VW’s new entry-level crossover for US to be badged a Tarek

The United States misses out on the compact T-Roc crossover SUV, but local Volkswagen fans can look forward to a similar sized offering from the German automaker in the next couple of years.

The new crossover will be a version of the Tharu launched earlier this year in China and Russia, but it will be badged a Tarek for sale in the Americas, Argentina Autoblog (via Motor1) learned last week at a press presentation held by VW’s unit in Argentina.

The Tharu is 175.3 inches long, 72.5 inches wide and 64 inches tall, and it has a generous wheelbase of 105 inches. It has 16 cubic feet of storage but this can expand to 54 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. Powertrains in China include 1.2-, 1.4- and 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engines, with all of them mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and front-wheel drive.

2019 Volkswagen Tharu (Chinese spec)

2019 Volkswagen Tharu (Chinese spec)

Tareks sold in North America will be sourced from VW’s plant in Pueblo, Mexico, with production due to start in 2021. The vehicle is based on the Volkswagen Group’s flexible MQB platform found in the larger Tiguan and Atlas models.

The Tarek fills the void in the all-important compact crossover segment in VW’s local lineup, a void created by the Tiguan growing into a small crossover for its second generation. Rivals in this space include the Chevrolet Trax, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass and Toyota C-HR.

VW has more U.S.-bound crossovers planned. A 2-row Atlas likely to be badged an Atlas Cross Sport is due in the second half of 2019. It will be built at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And then we’ll see an electric crossover based on the ID Crozz concept around 2020.

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Tesla dashcam saves Model 3 owner from potential insurance scam

A Tesla owner is thanking his Model 3’s built-in dashcam after his vehicle helped him avoid a potential case of insurance fraud. Armed with recordings of a suspicious accident involving a cyclist who fled the scene, the Tesla owner was able to prove to his insurance company that he was not at fault.

Herman Nagra was driving his Tesla Model 3 at Cedar and Shaw in Fresno, CA, when a cyclist struck his vehicle. The cyclist in question traveled four lanes and crashed into the moving sedan. Recordings from the electric sedan’s built-in dashcam show that the traffic lights were green when the Model 3 driver crossed the intersection. 

After the incident, Nagra promptly pulled over to check on the cyclist, but strangely, the bike rider got up and took off quickly. Police who later questioned the Model 3 owner was suspicious of the story. Speaking to local news, Nagra noted that the authorities questioned him in a “very aggressive demeanor,” asking him about the cyclist whereabouts. “I said I don’t know the accident occurred less than a hundred feet away; he’s not there he’s got on his bike and left. He’s the one that’s actually fled the scene,” the Tesla owner said.

The police did catch up to the cyclist and confirmed that he was not hurt. The rider even informed the authorities that his bike was undamaged from the accident. The story could have ended there, but a couple of hours later, the cyclist changed his recollection of the accident. “An hour or two later, my insurance company calls and says this person is trying to get some money,” the Model 3 owner said.

Fortunately for Nagra, his Tesla Model 3 recorded the entire incident using its built-in dashcam feature. Thanks to an update that allowed the vehicle’s side cameras to record footage while the car is in motion, the Model 3 was able to clearly capture footage of the cyclist crashing into the electric car, getting up, and fleeing the scene of the accident. With the footage of the incident, Nagra’s insurance provider promptly dealt with the matter.

The incident has the trademark signs of an auto insurance scam. Among the most prominent forms of auto insurance fraud involves scammers pretending to get hit by vehicles and filing for alleged damages. The emergence of dashcams have helped curb some of these scams, but the fraudulent practice has not entirely disappeared. The only surefire way for car owners to evade insurance scams similar to the one Nagra and his Model 3 experience is to fight against these false claims with camera footage.

“You know you don’t have to believe the bicyclist, you don’t have to believe me or the witness, the cameras are what the best non-biased information is this collision, believe the cameras,” Nagra said. 

Tesla dashcam saves Model 3 owner from potential insurance scam

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Bentley Continental GT is luxurious inside, terrifying outside

A Bentley Continental GT is probably the last vehicle we’d imagine for a tank conversion. Yet, here we are.

YouTube channel AcademeG, based in Russia, posted video of the luxurious beast of a tank that’s nearly complete. It almost totally works and will manage to topple over any terrain. Meanwhile, the British charm and luxury inside is alive and well, which is somewhat hilarious to see in contrast.

Officially called the Ultratank, the modified Bentley rides on real tank treads and seems to have no issues paving a path wherever the driver wants to go. Unfortunately, the video is in Russian, so we can only gather information from what we watch. It appears there are a few problems with the build. About halfway through, a tread comes off when the driver makes a left turn. Motor1 reported it’s due to a lack of tension in the tread itself, which is kind of a big problem. Anytime the Bentley-turned-tank corners to quickly, the treads have a tendency to slip off.

Reportedly, the brake pedal doesn’t work, either, so the driver needs to bring the hulking mass of British and Russian machinery to a halt by natural means.

Right now, the tank will do about 31 mph and the crazy group behind the project want it to go doubly fast for a top speed of 62 mph. That’s more than enough speed to get wherever the tank needs to go. The team also needs to fashion a set of doors for the tank eventually, but we kind of like the chopped and open look of the peculiar piece of engineering.

Nevertheless, hats off to these guys because there’s a lot of mad engineering going on here.

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