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One of the first prototype mules for Volkswagen’s new sub-Tiguan small SUV has been snapped during testing, disguised as a three-door Golf.

The new baby SUV from Volkswagen is anticipated to launch around 2018, competing in the hotly-contested small and compact SUV segment that is currently occupied by the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Mitsubishi ASXRenault Captur.

Earlier this week, an artist’s renderings offered a convincing look at how the new model may be styled. This prototype doesn’t lend any sort of design clues, however, thanks to the clever jacked-up Golf disguise.

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The small SUV is likely to wear a familiar design however, combining elements from several Volkswagen SUV concepts such as the T-Roc, T-Cross Breeze and Taigun. Expect the new Tiguan to also influence its look.

While the test mule may look like a slightly modified Golf, underneath is the SUV companion to the next-generation Polo range, which is expected to launch in 2018.

What we can guess from these pictures is that the new compact SUV will have a significantly taller ride height than the Golf and Polo hatchbacks, which it’s likely share a version of the Volkswagen MQB platform with.

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There have been no details yet on the compact SUV’s engine or drivetrain options, however the recently-revealed Audi Q2 could provide some clues, as Volkswagen’s baby SUV is likely to share many of its components with the tiny Audi SUV.

In Europe, the Q2 will launch with a selection of six different engines, including a range of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, with the option of front- and all-wheel-drive.

The Volkswagen small SUV is not likely to launch until late in 2017 or early 2018, so the production version is still a long way off.

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