While the U.S. mostly gets rehashed versions of the iconic Volkswagen Golf design repackaged into same-looking vehicles of various sedan and crossover configurations, the automaker is putting out all-new designs for the Chinese market and they certainly look interesting.
The new Chinese-market VW Lamando is in its second design generation, and to my eyes it looks like the automaker took inspiration from recent French cars and the terrifying apple-eating character from the Death Note manga. The overall look seems to, we’ll say “borrow” a lot, with the low, wide curved grille smile, curvy flared headlights and a rear taillight bar that looks nearly identical to the current Peugeot 508 sedan.
The creepy smile the grille and headlights manifests also looks like the character of Ryuk from the Death Note manga. I can’t unsee it and I don’t know how VW would feel about the association. Ryuk does wreak havoc and chaos down on Earth for his own entertainment, but somehow I don’t think this entry-level Chinese-market sedan will have the same hunger for fun.
The Lamando is based on the widely-shared Golf-focused MQB platform underpinning many Volkswagen family vehicles. So far, the car will only be available in front-wheel drive with a 1.4-liter engine paired with a 7-speed DSG transmission, putting out 148 horsepower. It’ll go on sale in China and other regional markets like the Philippines, as CarScoops reports.
While I’m terrified of staring the Lamando straight in its face, I have to admit it looks much cleaner and is certainly a more-interesting car design compared to the current U.S. market VW Jetta, which looks like it was designed by a computer with the headlight variable too large and propped up on stilts.
We may not get the Lamando in the U.S., but I always love to see how automakers tailor to the Chinese market in different ways than they often tailor to us, though the gap has been rapidly closing to a fairly cohesive consumer singularity across both countries and cultures for decades. I’m mostly just curious if some of the panels would work on any cars over here.