Report: Volkswagen Will Add Two-Row Versions of Atlas, Tiguan

Report: Volkswagen Will Add Two-Row Versions of Atlas, Tiguan

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen plans to add two-row versions of its new 2018 Atlas and Tiguan SUVs as a cost-effective way to expand its SUV offerings, says VW's U.S. CEO; right now, both have three rows standard.

Related: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Review: First Drive

Volkswagen Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken told Automotive News (subscription required) that this "doubling up" strategy will let VW grow its large and compact lineup at a relatively low cost. He did not specify when they might appear.

There is plenty of room in price for a two-row, five-seat Atlas between the current three-row, starting at $31,425 (all prices include destination), and the current Tiguan, starting at $26,095. The five-seat Tiguan presumably would slide in under those as VW's least expensive SUV offering.

The new Atlas for the U.S. would get a new look but would not be smaller than the very big current model, Woebcken told Auto News. "We decided the Atlas will get a slightly lower-positioned five-seater, with nice, coupe-ish styling, [but the] same dimensions."

He was less clear regarding the Tiguan direction. He indicated that the new model would "get kind of a little smaller" but still be based on the current-generation U.S. model's long wheelbase (about 110 inches) platform. That apparently means it will not be just a U.S. offering of the two-row, current-generation Tiguan that VW has sold in Europe since 2016. That model is on a shorter, about 105-inch wheelbase, and the U.S.-size Tiguan was introduced there this fall as the Tiguan Allspace.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

VW already sells the current U.S. Tiguan with two rows and room for five occupants. While the front-wheel-drive models come standard with three rows and seven seats, the all-wheel-drive models have two rows standard and the third row is a $500 option.

The strategy seems similar to what Hyundai has successfully done with its Santa Fe three-row crossover and Santa Fe Sport two-row model. And Honda is reported to be considering a two-row version of its Pilot SUV. But Woebcken's comments indicate that VW may be planning its new versions in a way more like what GMC did with the redesigned Acadia. GMC created a two-row All Terrain Package that is the same size, but has a sportier seating and cargo area design.

Either new Volkswagen would be based on appealing 2018 designs. The Atlas was the winner of most recent Three-Row SUV Challenge and the Tiguan was the top scorer in our 2017 Compact SUV Challenge.

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