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Tharu, Volkswagens’ sassy new SUV, pulls in

THE VW Tharu is set to launch on the 29th of September at Karrera Cafe in Alabang, with a public display and test drive set for 30 September and 1 October. | Photograph courtesy of VW Philippines

Fresh off the boat, literally, is Volkswagen’s SUV Tharu.

Volkswagen Philippines has introduced its new global SUV, the Tharu, signaling the German brand’s continued efforts to bring in its latest models to Filipino consumers.

The first batch of this eagerly awaited vehicle touched down at the Port of Batangas just last week and is set to be officially unveiled on 29 September at the Karrera Café in Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

For those keen on getting a firsthand experience, the public will have the opportunity to view and test drive the two available variants, the SE and the premium SEL, on 30 September and 1 October.

Delving into the Tharu’s design and origin, this compact crossover SUV has its roots in the Volkswagen Tharu initially released in China in October 2018.

Its name draws inspiration from the Tharu people, an indigenous ethnic group from Nepal and Northern India. Moreover, the Taos variant, a restyled version of the Tharu, was introduced for the North American, South American and Russian markets in October 2020.

This vehicle’s positioning in the Volkswagen lineup is strategic, slotting below the Tiguan in some regions and above the T-Cross in others.

The platform on which the Tharu is built, the Volkswagen Group MQB A1, is shared with other notable models like the SEAT Ateca, Škoda Karoq and Jetta VS5.

Known as “Project Tarek” during its developmental phase, the Tharu is significant as it represents the first Chinese-developed VW product to be sold outside its home market.

Under the hood, the Tharu boasts a range of powertrain options, catering to various driving needs and preferences. From petrol engines that span from 1.2 L to 2.0 L capacities to the electric e-Tharu variant, Volkswagen ensures that there’s a Tharu for every kind of driver.

The Philippine versions will be offered in the SE and premium SEL trims, and although there are no final drivetrain specs, the most likely candidate from the current global offerings would be the 1.5-liter TSI turbopetrol engine mated to a 7-speed DCT. This engine produces around 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque.

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