As if the world needs another crossover, manufacturers continue to churn them out like bunnies in heat. The latest one is from Volkswagen and rather than a wholly new one, it comes to us from a model currently sold in China as the Tharu. It's smaller than the current Tiguan here in the states and will make it the smallest crossover from the German automaker. It will be called the Tarek. Don't ask us what that means.
The new crossover will be sold here as the Tarek, and it will slot below both the Tiguan 5-passenger and the Tiguan 3-row with 7-passenger (albeit cramped) capacity. Volkswagen does need something smaller since competitors like the Hyundai Kona (and their upcoming Venue), as well as the new Mazda CX-30 and the redesigned Soul are hitting showrooms. The timing is right, especially since the Golf Alltrack might see the end of its short life here.
One look at the photos of the Tharu/Tarek here show an aesthetic that's very similar to the much larger VW Atlas, especially the large grille and headlight setup in the front fascia. The profile and rear 3/4 views are also very similar to the Atlas but in smaller dimensions. We really like the Tarek's clean lines and overall styling. It might not be truly daring in design, but the same approach with the Atlas has worked very well.
The Tarek will ride on the brand's ubiquitous MQB platform. Current engine options in the Tharu sold in China are 1.2-, 1.4-, and 2.0-liter displacements with up to 186 horsepower, and in Europe there are still diesel variants for sale. Once the model goes on sale here in the states, it's likely VW will consider a higher output version that's performance-leaning, but that's still very much in the air.
Aside from the aforementioned details, there's no word on tech, trim levels, or safety equipment, but we're sure that information will come soon. We're guessing the new Tarek will show up sometime this summer or fall in production form at a big auto show, and it will go on sale later this year as a 2020 model. More competition in the small/compact crossover segment means more options for the consumer, and the selection is already pretty diverse.