Prius-fighting Volkswagen XL3 coming in 2018?

Prius-fighting Volkswagen XL3 coming in 2018?

A new report finds Volkswagen is in the early stages of developing a hybrid compact hatchback aimed right at the Toyota Prius and the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq.

Tentatively called XL3, Volkswagen’s Prius fighter will use technology gleaned from the futuristic — and exceptionally expensive — XL1 that’s built in strictly limited numbers. It will launch as a standalone model, not as a more efficient variant of an existing car, and it will blend styling cues borrowed from the XL1 (pictured) with a silhouette whose design will allegedly be inspired by the Prius.

Power will come from a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain made up of a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 140 horsepower, and an electric motor programmed to generate 35 ponies. The motor will be capable of driving the XL3 on its own for short distances, and fuel economy should check in at nearly 80 mpg in a mixed European cycle when both power sources are up and running.

The information comes from Auto Bild, a German magazine whose reports haven’t always been accurate. If the rumor turns out to be true, the Volkswagen XL3 will go on sale in 2018 with a base price of approximately €30,000, a sum that currently represents about $33,000.

Photos by Ronan Glon.

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