VW CrossBlue revealed

14 Jan, 2013 4:15pm Graham Hope

The new Volkswagen CrossBlue concept has been unveiled at Detroit, and it previews the look of a new big brother to the Touareg

The new Volkswagen CrossBlue concept, unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, reveals how future SUVs from the brand will look – and confirms VW’s intentions to produce a seven-seater that will sit above the Touareg.

Although the CrossBlue is a six-seater, VW says any production model would be offered with room for seven. And given the near-production looks, it won’t be long before the car is on the road in the US and Canada. The model is specifically targeted at the North American market – 29 per cent of all cars sold in the US are SUVs – and as such will not go on sale in the UK.

Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board for development, said: “The Touareg is a premium product; this is a car for the sweet spot, the volume market.”

The styling, however, points to the look of the next-generation Touareg and Tiguan, with lots of crisp, straight lines and bold features like the chrome two-bar grille.

VW design chief Klaus Bischoff and VW Group design head Walter de Silva worked in tandem with Volkswagen of America to create the distinctive look.

Unlike some seven-seat SUVs, VW claims the CrossBlue has space for adults in all three rows: there’s 947mm of legroom in the second row and 917mm in the third. With all three rows in place, the boot has 335 litres of space; fold the two rear rows, and you get a 2,000-litre load area.

The CrossBlue is based on a variation of the MQB platform that underpins the Golf, and has been designed to take all types of powertrain, from diesel and petrol to hybrid and natural gas.

There is 4WD capability with or without hybrid power, and a front-wheel-drive and 4WD plug-in hybrid is also possible when the CrossBlue makes production.

The plug-in hybrid car on the show stand has a 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI, mated to electric motors on each axle. This combines to deliver 297bhp to all four wheels, and means the CrossBlue can cover 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds.

Fuel economy, when the batteries are charged, stands at 134mpg, but when only the diesel is providing the power – to the front wheels only – that figure falls to 58mpg.

The batteries can be recharged from a 230V socket, and the car has an electric-only range of about 20 miles with speeds up to 75mph.

Inside, the concept features a blend of leather, wood and aluminium. One neat touch are the controls for the 4WD, lights and climate control, which rise out of the dash when the driver switches the ignition on.

The centre console is dominated by a 10.2-inch touchscreen which controls all the infotainment functions, plus keeps the driver up to date with the state of the hybrid system.

A 3D display on the sat-nav, meanwhile, allows the landscape of the selected route to rotate. Passengers in the rear aren’t forgotten about either, with iPad minis in the headrests.

The CrossBlue is the latest concept to hint at VW’s plans to expand its SUV line-up. The up!-based Taigun debuted at the Sao Paulo Motor Show late last year, and there’ve even been discussions about a Polo-sized off-roader to sit between this and the Golf-based Tiguan. A new Tiguan will be launched alongside a new Touareg over the next couple of years, too.

The styling similarities between the up!-based Taigun SUV and the CrossBlue confirm that VW has already laid out a clear identity for every single member of its future SUV line-up.

No launch date has been set for the Taigun in the UK.