Forbidden fruit from China is a new SUV that looks better than ours.
Volkswagen has managed to make a better-looking Atlas SUV. Only it's not for America. Instead, it's for China, which absolutely eats up fresh, new SUVs at a rapid pace. VW calls this one the Tavendor, which is locally produced in China thanks to a joint venture with the Chinese First Automobile Works (FAW). However, the car is still a VW through and through, riding on the brand's omnipresent MQB modular vehicle architecture. Normally, we'd give a "meh" to a new Chinese SUV no one here can buy, but the Vw Tavendor is just too nice to not take a closer look.
Stylistically, it's a bit of normal VW SUV design (especially in the shape of the lower fascia) and a bit of VW ID, the brand's electrified models. We see some ID.4-ish cues, like the light bars next to the VW logo and the more rounded, sleek face. There are also those side markers, which again, look very much like an EV Volkswagen. It's understandable why the strategy isn't more widespread, of course. Why would VW work to destroy the delineation it has built between its gas and electric models? It just doesn't make sense, so perhaps China is a bit of a test bed to see how the new aesthetic for an all-EV future works.
As a quick aside, we should note that the press photos are of VW's R-Line trim, and the base car will likely have a more toned-down aesthetic. Regardless, scale isn't conveyed very well in photos, even with a human figure there to help. The car's dimensions are pretty much on par with the Atlas, and just a hair bigger than the Touareg. The Tavendor measures 194.3 inches long, 79.3 inches wide, and 62 inches tall. It also has a wheelbase of 117.3 inches. That puts this Chinese SUV at about 2.3 inches longer than the Touareg.
The car itself will be powered by VW's old workhorse, the EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The engine is hooked to a 7-speed DSG transmission linked to FWD but with an optional AWD drivetrain via VW's 4Motion system. As for power, the base model will produce 183 hp and an R-Line trim will make 217 hp.
Inside, the car is decidedly "new VW" with the brand's current (and controversial) infotainment system sitting ahead of an updated steering wheel and center console. Basically, there's nothing inside that isn't already in a VW you can buy anywhere in the world. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but sources say the Tavendor will start at approximately $42,000 USD at current exchange rates.