Autocar said it got intel on a new electric crossover from Volkswagen that, in conceptual form, is called the Ruggdzz. The name is not the only baffling detail in the report, even after acknowledging VW likes to slap its EVs with double-Zs — note exhibits ID Buzz, ID Crozz, and ID Vizzion. The Ruggdzz, which, yes, is meant to suggest something rugged, would be another entry in the automaker’s Icon project alongside the ID Buzz Microbus and ID Buggy concepts. The initiative is trying to develop “a line of ID models with the same timeless and classless qualities as the original Beetle.” In this case, and before we’ve seen what the Ruggdzz looks like, we’ll take “classless” to mean “not showing obvious signs of belonging to a particular social class.”
Sitting on the MEB platform, predicted length for a five-seater version is 4,600 millimeters (181 inches), the same length as the electric ID.4 crossover and about 13.5 inches shorter than the ID Buzz. A seven-seat model for markets like the U.S. and China would add a few more inches out back. Someone who’s apparently seen the concept described the looks to Autocar as having “a bluff front end” and “a distinctly boxy profile,” with rectangular headlights tucked into a full-width grille, “an almost horizontal bonnet, upright windscreen, nearly flat roofline and sheer sides.” Another detail on the concept: A layer of glass on the C-pillar to create the illusion of translucence.
If that vignette were a “Jeopardy” answer, our question would have to be, “What is a Ford Flex but exactly 20 inches shorter?” We might be ruled incorrect, though. Giving VW credit where it’s due, the Ruggdzz sounds more like a VW Thing (pictured) revival as a hardtop EV, but 33 inches longer than the original Kübelwagen. Speaking to Car and Driver in 2017 about retired treasures that could go electric, VW brand CEO Herbert Diess spoke of just such a possibility.
If consumers take to the crossover, planners already have derivatives in mind like an even more rugged version — we’re not sure if the comparative form in this case would be Rugggdzz or Ruggdzzz — with a lifted ride height and rooftop light bar.
The reign of weird continues when Autocar explains that VW is pitching the Ruggdzz as a challenger to the BMW iX3 and Mercedes-Benz EQB. For the moment it sounds like electric powertrains and overall length is the only thing these three crossovers would have in common, but we could get more refined information eventually. VW is supposedly “on the verge” of greenlighting the Ruggdzz, and if that happens, it would start trotting down production lines in 2023. Before then, the ID Buzz and potential ID Buggy models will open the Icon project account as soon as next year.