Detroit 2013: Volkswagen CrossBlue concept is no Microbus

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The Jetta and the Passat accounted for 64 percent of Volkswagen’s North American sales in 2012, its best year in the market since 1973. One of the most glaring absences from the full-line carmaker’s lineup is that of a three-row SUV or crossover. The CrossBlue concept hints at a future Volkswagen that would fill this hole. But don’t for a second think that this concept has a third row that can comfortably fit real adults. (It’s no Land Rover LR4 or VW Routan.) We weren’t allowed to climb around in the back row, but it appears to be comparable in size to the third row of a BMW X5. Which is to say, usable for skinny tweens but not adults or kids in bulky car seats.

Nor is the CrossBlue an homage to Volkswagen’s famous, team-hauling Microbuses of yore. If anything, its side profile resembles a Jeep Grand Cherokee’s. The CrossBlue’s world debut resembled a birthday party, with lots of balloons and a family. My own family of four could live with a production version of the CrossBlue pretty easily, but the in-laws would probably have to take their own vehicle. (Horrible, I know.)

The concept’s fancy-pants powertrain would make it extremely easy to feed an SUV this size; VW claims that the plug-in-hybrid vehicle is good for a 35 mpg combined average and can go 14 miles in EV mode. That seems pretty far-fetched to me. So does the idea that a three-row Volkswagen such as this is purely a concept.

Read more about the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept in our first look article.

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Ooooo.  Nicht so gut, Volkswagen.

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