Trucks & SUVs

VW Reveals Hardcore Off-Road EV: Will Anyone Buy It?

Yes, we know VW has a strong commitment to electric vehicles. It’s almost like it’s cramming them down everyone’s throats. It’s trying to make amends for the Dieselgate cheating it got caught up in. Now that it has developed an EV platform it calls “MEB” here comes the flood of VW EVs. Just to make sure you’re paying attention it has revealed a “hardcore” off-road EV it’s working on. Since it is all-in on EVs it expects anything electrified will find success. So the question is; will anyone want to buy this hardcore off-road EV?

We already know that VW will debut its ID.4 crossover at the Detroit Auto Show in June. It was originally set to debut at the New York Show but it seems that VW is having problems pulling the trigger on all of its EVs. The flagship ID.3 has been postponed until 2021. It was supposed to be out now.

VW will do a hardcore off-road version of its ID.4

The ID.4 is meant to compete with the Tesla Model X. So it’s no off-roader.
VW is gunning for the BMW iX3 and Mercedes EQB EVs with this new off-roader that internally has been dubbed “Ruggdzz.” Why not? Except, both of those rival models don’t look to be very off-road capable. We expect that the Ruggdzz will be more like its BMW and Mercedes rivals. We have included the rendering VW revealed for your consideration.

Once the EV platform is fully developed VW should be able to crank out all kinds of variants. VW so much as says so with the accompanying hype. It’s saying the Ruggdzz “is part of a line of ID models with the same timeless and classless qualities as the original Beetle.” As part of that thinking, we have the ID. Buzz and ID. Buggy concepts as examples.

The off-road Ruggdzz will come in two versions

VW says two versions of the Ruggdzz are under development right now. One will be a typical five-seat model with the standard MEB wheelbase which has not been revealed. It is being described as 15 feet long. The other version will be an extended wheelbase version that’s a seven-seater that we’ll get in the US. 

Based on the rendering, if VW chooses it will do a variant that is lifted with roof-mounted lighting and other off-road cues. The MEB version we would expect to see for this version is a dual-motor with all-wheel-drive. Based on what we know about the similar ID. Crozz concept it will have 302 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque.

The Ruggdzz will share components with the ID.Crozz

VW ID Buzz, hopefully out before we’re all too old to care | VW

As of now, we expect the Ruggdzz will also have the same ID.Crozz 83-kWh lithium-ion battery for a range of a bit over 300 miles. Since the Ruggdzz isn’t slated to be in production until 2023 these powertrain and range details could and probably will change. 

From a styling viewpoint, it is much more boxy with body panels offering a very minimal crown. The upright windshield and flat roof and hood give a rugged look to the Ruggdzz. Body sculpting while there is kept to a minimum. The massive wheels and knobby tires will probably give way to more conventional rolling stock.

Whether you want it or not the EV charge is upon us. Whether it translates to the off-road segment will be interesting to watch.