Volkswagen has rebadged the Skoda Karoq for China where it will sell it as the Tharu, with sales starting in the third quarter of this year.

Following the introduction of the Skoda Kamiq SUV for the Chinese market, the Volkswagen Group is all set to introduce a new compact SUV for the People’s Republic under the VW brand. Badged as the Volkswagen Tharu, the SUV shares its underpinnings with the Skoda Karoq and will be going on sale in the country in the third quarter of this year. The Volkswagen Tharu is the production version of the VW Powerful Family SUV concept that was revealed two months ago, and the all-new offering borrows a host of design details from the automaker’s larger SUVs including the Tiguan and the Atlas. The Tharu and the Karoq will be manufactured in China by the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture.

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The Volkswagen Tharu has been designed to look like a mini Volkswagen Atlas, albeit for a younger audience in mind. While the styling is predictable yet smart on the Tharu, it gets an exclusive upgrade in the form of a Beats audio system. Volkswagen has tied up with Apple in China, and the range-topping versions will be getting the high-end audio system, as opposed to the standard VW unit on the regular trims. There’s also the Beats logo on the B-pillar denoting the special variant.

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In terms of dimensions, the Volkswagen Tharu measures 4453 mm in length, 1841 mm in width and 1632 mm in height. The Volkswagen compact SUV is 71 mm longer, 27 wider than the Karoq, while the wheelbase stands at 2688 mm, an increment of 50 mm. Under the hood, the Tharu will be available with two engines including the 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol units. The 1.2 petrol will be tuned to produce 116 bhp, while the 1.6 petrol will have a power output of 150 bhp on offer. Both engines will come paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

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The Volkswagen Tharu will take on a host of compact SUVs in China including the Hyundai ix25 (Creta in India), as well as the Acura CDX. Reports also suggest that the Tharu could make its way to the South American markets in the future, but is likely to be locally manufactured in Argentina. It is unlikely that Volkswagen India will bring the Tharu SUV to India, but the Skoda Karoq is said to be in the works, along with a new Volkswagen compact SUV for the domestic market. While details on the products aren’t disclosed yet, the model is expected to arrive by the end of this decade.

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