Volkswagen Tarek to launch in North America as VW’s smallest SUV

VW Tarek coming to America
It looks like Volkswagen (inadvertently?) just announced a small crossover for the U.S. at an event in Argentina. The crossover is reportedly going to be called the Tarek — not to be confused with the Tarok Concept truck — and will sit below the Tiguan in size. This news comes to us via Autoblog Argentina (unaffiliated with Autoblog) and was pointed out here in a report from Motor1.

A slide in a product presentation indicates that the Volkswagen Tarek is going to be sold in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the United States. If you’re one to keep up on Chinese market vehicles, you’ll know the Tarek is named the Tharu there and it rides on VW’s MQB architecture. This platform should make it relatively straightforward for VW to come up with an American version of the vehicle with powertrain options that suit our country — it’s currently offered with 1.2-, 1.4- and 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engines. All of those engines are paired with a seven-speed DSG transmission mated to front-wheel drive.

To help get your bearings in the current VW crossover lineup, know that the 2019 VW Tiguan sold here measures 185.1 inches in length. The Tarek/Tharu comes in at just 175.3 inches, so it’s safely a class further down from the Tiguan. At the same time, though, that length actually makes it a bit longer than the original Tiguan, which was always too small and expensive for American tastes. Given the increased popularity of smaller crossovers and Volkswagen’s more value-oriented direction in recent years, it seems likely that the Tarek could enjoy stronger sales than the old, small Tiguan.

The veracity of this report just increases when we compare it to intel gleaned from a report last year claiming that VW would bring a Chinese-developed product to countries outside of Europe (the T-Roc should be sufficient there). It’s said that the vehicle would be manufactured in Mexico and Argentina on this side of the world, with Mexico being the likely production site for North American consumption. We asked Volkswagen if it could verify anything about the Tarek for us, but received a “can’t comment,” in response.

This car will ultimately challenge other small crossovers like the Honda HR-V, Subaru Crosstrek, Hyundai Kona and others. The name and styling you see here very well may be changed for North America, but there’s no guarantee either way. To us, this crossover looks a lot like a shrunken Tiguan with an attitude. Butch styling seems to be in favor these days, but we’ll just have to wait and see what comes down the Volkswagen pipeline.


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