|Volkswagen Crossblue Concept|
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Volkswagen is presenting the concept car of a new SUV generation in a world premiere at the North American International Auto Show: the CrossBlue. The largest carmaker in Europe conceptualized the new versatile SUV specifically for the USA and Canada. If it goes into production, the CrossBlue would enrich the Volkswagen model lineup with a seven-seat midsize SUV of the 5.0-meter class; currently, Volkswagen of America offers the Tiguan (4.4 meters long) and the exclusive Touareg (4.8 meters) as sport utility vehicles. It features one of the most innovative plug-in hybrid systems ever (TDI Clean Diesel + two E-motors + dual-clutch transmission + "propshaft by wire"). Volkswagen estimates that fuel economy for the four-wheel drive SUV will be 89 MPGe (EPA standard fuel economy equivalent for hybrid vehicles in the USA with full utilization of battery charge; combined Highway and City cycles); in pure diesel operation, fuel economy is 35 MPG (combined Highway and City). In the test cycle of the European R101 ECE standard for electric hybrid vehicles - based on computations that cannot be compared to those of the EPA standard - the estimated fuel consumption is 2.1 liters per 100 km. Despite this superlative economy, the CrossBlue offers impressive drive system characteristics with a power of 225 kW / 306 PS and up to 700 Newton meters of system torque; the midsize SUV completes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.2 seconds (0-100 km/h: 7.5 s).
The SUV can be turned into a zero emissions car either at the press of a button or automatically. When its lithium-ion battery (energy capacity: 9.8 kWh) is fully charged, the CrossBlue can travel a distance of up to 14 miles in all-electric mode based on the US test cycle; in this mode, its top speed is reduced from 127 mph (204 km/h) to 75 mph (120 km/h) to achieve an optimal driving range. In the new European driving cycle (NEDC), the CrossBlue attains an all-electric driving range of 33 km. Important: it is not possible to directly compare driving ranges and fuel economy values of the US and EU driving test cycles to one another, since the tests are configured differently.
Conceptually, the CrossBlue - equipped with its six individual seats - combines the engine technology and visual impact of an SUV with the spaciousness of a minivan. Its ride comfort makes the CrossBlue an ideal cruiser; its good all-round visibility simplifies maneuvering; with ESP, a four-wheel drive system and up to twelve airbags, the concept car would also be a space cruiser of the safest kind.
The CrossBlue was designed in Germany under the leadership of Walter de Silva (Head of Design, Volkswagen Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Head of Design, Volkswagen Brand) - but in close coordination with Volkswagen of America. The design effort merged the clean lines of German Volkswagen "design DNA" with the masculine character of an American SUV. This resulted in a very genuine car, which - although it is still a concept car - does not rely on show effects at all, but instead offers a near-production look at a potential new SUV model series from Volkswagen.
The Volkswagen - painted in "CrossBlue Glass Flake" - is 4,987 mm long, 2,015 mm wide and 1,733 mm tall. The CrossBlue assumes a very confident stance on the road with its large track widths (1,686 mm front, 1,696 mm rear), also newly designed 21-inch alloy wheels (with 285/45 tires) and significantly flared wheel arches. The very masculine image of the new CrossBlue is emphasized by its dominant track widths, dynamic proportions with a long and wide hood and large wheels.
Creating a contrast to the exterior paint is the body trim in stainless steel look that runs all around the SUV's lower body section. The exterior of the CrossBlue - developed by a design team led by Marc Lichte - features a very prominent and long hood that integrates air inlets for the engine, a roof line that is also long and a very short front overhang. The vehicle's silhouette ascends slightly towards the rear. This visual impression is reinforced by a character line that runs from the headlights back to the tail lights - it becomes wider towards the rear. Above this - and typical of a Volkswagen - is the very precisely styled line terminating the row of side windows; the windows are enclosed by a solid aluminum frame.
The CrossBlue is equipped with two "fuel doors" - on the left and right sides of the rear body; the filler neck for the diesel tank and SCR reservoir is located on the passenger's side; on the driver's side, engineers integrated two electrical sockets behind the fuel door. The first socket is used to charge the lithium-ion battery; the second can be used to connect such electrical devices as electric coolers or light systems for camping. In this case, the CrossBlue acts as an auxiliary electrical generator.
A key element of Volkswagen design DNA is the predominance of horizontal lines at the front and rear of the vehicle. The Volkswagen design team has further developed this character trait in the CrossBlue. Consider the front end, which was designed under lead designer Andreu Solar: the radiator grille trim - consisting of two solid aluminum struts and a centrally positioned VW logo - is now a 3D element that extends into the headlights. These aluminum accents are key elements that define the new three-dimensional visual design of the dual headlamps implemented in LED technology and, in turn, the entire front end. The upper aluminum strut frames the dual headlights, while the lower strut visually extends the radiator grille across the entire front end. This gives the CrossBlue an even wider and more dominant presence, yet one that is also friendly and appealing.
