Volkswagen Unveils CrossBlue Concept in Detroit

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VW previews potential seven-seat crossover with US buyers in mind in the form of a hybrid diesel concept at the Detroit Auto Show.

Americans love their SUVs. There's nothing new about that. What's changed is that buyers are demanding the people-moving ability to go with the big form these SUVs pack. That's why Infiniti, Honda, Ford and others have all slotted seven seats into their crossovers, and why Volkswagen was motivated to unveil the new CrossBlue concept in Detroit. Slotting in between the Tiguan and Touareg but longer in form, the CrossBlue previews a potential production version to be made in the USA for American buyers.

There's more, however, to this concept than its six seats (opting as VW has for individual buckets instead of rear benches). Volkswagen has fitted the CrossBlue with a plug-in diesel hybrid powertrain that marries a 190-horsepower TDI with two electric motors, driving all four wheels through the road via a dual-clutch transmission for a total of 305 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of people-hauling torque. As a result, VW claims the CrossBlue can run from 0-60 in 7.2 seconds. The electric part of the hybrid propulsion system is also said to be capable of driving for 14 miles without starting up the diesel engine.

Aside from the seating configuration, the interior also boasts a 10.2-inch touchscreen, iPad Minis mounted in the back and a Fender audio system. Visually, the concept is a larger adaptation of Volkswagen's squared-off design language, with boxy wheel arches (instead of rounded ones) packing 21-inch wheels. Those would probably go a little smaller on the production version, but the German automaker will be watching to see how the public receives the concept before making the final call. So what do you think, should Volkswagen build the CrossBlue concept?

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