I've been car window-shopping recently. OK, not via a window, really, but through the Internet.
Just when I thought I'd hold onto my 2017 VW GTI for a while, until the next-generation Mk8 Golf/GTI comes to the United States in 2020 as a 2021 model, today I decided to take a closer look at VW's electric vehicles that will be introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show this month.
My new idea is that I could keep my GTI for longer trips, such as when I go to our co-owned Black Butte Ranch house in central Oregon. Then my wife and I could use an electric car for around town and shorter trips.
Yes, we recently sold our leased Chevy Volt after Laurel found that she enjoyed driving our 2020 RAV4 Hybrid considerably more than the Volt, making the Volt a superfluous third car for us.
Plus, I never liked to drive the Volt very much. It felt too confined to me, lacking a moonroof and large side/rear windows -- which made reliance on the blind spot alert a must, given the poor visibility to the sides and rear.
This afternoon I got excited when I read that the ID3 was going to be featured by VW at the Frankfurt Auto Show. It looks very much like a Golf, so until I read some stories more closely, I thought it would be possible to get an electric ID3 that would have the shape and size of my much-beloved Golf GTI.
But as often happens when I get enthused about a car that strikes my fancy, it didn't take long for me to realize that VW isn't going to sell the ID3 in the United States -- for reasons unknown.
However, it appears that VW will be selling a somewhat larger ID4 known as the Crozz in this country, probably in 2020. Initially I was led to a 2017 Crozz concept car story which showed a vehicle that looked disappointingly akin to the "fastback" shape of the Chevy Volt.
Which isn't very dog-friendly. My wife had to convert the rear seat of the three Volts we've leased into a place our dog could ride, since the steeply slanting rear compartment makes it difficult for any medium or large dog to sit up or stand comfortably.
But then I came across an August 2019 Motor Authority spy shot of a Crozz in camouflage being driven out in the wild in Europe. It looks to me like a somewhat elongated version of the current Golf, and the ID3.
Since the ID model numbers reflect how large a car is, it makes sense that the ID4 Crozz would be bigger than the ID3 -- which could be why it will be the first VW ID model sold in the United States. Americans tilt toward larger cars. I like the size of my GTI just fine, but if a Crozz was a little bit bigger, that'd be fine with me also.
Little is known about the Crozz at this point. However, this speculation in the Motor Authority story sounds good to me.
As for specs, the ID Crozz concept pointed to a setup delivering 302 horsepower, all-wheel drive and a range of 300 miles. This probably reflects a range-topping variant, though. A base model could come with only front-wheel drive and less power and range.
The ID3 is going to be rear-wheel drive. A 2018 Motor Trend story says that all VW electric vehicles will be rear-wheel drive or AWD. But I suppose a front-wheel drive Crozz is a possibility. I like how my front-wheel drive GTI handles, but I'm sure I'd enjoy the Crozz no matter how the wheels are propelled.
Hopefully VW will share some news about the Crozz at the Frankfurt Auto Show. If not, I'm leaning toward keeping my GTI and seeing what VW has in store for 2020 here in the United States.
So why not get a Tesla, I can imagine Tesla owners asking. Good question. Here's a few answers.
First, I like the idea of getting an electric car from a company that has lots of actual dealerships. Electric cars have problems. Not as many as gas-powered cars, but quite a few. We had problems with an all-electric Nissan Leaf that we bought, and we've had problems with the mostly electric Chevy Volts we've leased.
Second, a hatchback appeals to us. The Tesla Model 3 is a sedan. The Model Y will be a hatchback, but it isn't available yet. And almost certainly a VW ID will cost less than a comparable Tesla. Sure, at the moment Tesla is ahead when it comes to autonomous or mostly autonomous driving.
However, VW has more resources than Tesla. I could be wrong, but I suspect that VW and other car companies stressing electric vehicles will be coming close to what Tesla offers, feature-wise, before too long.
Lastly, I've got some concerns about Tesla's longevity as a company. Probably it will survive and become profitable. The electric car risk just seems less with an established company like VW.