Volkswagen designers even attend to the smallest of details with great care. The air inlets in the bumper are an example of this. They are trimmed by horizontally mounted, black painted elements, which upon closer examination reveal themselves as very strong, three-dimensional honeycomb structures. Beneath the bumper, the front end is terminated by trim in stainless steel look with integrated underbody protection.
As at the front end, designers accentuated the three-dimensionally sculpted LED tail lights with aluminum elements as well. From a styling perspective, the tail lights are designed in the form of an "E" that opens towards the vehicle centerline. In the inner area, the contours of these two "E" shapes (mirrored on each side, of course) are trimmed by aluminum accents, and each has two stripes painted in the exterior color. The prominent tailpipes are designed in stainless steel look; they were integrated in a trim panel with underbody protection that runs horizontally across the lower section at the rear. Since the Clean Diesel of the CrossBlue - equipped with its SCR catalytic converter - does not emit any soot whatsoever, the tailpipes of the exhaust system always keep their shiny look as well.
The interior of the very spacious CrossBlue was designed under lead designer Tomasz Bachorsky. His team equipped the concept car with six individual seats (three rows of seats). In a production version, three seats would be offered in the second row as an alternative, bringing the total to seven seats. At the rear, the seat positions are slightly elevated; children in particular will enjoy the better view. Nonetheless, headroom is very good throughout the vehicle. In front, it is 1,077 mm, in the second row 1,020 mm and in the third row 954 mm. The layout is also comfortable in terms of legroom: up to 947 mm is available in the second row, and in the third row it is up to 917 mm. These values confirm that adult passengers too can recline comfortably in the third seating row on long trips. Convenient access to the rear seats is assured by sliding the second row forward with one hand movement.
Behind the third seating row is a cargo area with 335 liters cargo capacity (loading area length: 600 mm); when the seatbacks of the third row of seats are folded, cargo capacity grows to 812 liters, and load length is 1,387 mm. If the seatbacks of the second row are folded as well, cargo capacity increases to nearly 2,000 liters; this increases the load length to 2,230 mm. Finally, the front passenger seatback can be folded, and then objects up to 3,110 mm long can be stowed.
In the rear seating area too, the air nozzles of the automatic climate control system that are integrated in the roofliner ensure optimal temperatures inside. The rear zones of the four-zone system can also be controlled from the second row of seats.
The CrossBlue is not only an extremely spacious and comfortable SUV; it is also a very sophisticated one. And that not only applies to the materials used in the interior, but simultaneously to its precise styling and unmistakable form language. In the process, the design team - together with the engineers and their technologies competence - created an interior that will likely set standards in this class.
As soon as the driver starts the ignition, the round-shaped controls for the lights, climate control and the four-wheel drive system emerge from their rest positions, which is flush with the cockpit surfaces. The controls have rugged aluminum surrounds - which fits the character of a large SUV and is also typical of the Touareg. The precious metal that is pleasing to the touch is one of the predominant materials in the interior; aluminum is used for the surrounds of the air vents and switch arrays as well as for such features as the inner steering wheel hub and the spokes of the steering wheel.
Leather and wood are also used to finish the interior. The wood accents are especially distinctive. As Head of Color & Trim, Oona Scheepers decided to use dark stained banana tree wood here. The lines of these wood accents "flow" from the sporty gear shift panel - which opens in a downward direction - and ascend the center console and across the lower instrument panel to the door trim - playing a large role in defining the front interior space. Above these wood accents, and in the area of the two-part center armrest, dark leather in the "Marble Grey" color is used. Meanwhile, Volkswagen uses leather, trim pieces and fabrics in the light beige color "St. Tropez" beneath the wood accents and as seat upholstery.
The approach Volkswagen takes in integrating contemporary technologies in the refined material world of aluminum, wood and leather makes a clear design statement. Positioned centrally on the center console is a 10.2 inch touchscreen. The display is visually framed by an aluminum surround and central air vents. The large touchscreen is not only used to control all infotainment functions, but also to access the status of the hybrid system. Another new feature is 3D display of either the navigation route or media center contents - the landscape "rotates" - and the cover flow of the media center moves upward in space, creating a visual effect with extreme depth.
All significant switches in the passenger compartment (except for the hazard flasher switch) are designed as soft touch switches; their touch control is similar to that of a touchscreen. Gear shift travel is designed to be very short for the "shift by wire" 6-speed DSG.
The instruments are also high-tech. The instrument cluster is designed to be user programmable, offering a wide variety of functions and displays. One example: the CrossBlue can be driven in different powertrain modes; information related to the very efficient "Eco" mode is shown with a blue background, while the theme color switches to red for the dynamic "Sport" mode.
To ensure that guests in the rear seats can fully enjoy audio, video and online features, mini mobile iPads were integrated as monitors in each head restraint of the first seating row as part of the rear seat entertainment system. A Fender sound system creates a crystal clear world of sound.
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|Article||Image gallery (6)||Specifications|