Spy photographers have caught the new Volkswagen Viloran poking out from underneath a cover, ahead of its Chinese-market launch later this year.
The Viloran’s rakish (for an MPV) styling blurs the lines between van and SUV. Its proportions are reminiscent of Volkswagen’s SMV full-size crossover concept, which debuted at this year’s Shanghai motor show, while its front-end design is a dead-ringer for the Touareg.
It appears to be bigger than Volkswagen’s largest European MPV, the Sharan. If so, that’ll make it Volkswagen’s largest car-based MPV since the 2009-14 Routan, a restyled Chrysler Voyager sold exclusively in the North American market.
Reports suggest the Viloran is at least as long as the SMV concept, which spanned 5100mm. That makes it roughly the same length as a Kia Carnival.
It’ll be manufactured by one of Volkswagen’s two Chinese joint ventures, SAIC Volkswagen. It’s expected to use the MQB modular architecture, while its 380 TSI badging indicates it’ll use a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing 164kW and 350Nm.
Spy photographers were able to snap the Viloran’s cabin completely uncovered, revealing a traditional, understated Volkswagen interior design and what looks to be an eight-inch infotainment screen.
Sounding like an alien species from Star Trek, Viloran is another in a long line of made-up Volkswagen names, joining such manufactured monikers as Tiguan, Phideon and Magotan.
The Viloran enters a struggling market. Light vehicle sales in China declined in 2018 for the first time since 1990, while MPV sales were down 22.8 per cent with a six-year low of just 7.5 per cent market share.
Flagging sales haven’t stopped Lexus, however, which is introducing the LM luxury MPV to the Chinese market. The large MPV segment is dominated by the Buick GL8 which, despite being heavily restyled in 2016, still uses the GM U-Body platform dating back to the 1990s.
It was the only van in the segment to crack the Top 100 last year.
Volkswagen is China’s number one car brand and, through its joint venture partners SAIC Volkswagen and FAW-VW, sells a wide range of China-exclusive models.
These include the compact Lavida, Lamando and Santana, as well as the full-size, MLB-underpinned Phideon sedan. Recognising the growth of SUVs, Volkswagen is doubling the size of its SUV range in China by next year.