You’ll find more than a dozen completely capable compact SUVs for sale in Canada, with one, the Jeep Patriot, starting for less than $18,000.
Why does a 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan, the tidied-up-for-2012 version with front-wheel-drive, have a base sticker of $27,875?
Why, indeed? Ford’s all-new Escape starts at $21,499. The just-arrived and also all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5: $22,995, base. Honda re-did its popular CR-V earlier this year and the base version there is $25,990. Toyota’s RAV4, due for a re-do later this year, starts at $24,865.
The point is, VW is charging a premium for the Tiguan, even though just about everyone sells a compact SUV with all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive and eight of those in this segment are Top Safety Picks of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – including the Tiguan (and the CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Patriot, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander and Subaru Forester).
The premium pricing surely is one reason why the best-sellers in this segment – CR-V and Escape so far this year – run at 3,500-4,000 sales a month, and VW Canada sells 500-600 Tiguans a month. Canadians watch their wallets as a general rule. They may love their compact SUVs, with sales since 2008 up 46 per cent, but they comparison shop on price, just the same.