Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept: Up Close

The Volkswagen CrossBlue three-row crossover is technically a concept, but there's relatively little in its design that would need to change to transform it into a production model and compete in the same segment as the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot.

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Despite its considerable size, the CrossBlue has admirable proportions; it doesn't look like a stretched Touareg SUV. The concept further evolves the face of VW with its twin-bar grille, which is accented by piano-black trim. Despite the crossover underpinnings, the blocky design is likely the right choice for the U.S. market.

The interior is also relatively conventional for a concept, suggesting that a production version isn't far off. Some of the more premium elements — like the banana tree wood trim — might be replaced in favor of less expensive materials, but the cabin layout isn't far afield from VW's current lineup. Even the concept's six-seat configuration — with reclining and sliding second-row bucket seats — could readily be offered.

A production crossover derived from the CrossBlue would need to start around $30,000 to compete against models like the Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse, but if VW has shown anything in the past few years it's that it's willing to revamp its lineup to bring out competitively priced cars in pursuit of sales. You only have to look at the Jetta and Passat. With the run VW is on in the U.S., it's hard to see the strategy changing much for a three-row crossover.

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