Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept review

22 Sep, 2013 12:15am Tom Philips

We get behind the wheel of the Volkswagen CrossBlue SUV concept, which previews the next Tiguan

Verdict

You can’t glean too much 
about how a finished car 
will drive from taking a spin 
in a concept. However, the CrossBlue proves the flexibility of the MQB platform, and how its economies of scale will allow a big SUV to go on sale here. Although the VW is a 
large car, it looks good, and hints that the next Tiguan will have a lot more personality. 
Its neat tech features will make production, too, aimed at boosting appeal to a 
new generation of buyers.

Volkswagen ushered in 2013 by unveiling the CrossBlue Concept at January’s Detroit Motor Show. Initially, there were no plans to bring the big SUV to Europe – but all that’s changed. We’ve been given a chance to drive the concept and glimpse what’s in store for the production model, due in 2016.

When the MQB platform was announced, VW said that it would underpin all cars from the Polo 
to the Passat. However, the CrossBlue is designed to show the platform’s maximum dimensions. It measures 4,987mm long, 2,015mm wide and 1,733mm high, making it 12mm shorter, 58mm narrower and 102mm lower than the new Range Rover

But despite being bigger than a Touareg, the production car will slot between that model and the all-new Tiguan, due in 2015. Under the bonnet is the same 
2.0-litre TDI engine as in the 
new Golf GTD. It has the same
six-speed DSG gearbox, too, supplemented by a 40kW e-motor.

A second, 85kW motor, sourced from the E-Golf, sits 
on the back axle. This gives 
four-wheel drive, albeit without 
a propshaft. The transmission tunnel is instead filled with lithium-ion batteries, again borrowed from the electric Golf.

Although the concept is driveable, it’s limited to 20mph and is far from production-ready. However, you do get a good idea of the excellent visibility available from the driver’s seat, which allows you to manoeuvre what 
is a pretty big car with real ease.

The TFT instruments and new gear selector are likely to appear in production form, too, with the former giving a clear display that switches between blue for Eco 
or red for Sport mode. You can select different modes using touch-sensitive buttons below the air-conditioning controls.

The cabin is a major step on from VW’s current range of SUVs, and provided the production car can replicate its quality, it should lead the class. The concept sticks in electric mode most of the 
time, with VW’s claim of 21 
miles’ all-electric range seeming achievable. When the battery runs down, the diesel engine 
can recharge it in 15 minutes.

Inside, six seats provide 
plenty of space. Even with the third row in place, there’s still 
a 360-litre boot – that’s only 
20 litres shy of the current Golf’s. The concept’s Sharan-sourced seats are representative of what will be offered in production. Buyers can select from five or seven-seat layouts, too, as 
well as front or four-wheel drive.

The exterior hints at how 
VW’s next generation of SUVs 
will look. The bluff nose, long wheelbase and generous rear overhang provide classy proportions, while the squared-off arches give a distinct Jeep Grand Cherokee flavour.

The look works well in different sizes, as shown by the tiny Taigun concept, and should suit the next Tiguan too. And although the chrome grille is similar to that 
of the American-spec Passat, nothing seems too outlandish for European tastes. Chunky details picked out in matt aluminium, such as the roof rails, bonnet vents and door mirror finishers, are nicely done as well.

Disqus - noscript

What a load of bollox.

I'd rather have cancer than a VW like the people who write this drivel at AutoVWExpress.

I better not comment on its looks before seeing the car in metal as going by the photos - I can't think of anything good to say unlike Tom who says it looks good. Its so down in the looks department even the current Discovery looks less dour.

Its Volkswagen's first attempt at the 7-seat market so good luck. Volkswagen's strategy is usually very predictable. They will make it just good enough to barely compete with the current market leaders and will undercut the rivals to steal some sales.

It does seem rather porky in appearance with a distinct "Mid-Atlantic" flavour about it

Styling seems to be a great divider where VWs are concerned.

I like the XBlue's chunky looks, especially compared with the car-like design direction taken by competitors such as the Honda CRV.

The smaller Taigun appeals too, perhaps as a replacement for the current RAV4, now bloated far beyond the original compact vehicle.

Still, for off-road ability, LR Discovery still rules.

That is the most stupid comment ever. Go play on youtube, you'd be at home with your troll friends...

Not a fan of the styling.

How, at this stage, can you possibly tell whether this would be better or worse than the Discovery off road? I do think though it is regrettable AE should publish a road test of something so far from being production ready. Cynics amongst us might feel it is an instance of "His Master's Voice", VW being the "Master".

Ah, should have inserted the words: "...will probably still rule".

Should also point out that it's a review not a road test, so all comments are on a work in progress.

Pleased to read about it though, if only to keep tabs on how things are going.

So it seems the racist Gestapo at AE cannot handle critique when their love for VW is exposed....

typical. No wonder Ze Germunz lost the f-in war....

I think they won the peace.

I like the look of this, reminds me of the outgoing Range Rover and it's predecessors, being a fairly bluff, upright design with relatively thin body pillars. Front end needs tidying up a little, but other than that this just looks like a well resolved piece of design. The interior looks classy too, and if the prices are the same as suggested, it could be an excellent buy.

"How, at this stage, can you possibly tell whether this would be better or worse than the Discovery off road?"

If the finished car has the ride-height as shown in the photo, you can be confident at £30K it won't have any tricks, so not only is it possible, it's an extremely easy conclusion to draw.

I am afraid IMHO that this is pure guesswork. All we have is a very early stage vehicle, little better than a concept car and which is limited to 20mph. As I have taken under-critical VW fans to task (including AE itself) at times, it is only right to be similarly underwhelmed by over-enthusiastic JLR ones.

Because it will be, it just will be. Its one of those certainty's like the sun rising and Jack Kirby saying its brilliant just because it has a VW badge on it.

I do agree with you it is guess work but lets use history to judge, when have VW ever made a car better at off roading than Land Rover?

VW, look that is how you make an interior! Stop saving things like this for concepts and apply that design, you might even start to shed the image of been one of the most boring brands on the road.

The exterior looks way too American for my tastes but its also a lot better looking that any of VW's current range (not hard obviously).

Key specs

  • Price: £30,000 (est)
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 1x40kW and 1x85kW e-motors
  • Power: 302bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed DSG twin-clutch, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 127mph
  • Economy: 135mpg
  • Equipment: 21-inch alloys, leather upholstery, climate control, colour touchscreen and instruments
  • On sale: 2016
Auto Express 1,343
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links