Performance-oriented SUVs are all over the market, whether you're looking at mass-market or luxury brands. But Volkswagen hasn't really leaned into that segment yet in the US. However, according to a new interview, that will change.
Hein Schafer, Volkswagen Group of America's senior vice president of product, told CarBuzz in an interview that the automaker is looking to add some higher-output SUVs to VW's US lineup. Specifically, Schafer said that VW is investigating peppier versions of the compact Tiguan and midsize Atlas.
According to the interview, Schafer said that VW had worked to bring the Tiguan R to the US when its current generation debuted, but it never came to fruition. The issue there is that the Euro-spec Tiguan R uses a short-wheelbase version of the SUV, while the US-spec Tiguan only uses the long-wheelbase version. "Whether [the next Tiguan] will be a full-blown R, maybe not," Schafer told CarBuzz, "But I can tell you that there will be a derivative in the Tiguan lineup that will have a little bit more oomph."
CarBuzz's report points out that this variant may take some time to arrive. The Tiguan's most recent facelift debuted for the 2022 model year, so any successor to this generation is still a couple years away, at least.
Schafer also talked with CarBuzz about the larger Atlas SUV, although his words were a bit cagier there. "[W]e are pushing, maybe, to have some sort of an engine derivative and Atlas that will also put out a little bit more than what we're putting out today." Schafer said. "Whether that will be a full performance version, I'd probably say no. But it'll be something that'll give the car a little more horsepower and will stand out over the standard V6 or four-cylinder offerings that we have in the midsize SUV market today."
Currently, the Tiguan sports a 2.0-liter inline-4 gas engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. There is no performance variant, but an optional R-Line trim does add some racier aesthetics. The Atlas offers both a 2.0-liter I4 and a 3.6-liter VR6. The four-pot makes 235 hp and 258 lb-ft, while the VR6 produces 276 hp and 266 lb-ft. A standard body offers three rows of space, while the sportier Cross Sport variant offers seating for five with a more coupe-like rear end.