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VW CrossBlue concept (2013) first official pictures

Mon, 14 Jan 2013

This is Volkswagen's next SUV, just revealed at the 2013 Detroit motor show. Called the CrossBlue, it's a 'mid-sized' six-seat SUV aimed specifically at the American market. Yet judging by these images, and to these European eyes, there doesn’t seem to be much ‘mid-sized’ about it – it's a mammoth five metres long, coming in at 200mm longer than a VW Touareg. It's just a concept for now, but we hear production is a certainty, yet it won't be sold in the UK.

What hybrid-system will the VW CrossBlue be using?

It's a plug-in hybrid powertrain with a diesel engine. VW hasn't revealed the exact configuration, but the technical images released appear to show a four-cylinder TDI unit, and we do know it's twinned with two electric motors. The 4WD CrossBlue is claimed to score economy figures of 134.5mpg.

At the touch of a button the CrossBlue can be turned into a zero-emission car. When the lithium-ion batteries are fully charged the CrossBlue is good for 14 miles in all-electric form.

Whenever the driver releases the accelerator or applies the brakes, the two electric motors act as generators and feed energy recovered from the brakes into the lithium-ion battery.

With the aid of the hybrid system and dual-clutch transmission, the CrossBlue will produce a meaty 516lb ft and 301bhp, hit 62mph in 7.2 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 127mph. However, when in full-electric form top speed is limited to 75mph in order to obtain maximum driving range.  

Does the VW CrossBlue's blue sky thinking continue inside?

In the cabin, the CrossBlue is equipped with six individual seats. The option of a seventh will be available on production models, nestling between the seats on the middle row.

Measuring in at 4987mm long and 1733mm high, head and legroom will come by the bucket-load throughout, and a four-zone climate control system will ensure passengers can relax in relative comfort.      

The driver’s cockpit has brushed aluminium air vents and switches. The dials for the lights, climate control and four-wheel drive system sit flush with the centre console, but rise from their rest position when the ignition is turned on. More leather and wood are likely to find their way into the cabin on production models.

Positioned centrally on the dashboard is a 10.2in touchscreen, framed by an aluminium surround and air vents. The large touchscreen is not only used to control all infotainment functions, but also to access the status of the hybrid system.

Although longer than a Touareg, VW admits that the CrossBlue would sit below it if production is confirmed – it'll be bigger, but cheaper. CAR understands work is already underway, and that the CrossBlue will be on sale by 2016. 

By Jonathan Burn