Volkswagen reveals 'CrossBlue' midsize crossover, developed especially for U.S. market
Jan 14, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The company best known for the Beetle is going big.
Volkswagen revealed a six-seat midsize crossover concept vehicle called the CrossBlue to compete in one of the biggest segments in the industry.
Developed specifically with American customers in mind, the midsize CrossBlue concept is precisely the shape of one of the few remaining holes in VW's lineup as the brand tries to move into the mainstream.
Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, called it "an antidote for the uninspiring hybrids on the market.
The concept is one of the first vehicles to use VW's new MQB architecture and set of components, which will eventually underpin millions of vehicles, including the next Audi A3, VW Golf and Jetta compacts. VW created MQB to be flexible enough to support vehicles ranging from compacts to midsize cars and crossovers.
The interior has six bucket seats in three rows. The trim features banana tree wood n the doors, dash and center console. A 10.2-inch touch screen controls audio and navigation. The video entertainment system for the second and third rows of seats is compatible with iPad minis.
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At 196.3 inches long, the CrossBlue concept is 4.9 inches longer than a Honda Pilot and 7.4 inches shorter than a Chevrolet Traverse.
Company board member Ulrich Hackenberg highlights its fuel efficiency "while still offering maximum driving fun."
The company said VW isthe only manufacturer in the U.S. to have seven vehicles that get 40 miles per gallon or higher.
Volkswagen also introduced the Passat Performance Concept, a midsize sporty front-drive sedan, that's very similar to upcoming production model.
This concept's potent 1.8L turbocharged engine erases the VW Passat's biggest shortcoming by providing a four-cylinder engine with competitive power. The engine produces 250 horsepower and mates with a six-speed automatic transmission. The performance concept offers visual differentiation to match its power upgrade with dual exhaust pipes, 19-inch alloy wheels and LED taillights.
Volkswagen had its best year since 1973 in 2012 as sales rose 35% from 2011, according to Browning.
"Part of the growth from our small base in the U.S. is making sure we're on people's shopping list," Browning said later. "More and more people are seeing us as a brand for today."
The CrossBlue is a plug-in hybrid, with a diesel engine, two electric motors, all-wheel-drive and six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The batteries provide up to 14 miles of battery range and the system produces a total of 306 horsepower. It wouldn't be a surprise if VW built a hybrid when the crossover makes it to production, but expect gasoline and diesel engines to be the main powerplants.
There's a strong chance VW gets this six-passenger family-hauling crossover into production within three years.
Expect a sporty Passat like the performance concept to hit VW dealerships within a year.
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