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VW CrossPolo crossed off the list for Oz

No thanks: Volkswagen Group Australia has drawn a line through the new CrossPolo for this market, at least in this generation.

Jacked-up VW Polo won’t fill in for upcoming baby SUV, despite two-year wait

Volkswagen logo22 Sep 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

VOLKSWAGEN is not planning to bring the CrossPolo into Australia to fill in the gap in the small SUV segment vacated by the newly enlarged Tiguan II.

While the German company will not rule out any future iterations, neither the current generation nor any proposed successor based on the all-new Polo due later next year for 2018 is under consideration.

According to Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) product marketing manager Jeff Shafer, the company has instead elected to wait for the next-generation Polo-based small SUV, previewed in March this year at the Geneva Motor Show as the T-Cross Breeze Concept.

Built on a highly modified development of the Mk7 Golf’s MQB modular transverse architecture known as the MQB-A0 platform, the production version of the T-Cross Breeze will be aimed directly at the highly successful Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V when Australian sales start in the latter half of 2018.

It is also likely that a Golf-derived crossover – a Mercedes GLA-style development of Volkswagen’s star hatch that was first shown as the T-Roc Concept at the 2014 Geneva show – will also arrive around a similar time to give VGA two sub-Tiguan small-SUV alternatives.

“In overseas markets there is the CrossPolo, but I think at this point we are looking towards the more purpose-built SUVs in the small SUV space,” Mr Shafer told GoAuto at the launch of the AD-series Tiguan in Byron Bay this week.

“The Polo is not too far away in terms of the new generation as well, so if you are going to change the range, then you’ll probably be doing it a new model time. So, no new CrossPolo in the short term.”

Available elsewhere (including in New Zealand) since the existing generation Polo was launched in 2010, the CrossPolo differs from the regular version by offering an extra 15mm of ground clearance, additional body work cladding and larger wheels, resulting in a 70kg weight penalty.

It uses the same 81kW 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo/seven-speed DSG powertrain combo as the regular Polo Comfortline in Australia.

Mr Shafer also said VGA was not looking at bringing in a cheaper and more sparsely-equipped version of the new Tiguan to keep the base price under $30,000 either.

“It’s not really where we see (the new Tiguan) model,” he said. “We don’t want to create a stripper version just to hit a price point, and then have to up sell people to the spec they really want.

“We also want to be very clear that safety shouldn’t be optional, so we’ve gone for a pretty comprehensive safety package in this vehicle.” As the new medium SUV currently stands, the base model kicks off from $31,990 plus on-road costs in manual front-wheel drive guise, making it significantly more expensive than key rival equivalents such as the entry-level Mazda CX-5 Maxx FWD manual ($27,190) and Hyundai Tucson Active FWD manual (from $28,590).

However, the Volkswagen includes segment-first standard safety features such as autonomous emergency braking, lane-change assist and a surround-view reversing camera, as part of Volkswagen’s stated commitment to high safety and improved customer satisfaction ratings.

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