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VW unveils the Cross Coupe GTE concept

Volkswagen announces yet more additions to its crossover family in Detroit

In the year just ended, the Volkswagen Group broke through the 10 million barrier. That’s the number of cars it sold worldwide. And yet, amazingly, this all-powerful juggernaut still has some notable weak spots. For instance, the VW brand (as opposed to its Audi, Bentley and Porsche siblings) has long under-performed in America.

That’s because it doesn’t have a big but relatively cheap SUV. Those are what Americans buy in their millions. But VW’s Touareg is too expensive, the Tiguan too small.

So VW has finally announced it will launch a seven-seat 5-metre-long crossover there in 2016. It will be built in the company’s factory in Tennessee. It will be developed for local tastes. It’ll have the switches where Americans expect them and seats the shape Americans expect them and big boot and a zillion cupholders.

It’ll be roughly based on the Crossblue concept shown at this same show in 2013.

But today VW showed us another concept on the same path. It’s called the Cross Coupe GTE. The designers say it’s a big clue to the detail design of the Crossblue seven-seater, though it has a lowered roof and a five-seat coupe-ish silhouette.

Its very likely the Coupe itself will go into production a couple of years after the seven-seater.

These big SUVs are the largest cars based on VW’s omnipresent MQB matrix, This means a huge suite of drivetrains is theoretically possible. And VW’s head of R&D Heinz-Jakob Neusser told Top Gear many will be launched. First the Crossblue will be available with the VR6 engine and 4WD, and diesels will be used too, and petrols with hybrid or plug-in hybrid power. If a hybrid power unit is used up front, the rear wheels are driven by electric motors.

Inside it gets VW’s next-gen entertainment, which includes Mirrorlink and Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Because it’s so big and isn’t as plush inside as the Toureg it’s unlikely the Crossblue will come to Europe.

But we will get a new Tiguan, which is narrower and shorter than the Crossblue. In fact it’s so much smaller that there will be a special longer-wheelbase version of that Tiguan built in America… and even that is a fair bit smaller than the vast Crossblue. But if you were wondering, in the US the Crossblue is referred to as ‘mid-size’.

Just to round off this crossover frenzy, Top Gear checked with Neusser and he confirms that in Europe we will be able to buy not just a new Toureg and a new Tiguan, but also a Golf-sized SUV springing from the T-Roc concept, and also a Polo-sized crossover too.

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