It’s surprising that Volkswagen, the largest car group in the world, is absent in one of the hottest segments in the auto industry. Wolfsburg is rectifying the situation, belatedly. Autocar reports that VW will launch a new small SUV by the end of 2018.

Like its rivals, VW’s compact crossover will sit on the platform of its B-segment supermini, the Polo. The model will take on the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka in Europe. Here in Asia, we have the market leading Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and the anticipated Toyota C-HR in the lucrative segment.

According to the British mag, the upcoming VW SUV will take inspiration from the T-Cross Breeze concept that was displayed at last year’s Geneva Motor Show. Of course, the production car will have a fixed metal roof, five doors and seating for five. It will be built alongside the next-generation Polo in Spain, the report adds.

The small sibling of the Tiguan and Touareg will also share engines with the new Polo – expect three- and four-cylinder turbo motors ranging from 74 hp to 200 hp, Autocar says.

Also on the cards is a new petrol hybrid system that will serve as an alternative to the currently popular 1.6 TDI option. The mild hybrid system will employ a 15kW electric motor alongside a seven-speed DSG, and will provide few kilometres of electric drive, plus assist in acceleration. Over time, motor output and electric range will be boosted.

GALLERY: Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze Concept