In the U.S., Volkswagen is synonymous with its iconic Beetle and Rabbit models. More recently, the brand embarked on a wild ride in the U.S. market as it flirted with the idea of becoming a premium automaker. Several years later, affordable and practical models like the Rabbit have helped VW regain some lost momentum.

The Volkswagen lineup will swell in 2009 with the addition of several new models; the most significant is the Tiguan crossover.

The Tiguan is Volkswagen's answer to the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape. Although the compact Tiguan is smaller than its competitors, it still features a useful interior with ample cargo room. The smaller exterior proportions and larger optional wheels suggest a more sporty driving experience than its taller rivals.

Don't be confused by the fact that the new CC was almost named Passat CC. This sleek four-door variant features dramatically different styling from Volkswagen's sedate mid-sized sedan, with seating for only four occupants. The CC becomes the new top model in the U.S Volkswagen lineup.

The long-awaited replacement for the defunct Eurovan has arrived in the new Routan. This new minivan is a heavily revised variant of the successful Chrysler minivans. While some may scratch their heads as to why VW would market a rebadged Chrysler, the Routan is a larger, more contemporary minivan than Volkswagen could have produced from its worldwide product line. The Routan features three rows of seating for seven, with two captains chairs in the second row.

A wagon version of the Jetta returns this year in the Jetta SportWagen. Like the sedan, the wagon offers a choice of four-cylinder and five-cylinder engines. The cargo area of the SportWagen measures 32 cubic feet, rivaling some compact SUVs. Volkswagen will celebrate the return of its diesel engine options this year; a 50-state compliant diesel will appear in Jetta sedan and wagon models.

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