Volkswagen is coming with three row SUV, built in Chattanooga, and trying to provide answer to Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer, is likely to hit market in later 2017 as 2018 model, is built on VW's MQB platform. Resembles to Ford Explorer in terms of stance and dimensions, having body in white. D Pillar or liftgate portion is more upright, liftgate opens conventionally with release above license plate, release and handle mechanism works similarly as found in Golf's hatchback. Even available is power operated lift mechanism.
Getting in is more like making entry in Toyota Highlander with less step up than found in Ford Explorer. Base model is to have 2 liter turbocharged four cylinder to produce 200 horsepower, other option is 3.6 liter V-6 to generate 280 horsepower which we drove. Currently anticipated to clock around 8 odd seconds in four cylinder and near around 7+ seconds in V-6 engine to reach 60 mph from zero. Remember Toyota Highlander clocks 7.3 seconds with 3.5 liter turbocharged V-6 while Ford Explorer 3.5 liter turbocharged V-6 producing 365 hp consumes 6 seconds to touch 60 mph from standstill. Volkswagen is planning for diesel variant and hybrid model later on. Driving experience remains pleasure as like Dodge Durango and Mazda CX-9. This three row looks more larger than Touareg with more space inside. Second row seats comes with 60/40 split and folding ratio.
Its going to have flat bottomed steering wheel with controls for center mounted information screen and audio system. Coming with standard MQB hardware, with rectilinear dashboard with infotainment display in center. Snow, Sport, OnRoad and OffRoad modes available in all wheel drive system, customizing them available in touchscreen menu. In Sport mode we feel steering gets tighten with throttle and transmission inputs. Vehicle operated smoothly, provides more solidity and quietness on rough terrain, seats are more comfortable with good outward visibility. Acceleration remains at par with Highlander and Explorer. While braking is strong as found in Passat. Both back row folds to provide better cargo, even cargo behind third row is ample. Center bench reclines and also folds forward for easy third row access.
Volkswagen crossover price will start in $30,000+ range which will make difficult for Touareg which cost around $50,000. Volkswagen is likely to provide good fight to Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander who are top sellers in the segment.