NAIAS 2013: New VW CrossBlue Crossover Concept Aims at Ford Explorer

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If you want to raise your sales in any market, one of the first things to do is the cover the most important segments, and in the North American auto industry, this means you need to have products in all key SUV categories.

Volkswagen already offers the Tiguan in the compact and the Touareg in the premium segments, so it's now looking to cover the price gap between the two models as well as to replace the Chrysler-built Routan minivan that ended production earlier this year.

It plans to do so with a three-row crossover previewed by the CrossBlue Concept at this week's Detroit Auto Show. Designed specifically for the North American market, the boxy-looking study is based on the new Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), which can be found under the latest VW Golf, Audi A3, Seat Leon and many, many more future models.

At 196.3 inches (4,986mm) long, 79.3 inches (2,014mm) wide, and 68.2 inches (1,732mm) tall, it’s bigger all around than the Touareg, and roughly the same size as the Ford Explorer, with which it will compete, if VW green lights the project.

While the concept is equipped with six individual seats in three rows, VW said that in a production version, three seats would be offered in the second row as an alternative, bringing the total to seven seats. The German company notes that the last row of seats are aimed primarily at children.

Behind the third seating row is a cargo space with 335 liters capacity (loading area length: 600 mm), which increases to 812 liters (load length is 1,387 mm) when folded down. If the seatbacks of the second row are folded as well, cargo capacity increases to nearly 2,000 liters (load length is 2,230 mm). In addition, the front passenger seatback can be folded as well, in which case, objects up to 3,110 mm long can be stowed.

For it motivation, the concept uses a hybrid powertrain coupling a 190-horsepower 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine to 54-hp front and 114-hp rear electric motors, DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, and an electric all-wheel-drive system. The combined output of all power sources is 305hp and 700Nm (516 lb-ft), good enough for a 0-60mph (96km/h) in 7.2 seconds (0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds).

When powered by its lithium-ion battery, the CrossBlue can cover a distance of up to 14 miles (23 kilometers) as an EV, although top speed is reduced from 127 mph (204 km/h) to 75 mph (121 km/h).

The crossover's battery can be charged either by external power sources or by the TDI engine while the vehicle is in motion.

If the CrossBlue receives the green light, it will be offered with conventional diesel and gasoline powertrains as well with a hybrid unit, with production and sales to begin in the United States within the next two years.


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