The Volkswagen Nivus is getting closer and closer to being unveiled, if a recent release from the company's Brazil division is to be believed. Along with additional details about the coupe-inspired subcompact SUV, the company also revealed images of a lightly camouflaged VW Nivus.
Volkswagen South America engineers and designers took on the entirety of the Nivus' development, and it will be built in Brazil. However, Volkswagen's European dealers will soon sell the coupelike crossover, since it will be locally produced on the continent as well. Brazil will get its first crack at the VW Nivus by June, with other Latin American markets following suit by the end of the year.
The compact crossover is most notable in that it brings coupelike styling down to one of the cheapest automobile classes. Unlike the conventionally styled T-Cross, Tarek, and Tiguan, the Nivus features fast rear styling that almost apes the Porsche Macan. And in contrast to VW's other SUV "coupe," the Nivus is much rounder and smoother than the sharp Atlas Cross Sport. LED taillights and daytime running lamps lend the Nivus some surprisingly upmarket flair, with 17-inch alloy wheels filling the little crossover's wheel arches well.
Built on the same MQB architecture that's found under several other Volkswagens, the Nivus will be powered exclusively by a 1.0-liter inline-three, producing 128 horsepower (94 kilowatts) and 148 pound-feet (200 Newton-meters). A six-speed automatic sends power to the front wheels, as VW 4Motion all-wheel drive will not be available. Previous reports suggested a six-speed manual would be the standard transmission, but Volkswagen do Brasil only made mention of the slushbox. However, that powertrain combination has already been used to very efficient effect in other VW machines, and the subcompact Nivus should continue the trend.
Although it features a footprint similar to the Polo hatchback, the Volkswagen Nivus boasts 415 liters (14.7 cubic feet) of cargo room. That number compares very favorably to the Polo's 285L (10.1-cubic-foot) luggage capacity, which might make the Nivus more attractive to small families.
U.S. sales prospects have not been announced, but if Volkswagen of America decided to import (or locally produce) the Nivus, it would likely be the company's least expensive product at around $17,000. However, we anticipate that VW will instead focus on bringing a different $20,000 crossover to market first, creating something that slots in just under the Tiguan (but still larger than the Nivus). If the pseudo-German, pseudo-Brazilian small crossover ever makes it to the U.S., expect it to wage a healthy battle with the Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Venue.