Volkswagen invited a few auto journalists to one of the greatest off-roading continents of the world to test the preproduction European spec'ed 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan.
Read MT staffer Ron Kiino's first-hand account while out on the road test:
"Out on Namibia's dusty, dirt roads and rocky, steep pathways, the Tiguan proved it can take a serious beating. Traversing an intimidating boulder-strewn stretch that would give a Range Rover a workout, the Tiguan managed to articulate its way through, despite incessant scraping and banging on the underside that was as disturbing as 10 Lee press-ons scuffing a chalkboard. With 7.3 inches of ground clearance and no low range, the Tiguan is not exactly intended for Rubicon-style fare; rather its appetite is for soft-roading, as in snow, sand, and dirt.
Nevertheless, we proved that if incurring light damage (dents, scratches, and even a punctured oil pan on a "Sport & Style" example sans skidplates) is okay, the Tiguan can overcome some of Namibia's worst. Further, after clipping a few hundred miles on coarse, dirt highways and swallowing more dust than a Shop-Vac, the Tiguan showed it can be a proficient back-roader, displaying excellent body control, a compliant ride, and accurate steering free from kickbacks (unlike hydraulic systems, the Tiguan's electromechanical steering erases that unwanted feedback).
Volkswagen hopes to sell around 40,000 Tiguans a year in the U.S.-a far cry from the 200,000 or so CR-Vs that Honda moves-priced at around $25,000 to start. With modest sales expectations, a completely competent package, not to mention a 2.0-liter Bluetec diesel slated for the end of 2008, the Tiguan should have little struggle experiencing success in America. After all, if an SUV can show success in Namibia, it can be successful just about anywhere."
Read the full road test at MotorTrend.com!