The VW Golf is set to get muddy, CAR can reveal. Volkswagen’s engineers are currently working on the first SUV to wear a Golf badge, scheduled to join the market alongside the Mk8 Golf hatch in 2018.
Predictably, the Golf SUV is neither a hardcore mud-wrestler nor a tarted-up Cross Golf; it falls somewhere between the two camps, in an effort to secure a stake in the still-growing crossover market.
The Golf SUV will almost certainly be available in two wheelbase sizes - medium for Europe (2018), large for America and China (2019) where the next Tiguan will be sold exclusively in long-wheelbase form.
Will the VW Golf SUV be able to off-road?
Take our cartoonish mock-up with a pinch of salt; this is definitely not a hardcore off-roader, more an easy-going all-rounder.
To ensure a clear distinction between Golf SUV and Tiguan, the lesser model retains in essence the familiar five-door hatchback body. Those who would like to make it look a bit more rough and ready will be able to choose from a very, very long list of options.
Among the extras insiders expect to be on offer are 4Motion AWD, bigger-diameter wheels shod with all-season tyres, a stacked suspension with front and rear underbody protection, sill extensions and flared arches, auxiliary driving lights, roof rails, an on-demand off-road driving mode with hill descent control, navigation with off-road memory so that you won´t get lost in no man's land, bespoke instruments, a shock absorber adjustment with extra-compliant off-road calibration and a bigger fuel tank.
Mechanical diff locks and a low-range transfer case are definitely off-limits, though.
Why do we have to wait four more years until VW plugs this gaping gap in its portfolio?
Because the Golf SUV’s platform will be shared with the Golf Mk8, which will be a world car built in Europe, China and the NAFTA region. For everything we know about the next-gen Golf, including engine line-up, see the story below.
VW Golf Mk8: what to expect from 2018 Golf.
There might be a plug-in hybrid version, too
There are plans afoot to equip the Golf SUV with the same technology as the Golf GTE which pairs a 150bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine with a 102bhp E-motor to generate an aggregate power output of 204bhp and a remarkably slim 35g/km CO2 footprint.
Conventionally powered versions should be commendably frugal too. Despite slightly inferior aerodynamics due to its taller stance, Bluemotion Technologies such as a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with coasting mode, cylinder deactivation and an advanced start-stop system which cuts the engine well before the vehicle comes to a stop will help keep fuel thirst at bay.
What happens to the Tiguan, then?
Of course, VW could have launched the Tiguan with a Golf SUV badge. But they didn't - because product planning already knew at the time that the second-generation Tiguan would move up-market, clearing its parking lot for a Golf-based crossover.
This is exactly what is going to happen in 2018 when the Tiguan Mk2 will long have established itself in standard and extended wheelbase form, and as a sporty CC coupé.