Click above for high-res gallery of the Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan compact CUV is a hot seller elsewhere in the world, with waiting lists to purchase the Honda CRV competitor already filling up. It probably won't be that way in the U.S. since the weak U.S. dollar and high feature content of the Tiguan will jack its base price up to $23,840 for a four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive model with a manual transmission. The base price for an AWD model is higher, much higher, at $29,515, and VW expects 60 percent of U.S. sales to be AWD.

In order to justify the premium price, VW will be positioning the Tiguan as the GTI of CUVs. Much like the VW GTI is a feature laden and higher performing version of the less expensive Rabbit, the Tiguan will be the same to its less expensive competition from Honda, Toyota and Ford. It features the same 200-hp, turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder as the GTI, but the compact CUV segment is already filled with examples offering more power from an assortment of four- and six-cylinder engines. Being a VW, we suspect the Tiguan will handle well, but we're not sure there's much of a market for GTI-like CUVs in the U.S. as gas prices continue to go up and up. VW hopes to sell only 20,000 - 25,000 Tiguans in the U.S. per year, which is certainly doable, but it won't be threatening the CRV for the crown of best-selling CUV.

Related Gallery2008 Volkswagen Tiguan

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]