They will trade seating for cargo space and be slightly cheaper.
At the same time manufacturers are scrambling to offer families three-row sport-utility vehicles, there also appears to be a spot in the seemingly limitless SUV market for big haulers with only two rows of seating. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen is the latest automaker to jump on this bandwagon by making a five-passenger version of the Atlas, and a long-wheelbase Tiguan that also foregoes the third bank of seating for cargo space.
Why offer a larger SUV with reduced seating? The primary motivation would seem to be sticker price, as the report says a five-seat Atlas will be a “slightly lower-positioned five-seater” while the Tiguan would actually get a bit smaller, with presumably a lower price point as well. On the manufacturing side, removing a set of seats is certainly much cheaper than creating a completely new model, so Volkswagen in essence can compete in multiple segments of the SUV and crossover market with just two models.
VW isn’t the first manufacturer to make such a move. Lexus recently unveiled a two-row version of its big LX 570 SUV, trading seats for cargo space while also dropping $6,000 off its price tag. As the SUV/crossover market continues to evolve – and get even more competitive – it’s virtually guaranteed that more automakers will follow suit.
The report doesn’t mention anything about a timetable for when Volkswagen will implement this update. Both the Atlas and redesigned Tiguan are new models, so it’s possible the lower-cost two-row derivatives won’t appear for a few years. One thing is for certain though – with buyers exhibiting a near-endless appetite for SUVs and crossovers of all shapes and sizes, having as many offerings as possible is something all automakers are keen to capitalize on.
Source: Automotive News