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Volkswagen Is Finally Building the SUV Americans Really Want

The company once known for hatchbacks and wagons is now all-in on crossovers.

vw volkswagen electric suv

Those of you who spent the weekend polishing your vintage VW with a diaper may not like it, but Volkswagen's most successful car in America, commercially speaking, is the Atlas. Indeed, if you took a survey of what Americans wanted with a car and built a vehicle tailored precisely to those recommendations, you'd probably wind up with something a lot like the Atlas: a premium-looking, spacious crossover with third-row seating and all-wheel drive that's still affordable.

And soon, it appears we're going to be getting the electric version of that.

As spotted by Autoblog, VW's CEO Herbert Diess recently posted his speech about the brand's #NEWAUTO global strategy on LinkedIn. In a section spelling out the segments that VW has covered with new EVs, the speech draft notes that there will be a new ID.8 vehicle corresponding to the Atlas the way the ID.4 crossover relates to the Tiguan.

VW offers no context beyond a footnote stating what we already know; the ID.8 is not for sale yet. But if the ID.8 corresponds to the Atlas's segment — midsize, three-row family crossover — it could be the spacious family vehicle the EV market has been waiting for.

Three-row crossovers are tremendously practical, but they are inefficient, with many still using naturally-aspirated V6 combustion engines. Hybrids like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid are just filtering into the segment. EV options are even more scarce. Rivian's three-row R1S should arrive eventually. The only relatively spacious three-row electric family SUV currently available is the Tesla Model X, and it starts at $80,000, approaching the cost of a Land Cruiser or Range Rover. There's a huge void for a more affordable three-row crossover like the VW ID.8.

Whether VW enthusiasts get the vehicle they want may be another matter. There was some hope VW would bring back an electric wagon to the U.S. based on the ID. Vizzion. But Diess's speech draft does not refer to it.


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