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Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept Introduces New Crossover SUV for VW

1/22/2013
According to Volkswagen, the CrossBlue Concept crossover SUV that the automaker introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show is "designed specifically for North America," marrying "clean, timeless Volkswagen design language with the masculine character of an American SUV." It offers 3-row seating in a midsize package, much like a Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander.

Designed in Germany in collaboration with Volkswagen of America, the company further characterizes the CrossBlue Concept as "a very realistic vehicle that eschews showcar gaudiness to give a glimpse at a potential new Volkswagen SUV." Volkswagen says that if the CrossBlue goes into production, the 7-seat midsize crossover SUV would slot into the automaker's lineup above the Tiguan and below the Touareg.

Starting with the exterior, painted CrossBlue Glass Flake, the crossover SUV combines what VW terms a "prominent and long hood" with a short front overhang and a profile that, according to the automaker, "ascends slightly toward the rear." Within the charging port, the CrossBlue is equipped with an electrical outlet designed to power accessories, for example, at a campsite, allowing the SUV to act as an auxiliary generator. The concept vehicle is equipped with LED taillights and 21-inch aluminum wheels with 235/45 tires.

Inside, Volkswagen says "designers and engineers created an interior that will likely set new standards for this class." Leather, wood and aluminum are used extensively within the CrossBlue Concept, which features sliding second-row seats that can be operated using one hand. The front passenger's seat folds in half to allow the SUV to carry items up to 118 inches long with the tailgate closed.

Volkswagen says the CrossBlue can be equipped with up to 12 air bags. The concept vehicle includes a 10.2-inch touch screen for the infotainment systems and hybrid system monitoring. Additional highlights include 3-D navigation mapping, programmable instrumentation, Fender premium audio system, 3-row automatic climate control, and integrated iPad Mini tablets serving as entertainment system screens for the second- and third-row seats.

Where the CrossBlue is clearly different from other midsize family crossover SUVs is under the hood. Equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the CrossBlue Concept pairs a Clean Diesel TDI engine with two electric motors, 9.8 kWh Lithium-ion battery, 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), and a "propshaft by wire" all-wheel-drive system. Combined, the drivetrain generates 305 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. torque at 1,750 rpm.

The driver calibrates the CrossBlue's powertrain by selecting between Eco, EV, Sport, Off-Road, and Charging driving modes. The default mode is Eco, which operates the CrossBlue as a conventional hybrid vehicle capable of returning a claimed 33 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. In EV mode, the CrossBlue can travel up to 14 miles at speeds up to 75 mph purely on electricity, returning 89 MPGe. In Sport mode, acceleration to 60 mph takes 7.2 seconds. In Off-Road mode, the rear electric motor engages to provide 4-wheel-drive. In Charging mode, the turbo-diesel engine serves to charge the battery while driving.

There are two additional driving modes that automatically engage as necessary. In Boosting mode, the rear electric engine engages to assist the front wheels when additional traction is required. Coasting Mode engages as soon as the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator, decoupling the engine from the drivetrain and shutting it down to conserve fuel. A Battery Regeneration mode is active when the CrossBlue is in coasting mode, capturing brake energy to recharge the Lithium-ion battery.

"The CrossBlue concept is exactly the right type of vehicle for the U.S. market," said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, without actually confirming that the automaker intends to produce the CrossBlue.

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