Tiguan seven-seater, new Touareg the first of five all-new VW-badged SUVs planned for Australia.
VOLKSWAGEN will introduce five all-new SUVs to Australia before the end of 2018, according to VW Group Australia managing director Michael Bartsch – starting with the crucial all-new Volkswagen Tiguan next month.
VW’s head admitted that its proportion of SUV sales is much lower than most competitors, carried by two ageing models (the about-to-die original Tiguan and the second-gen Touareg launched five years ago), but that’s about to change.
Following the larger and much roomier five-seat Tiguan’s debut in September, a Tiguan ‘XL’ is expected to follow in 2017, reportedly sporting a longer wheelbase to make it a viable seven seater, as will the third-generation Touareg, based on the MLB Evo platform also underpinning the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga.
The fourth Volkswagen SUV will be based on the next-generation Polo, giving the brand a much-needed entrant in the booming small SUV market (particularly important in Europe). Expect a concept to appear at the Paris show in October (or possibly Geneva next March) before the production vehicle makes its debut in Europe before arriving in Australia some time in 2018.
It’s the fifth SUV, however, that’s causing some conjecture. Reports that it will be the production version of VW’s seven-seat CrossBlue concept from 2013 appear unfounded as the Tennessee-built SUV will almost definitely not be made in right-hand drive. Too big for Japan and the UK, and too small in volume to be engineered solely for Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, the CrossBlue is likely to remain a North America-only model.
The fact it’s reportedly based on the old US-market Volkswagen Passat – itself underpinned by last decade’s PQ35 (Golf V) platform, not the lighter and more modern MQB set-up of the European car – points to its volume-selling ambitions in the huge US SUV market, where size, price, and features are more important than cutting-edge driving dynamics.
Instead, it’s been speculated that Australia will get an SUV version of the Amarok utility to compete against other ute-based SUVs such as the Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner, Holden Trailblazer and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.
While an updated Amarok will land here in November, headlined by a new 165kW V6 TDI variant, its design is approaching seven years old, meaning a 2018 Amarok-derived SUV will likely be based on the next-generation model.
Given reports that the next Amarok utility will lob in 2019, the seven-seat, passenger carrying derivative is likely to front-up first.
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