Volkswagen is reportedly working on a new compact crossover based on the next-generation Golf MkVIII.
The plan, according to UK magazine CAR, is to insert the new CUV between the next-generation VW Tiguan and the newly-released Golf Alltrack, a “ruggedized wagon” variant of the new Golf SportWagen. Volkswagen is targeting the 2018 calendar year for the launch of the new vehicle, which will share the Golf name.
Details are scarce, but the Golf SUV will ride on VW’s new MQB vehicle architecture and be offered with a range of four-cylinder engines and possibly a plug-in hybrid. Front-wheel drive will be standard, while all-wheel-drive will be available as an option.
The new CUV is expected to have an extensive offering of options like larger wheels, all-terrain tires, raised suspension, flared wheel-arches, a larger fuel tank, and reinforced underbody protection, plus an on-demand off-road system with hill-descent control. Even so, the vehicle won’t be meant for serious off-roading. In addition, the version of the CUV for the U.S. and Chinese markets could be slightly larger than the model sold in Europe and (perhaps) Australia.
Setting the background for the new Golf CUV is the fact that Volkswagen has been a laggard in the the rapidly-growing crossover space as its rivals at Ford, General Motors (Chevrolet/Opel), or Toyota. The Wolfsburg-based automaker only offers two “true” crossovers on a global basis — the compact Tiguan and the midsize Touareg. Neither has performed particularly well from a sales perspective:
The Tiguan hasn’t sold in the quantities that VW had initially hoped for, especially in the United States. VW seems to be addressing its competitive disadvantage in the compact CUV space with the this new Golf CUV.
The Touareg has enjoyed some limited success in select markets globally, but it has yet to attain notable sales volume due to its relatively high price compared to other mainstream crossovers in the midsize segment. To better address the midsize CUV space, VW is working on a new, MQB-based midsize crossover to take on the likes of the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, and more. The vehicle was previewed by the CrossBlue concept and is due to commence production at VW’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant in 2016.
So, a Golf-based compact crossover for the world can’t come soon enough for VW. And when it does, the automaker will probably end up moving the Tiguan upmarket by giving it more premium features and perhaps differentiated styling.