VW is sneakily hiding a new model under bodywork that looks like the current model.
Volkswagen has a clever way of disguising new models. On more than one occasion, we've witnessed VW prototypes hiding under the sheet metal of other cars, sometimes not even from the VW stable's designs. It's a clever way to get around camouflage cladding, which more often than not attracts unwanted attention rather than blending in with the crowd.
The latest VW to be spotted using this clever technique is the all-new Volkswagen Tiguan crossover, which is expected to be revealed in 2023 and start shipping around the world in 2024. Given the current facelift Tiguan only arrived stateside for the 2022 model year, we don't expect the new one to arrive until 2025.
So, what can we see from the new crossover's first spy shots? Well, not much, as a lot of what you see is old bodywork, stickers, and even glued-on exhausts. A new front fascia borrows design elements from the likes of the ID.4, but the broad lower grille is almost entirely false, with only a small opening in the center to actually let air flow to the radiators.
That's a crucial distinguishment, though, as the next-gen Tiguan will be combustion-powered. In fact, we know that the US market will be getting a more powerful variant that will sit beneath the Tiguan R in the global scheme of things, as was confirmed when we interviewed VW's Hein Schafer earlier this year.
However, we wouldn't rule out an electric version joining a little further down the line, as eventually, VW's ID product lines will fuse with the regular ones so that iconic nameplates don't disappear into the ether. We suspect that will be at a later date, however, as the new Tiguan will likely be built on an evolution of the existing MQB architecture, not the MEB that underpins VW's EVs. We wouldn't rule out hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, however.
Inside the cabin, our spies managed to snap a few shots that show low-mounted air vents beneath a large infotainment touchscreen that stands proud of the dash. Physical controls appear in short supply, with VW using the awful touch slider volume controls, suggesting that the next-gen infotainment system VW told CarBuzz is coming in 2025 won't be as user-friendly as we'd hoped.
The interior shots show a column-mounted shifter for the automatic gearbox, while ahead of the driver, there's a digital instrumentation unit as we've seen on other models in the VW lineup.
We have no images of the seating, but this prototype appears to be a short-wheelbase variant that seats five occupants in two rows. This means it's a European-specification model, as the American variant is almost guaranteed to be sold exclusively in long-wheelbase guise with three rows of seating.
While this gives us hope that some elements might be tailored for the American audience - like physical buttons for the infotainment and climate - we suspect this won't be the case.
However, it's also worth noting that this is a very early mule, so a lot could change in the next 18 months as the car progresses through the various stages of development.
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