Volkswagen later came up with a good idea to produce a car with the Thing's capabilities in an economical Golf package. The result was the Golf Country. Pictured below is a 1990 model.
The Golf Country, with its small size, its four-wheel-drive chassis, and its obviously high ground clearance, allowed its owners to have their cake and eat it too - it had all the attributes of an SUV in a simple economy hatchback sedan. It was the sensible choice for off-road aficiandos. I regret to say that the Golf Country has never been sold here.