170 hp versions. The 150-hp TSI already develops 240 Nm (from 1,750 rpm). In the 170 hp and 200 hp performance range it is 280 Nm (from 1,800 rpm each).

Testing VW Tiguan SUV in Namibia: driving on the sands, front.

Namibia: the electronics and chassis were the primary focus.

On the ground, the new Tiguan completed one of its hardest series of tests in Namibia.

Electronics testing - During the final acceptance drive on the African continent, the electronic components and chassis of the new SUV were the primary focus of testing. Considering the electronics, a technical highlight on board the Tiguan is of special interest for the testers: the completely new generation radio and navigation system. This was developed in close cooperation with the most important local Volkswagen operations in Europe, Asia and America, for the requirements of all markets. The top system of the new line, with the designation RNS 510, has a 30 GB hard disk and is controlled with a touch screen.

Testing VW Tiguan SUV in Namibia: driving on sand, back view.

Testing... not without fun.

The RNS 510  radio navigation system is controlled using fixed menu buttons, two knobs and a touch screen for the numerous information, entertainment and system functions. In this case a rear-view camera eases the view behind, a standard fitting.

The hardware of the RNS 510 includes a 6.5” wide VGA color display with 800 X 480 pixels. A power PC processor with 400 MHz and its own graphic processor enable fast computing. The navigation and entertainment data are saved on a 30 GB hard disk. It is also possible to incorporate accessories into the RNS 510 like the telephone control, an iPod and other MP3 players. Combination with a Dynaudio sound system is also possible.

Testing VW Tiguan SUV in Namibia: on the rocks... uphill.

Tiguan... "on the rocks".

A further innovation of the RNS 510 is a specially developed offroad navigation system. This mode makes it possible to record up to 500 route points during a journey, even in non-digitized areas. This allows the driver to find the way back from offroad adventures. In edit mode, the driver can modify the route as desired. A glance at the map in the RNS 510 display offers the required orientation.

One of the high-end technologies on board the Tiguan is the world’s first park steering assistant to be installed in a SUV. This is called Park Assist and enables automatic steering into a parking space.

Testing VW Tiguan SUV in Namibia: side view.

Testing on different African routes.

The two body variants of the Tiguan differ primarily in their front ends. The “Trend & Fun” and “Sport & Style” versions are designed for a maximum entry angle of 18 degrees in front. The “Track & Field” Tiguan that is tuned even more for offroad duty can assume entry angles of up to 28 degrees with its front end.

Chassis - The Tiguan will be available in front-wheel drive or permanent four-wheel drive 4MOTION versions. It was designed to achieve neutral to light understeering handling with a low roll angle, dynamic driving characteristics, comfortable ride and good offroad handling for a compact crossover SUV.

VW Tiguan SUV in Namibia: night testing.

Testing day and night.

At the front end, the Tiguan has a McPherson axle specially optimized for the SUV with lower A-arm steering linkage and the wheels hung from damper struts. The axle is located with a one-piece aluminium sub frame.

At the rear, the four-link axle has also been adapted to best suit the permanent four-wheel drive system 4MOTION. The four-link rear axle of the Tiguan is specially intended for this combination. The robust and dynamically laid out axle geometry has already proved itself in the Passat 4MOTION. However, to cope with the stresses of offroad driving, the Tiguan has a newly developed and weight-optimized high-strength steel sub frame instead of the equivalent aluminium component.

Testing VW Tiguan SUV in Namibia: boot and rear seats.

Boot with good volume even without reclining the seats.

On the front-wheel drive versions, the rear axle  has been modified correspondingly. Items no longer found on board include: Cardan shaft, rear final drive and drive shafts. But the sub frame is utilized in both drive variants. The modular system of this rear axle has a positive effect on costs.

For the rear axle, newly developed shock absorbers were developed with increased oil volume; a favorable temperature level makes the absorbers well equipped for even the toughest offroad use. Like the front damper struts, also newly developed, both components provide for good ride comfort properties.

In the Tiguan “Track & Field”, the offroad function will be dealt with electronically, with one switch to activate the Offroad Mode.

Testing VW Tiguan SUV in Namibia: on the rocks!

All key offroad functions activated by a central user control.

All key offroad support functions will be activated by a central user control. One switch activates the “hill descent assistant” (for optimal control on slopes), “adaptation of driver’s pedal characteristic” (for finer gradations of torque), “EDS adaptation” (electronic differential locks are activated at the slightest slip), “ABS adaptation” (improved braking action on loose road materials), “hill climb assist” (support when climbing and protection of the clutch) and – in conjunction with automatic transmission – “gear preselect” (including optimal engine braking action). These functions involve up to five ECUs that manage the systems.

The pushbutton itself is connected to the engine controller. From there, the information “Offroad Mode active” is communicated to other ECUs via the vehicle’s CAN bus. For safety reasons, the function has to be reactivated after each ignition cycle.

Testing VW Tiguan SUV in Namibia: dashboard view.

The RNS 510 is a specially developed offroad navigation system.

If the engine stalls, the Offroad Mode and assistance systems are turned off. But the electronics of the Tiguan detect this as a “stall” and when the engine is restarted, all offroad assistance systems are up and running again immediately.

Another technological highlight comes with the new generation of electromechanical power steering. A decisive advantage of the system: Despite the very precise steering feeling, even in offroad operation no jolts should be transmitted to the steering wheel. Primarily responsible for this is a newly constructed steering gear.

Wheels and tires - Providing contact to the road or trail on the base versions of the Tiguan are 16-inch wheels with 215/65 R16 tires. The “Sport & Style” Tiguan also has as standard 17-inch alloy wheels and 235/55 R17 tires. 18-inch wheels with tires in 235/50 R18 format are available as special equipment.

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