Volkswagen plots rugged electric 4x4 SUV for 2023
20 February 2020 - autocar
Jacked-up ID Ruggdzz will have a boxier shape than the ID 4 and greater off-road potential
Volkswagen is on the verge of giving the green light to a new ID-branded SUV to rival the upcoming BMW iX3 and Mercedes-Benz EQB.
The electric-powered SUV is known to officials at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters in Germany as the Ruggdzz, a working title that draws on the word 'rugged'. The new model forms part of a so-called Icon project to establish what has been described to Autocar as "a line of ID models with the same timeless and classless qualities as the original Beetle".
Measuring 4600mm long in standard-wheelbase form, the four-wheel-drive SUV has been conceived to complement a number of more conventionally styled ID models, including the similarly sized ID 4 – a production version of the ID Crozz concept – which is set to be unveiled at the Detroit motor show in June.
Although it is still at a preliminary stage of development, the new ID model is expected to enter production in 2023 as part of a 30-strong SUV line-up planned by Volkswagen by the middle of the decade.
The Ruggdzz joins a production version of the ID Buzz, due next year, and a yet to be confirmed production version of the ID Buggy in an initial three-strong range of Icon models designed under the guise of newly appointed Volkswagen Group design boss Klaus Bischoff.
Those privy to an early styling model of the new Volkswagen SUV say it departs radically from the ID 4, with a distinctly boxy profile. It's said to have a bluff front end with a full-width grille incorporating rectangular headlights, an almost horizontal bonnet, upright windscreen, nearly flat roofline and sheer sides.
The Ruggdzz is also understood to be distinguished from other ID models by a unique glasshouse treatment that makes the C-pillar appear translucent through the application of a glass panel on the outer body.
As well as a standard-wheelbase five-seater, Volkswagen has drawn up plans for an extended-wheelbase, seven-seat version of the Ruggdzz. This is likely to be aimed primarily at the Chinese and North American markets.
Autocar sources indicate that there could be a number of Ruggdzz derivatives, with the most extreme model featuring raised ride height and other off-road-inspired elements such as roof-mounted spotlights.
The basis for the new ID SUV is Volkswagen's versatile MEB (Modularen Elektrik Baukasten, or modular electric toolkit) platform.
Technical details are scarce, although it is thought to use a twin electric motor set-up similar to that of the ID 4 to provide it with four-wheel-drive capabilities, including the ability to transfer drive to individual wheels for added traction in rugged terrain.
As well as providing the basis for the Ruggdzz, a similar MEB set-up is also planned to underpin similarly styled models from Volkswagen sibling brands Seat and Skoda, plus newly formed Chinese marque Jetta.