When the call came in March to cover the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts PCI Radios 300 in Ridgecrest, Calif., I figured the assignment would be an awesome experience.
The race, scheduled the weekend of April 13-14 near China Naval Air Base about 100 miles northeast of Barstow, provided several opportunities including the chance to get out of town while also enjoying the sport of off-road racing.
A call from Findlay North Volkswagen to test drive the 2012 Tiguan came at about the same time as the race. The all-wheel drive vehicle came in handy considering that the weekend also featured unseasonably cold winds along with rain and snow.
The route from Las Vegas to Barstow featured howling winds out of the west. However, the real challenge came when taking Highway 58 north about 30 miles to what is known as Four Corners. It's at that intersection that uncharacteristic weather conditions, combined with a steady climb, really tested the Tiguan.
Ridgecrest is about 82 miles from the Lancaster/Palmdale area. It is surrounded by four mountain ranges including the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Cosos on the north, the Argus Range on the east and the El Paso Mountains on the south.
On this particular day, complete with sheets of rain, a little snow and slick streets, the Tiguan was king in many ways.
First off, the Tiguan - a compact sport utility vehicle - handles very well under any weather conditions as I discovered on this cold, rainy and windy late afternoon and early evening. The vehicle is sure-footed, drives like a dream and never hesitates.
Powered by a peppy and responsive 2.0 liter turbocharged power plant with 200 horsepower, the Tiguan is good in city traffic; it's excellent on the freeway; superb in the mountains; and operates like a truck with the ride of a car in all conditions.
For comfort-convenience, there is a state-of-the-art sound system, an RNS 510 premium touch-screen radio navigation; Climatronic dual-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter; and added features such as Bluetooth mobile telephone connectivity, light-emitting diode daytime running lights, automatic headlights, automatic rain-sensing front wipers and keyless access with push-button start.
Safety features include electronic stabilization control, a tire pressure monitoring system and anti-lock braking system with front and rear disc brakes.
And in this particular case, coverage of SNORE's event required its own level of challenges getting to and from the start-finish line about 10 miles east of Ridgecrest.
Again, the Tiguan responded with finesse, easily maneuvering over the challenges leading to its off-road location. In a nutshell, the Tiguan seems to fit in well whether talking about the valet at a posh hotel or near the start-finish line of an off-road race staged in the middle of nowhere.
On its way to any destination, the German ingenuity also features mileage ratings of 21 in the city and 27 on the highway. It's the perfect package no matter the challenge.
Findlay North Volkswagen consultant Colton Price said he has seen immediate success with the Tiguan.
"My first car deal was to a customer that purchased a Tiguan," Price said. "The car sells itself."
Findlay North Volkswagen, headed by General Manager James Cobbs, is at 7500 Azure Drive. It is part of Findlay Automotive Group founded more than 50 years ago by the late Pete Findlay, whose son Cliff Findlay now oversees new and preowned automobile dealerships in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho.
For more information, visit www.findlaynorthvw.com or call 982-4800.