After seeing a fair share of leaked images and early teasers, we can now finally get a good look at the new Volkswagen Tiguan.
For the 2012 model year, the small crossover will obviously take on the fresh family face, which consists of the new, two-bar front grille and redesigned headlights. LEDs have been hot in the auto industry, so the SEL trim's headlights incorporate available LED daytime running lights with Bi-Xenon HIDs and the advanced headlight system (AFS). The trapezoidal foglight housings and lower center design element are ever so slightly retouched, and Volkswagen is certain the changes bring a "sporty and attractive new look."
Out back, "double L" taillights continue the lighting changes, and a chrome accent piece is now added to the SE and SEL models. To further distinguish the top-of-the-line SEL, 19-inch "Savannah" alloy wheels will now be paired with the sport-tuned suspension for an exaggerated appearance. Pepper Gray paint is also joining the palette.
In the U.S., the new Tiguan will come with the same turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI inline-four engine, presumably with the identical 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet output figures. The engine is currently capable of delivering 20 city/25 highway mpg with front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission, but the 2012 model is supposedly ready to turn 29 highway mpg. EPA-certified numbers aren't ready yet, but a 16-percent gain in highway fuel efficiency would certainly be eye-catching.
Current 2011 Tiguan fuel economies also include 18 city/26 highway mpg with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual, and 19 city/25 highway with 4Motion all-wheel drive and the six-speed auto. European customers are presented with seven engine choices, and the Tiguan's greater popularity overseas means it makes the case for an optional 7-speed twin-clutch auto.
Inside, the entry-level S trim will receive new cloth seating surfaces colored black. SE customers get V-Tex leatherette in black or beige, and the SEL fits leather. Bluetooth comes standard on all models, as does auxiliary audio ports, power and heated side mirrors. A Dynaudio 300-watt sound system is featured with the pricier Tiguans.
Pricing will be announced at a later date and the 2012 Tiguan goes on sale this fall. We wouldn't expect the starting price to stray far from the 2011 model's $24,540 MSRP (includes $820 destination charge).