The launch of Tiguan has put German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen back in the news in India. It has allowed the company to re-enter the SUV space in our market after the discontinuation of Touareg left them with nothing to offer in the segment. The India-launched model is from the second generation of the Tiguan flagship and is based on Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix ‘MQB’ platform.
The “bye-bye diesel” revolution has already crossed half-life of phase one, and all major players in the Indian automotive market have started pulling the plug on their oil-burning models in light of the BSVI norms. Likewise, Volkswagen has confirmed that all its focus will now be diverted towards petrol powertrains and the first to comply in its line-up will be the Vento and Polo, models. As a part of this strategy, the company plans to introduce four all-new SUVs by the end of next year. All four can be expected to be present in the upcoming 2020 auto expo in February.
Skoda has been leading the SUV segment for the VW Group in India, and the next round will witness new introductions based on their MQB A0 platform. Somewhere in the line-up will be the VW T-Cross and its Czech cousin – the Skoda Kamiq. Also on their way, are the battery-powered ID series of vehicles with the VW badge. But all of them will come a little after the three immediate offerings lined up by the group.
Tiguan Allspace 7-seater
The first one will be a seven-seater version of the Tiguan. Called the Tiguan-Allspace, it shares a lot of styling cues with its five-seat predecessor and will be among the VW debutants at the 2020 expo. It is expected to be powered by a BSVI compliant, 2.0-litre TSI petrol motor which is capable of producing 190 PS of power and 320 Nm of torque. The engine might be mated to their signature seven-speed DSG automatic transmission which will send the power to all four wheels. The company will also likely bring along a 2.0 TDi variant of the Allspace but only once it has been cleared in terms of compliance with emission norms. Likely competitors would be the Skoda Kodiaq and the new-generation Toyota Fortuner.
The T-Roc will be aimed at the mid-sized SUV segment hosting the likes of the Jeep Compass, Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta. It will come equipped with a BSVI compliant 1.5 TSI petrol engine which would be capable of producing 150 PS power and 250 Nm torque. A 2.0 litre TDI motor also scores reasonably on probability, although the company would need to make sure of its emission norm compliance before any decision. Either motor would be paired with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG transmission option. The T-Roc is expected to be brought in as a completely built-up (CBU) unit and will debut at the 2020 expo. One can expect a price-tag between rupees seventeen and twenty lakh.
Right below the T-Roc’s target segment, comes the compact SUV range and what better a time to attack the latter than with champions of each level. The T-Sport SUV will be VW’s first offering in the Indian market in the segment and is likely to be based on their India-dedicated MQB-A0-IN platform. There is also the possibility of it being a restyled version of the T-Cross compact SUV that Volkswagen sells in Europe and other international markets.
Its immediate competition would be the likes of the Nexon (now also available in an electric), Ecosport, Vitara Brezza and the XUV300. At the same time, other manufacturers still struggle with the right kind of product for this segment. It will first be sold in the South American market, right below the T-Cross crossover’s segment and then across Europe by either late 2020 or early 2021.
The T-Sport SUV will be less than four metres long – the most basic qualification required for it to be booked under the compact segment. In the international markets, it would be challenged by the Chevrolet Onix, Hyundai HB20X and Renault Sandero Stepway. It will also, most likely be replacing the Cross Polo model internationally. As opposed to the rather poorly pitched cross-polo variant, the compact SUV is expected to have its distinct form and styling, with a crossover-inspired profile and high ground clearance.
With the T-Sport, Volkswagen might also do what Honda has done between the Jazz hatchback and the WR-V compact SUV.
Between the T-Cross and T-Sport, the former is likely to be launched much before the latter and will most probably be sharing its underpinnings with the next generation VW Vento and Skoda Rapid sedans. Possibly the same length as the VW Polo, the T-Sport would have a bulkier, slightly stockier build and a tall-hatch stance. Contemplations can go numerous ways, so we would rather wait for the Expo patiently, ticket already in hand.