THE next big thing from Volkswagen is quite literally that, as these spy pictures of a sizeable seven-seater SUV snapped in California reveal.
Expected to be the largest and longest passenger vehicle the German company has offered, when it surfaces this year or early in 2017, this is the productionised version of the Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept first shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit way back in 2013.
Taking on the popular Toyota Kluger, Ford Territory, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, and Nissan Pathfinder, it will be built at Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the United States, on a stretched version of the Volkswagen Group’s flexible MQB Modular transverse architecture that underpins the latest Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Passat.
Interestingly, this Volkswagen prototype ditches the usual swirly camo for what at first glance might pass for a Jeep-like headlight, grille and bumper treatment, and comes complete with a fake badge. A similar trick is employed by the decoy tail-lights.
However, rumours suggest that the 2013 CrossBlue Concept still provides the strongest clues yet as to what the finished (and as yet unnamed) product will really look like.
Along with the usual three-row (2+3+2) seating arrangement, the newcomer is believed to feature a dashboard layout that is very similar to that found in the Passat launched in Australia late last year.
Pundits are also predicting an all-petrol set of engine choices for the production Volkswagen CrossBlue, at least initially, following the company’s on-going diesel emissions cheating scandal, with a 3.6-litre V6 favoured for this vehicle’s predominantly American demographic. There might be a hybrid option, to keep that all-important average fuel consumption figure down to reasonable levels.
Nevertheless, for export markets like Australia, we should also expect a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo to make the grade, in both petrol and diesel formats, since there seems to be no issue with the latest versions of the diesel in related MQB models.
Volkswagen isn’t shying away from competitive pricing nowadays, so don’t bet against a sub-$45,000 starting point (in today’s dollars) for the cheapest front-wheel drive variant when sales commence later next year or in early 2018, stretching well into the $70,000 realm for the fully loaded all-wheel drive flagship version.
Finally, a version of the CrossBlue for in-house Czech brand Skoda is also believed to be in the pipeline for next year. Said to be known as the Skoda Kodiaq, it is thought to be heavily based on the Vision S Concept that debuted last month at the Geneva Motor Show.
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