WILL VOLKSWAGEN take on the Land Rover Discovery Sport with a seven-seat SUV? That’s the question British drivers will want answered, after the giant German company revealed the Cross Coupé GTE concept, a sleekly styled SUV that hints at things to come, at the Detroit motor show.
To date, neither the VW Tiguan compact SUV nor the larger Touareg SUV come with seven seats. In North America, where Moms [sic] and Dads spend their weekends ferrying a car full of quarter-backs from game to game, this gap in VW’s range means its cars are frequently overlooked by drivers. The answer? Introduce another SUV, of course.
The new car will take on the likes of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, which suggests a price range starting at under £40,000. The company says that the VW Cross Coupé GTE has been created to preview an SUV destined for US drivers; it may only have five seats in concept form, but industry insiders say it previews a seven seater and add that the production version will make its way to the UK roads late next year.
Volkswagen says the vehicle measures up at 4,847mm long, 1,736mm high and 2,030mm wide, which is slightly larger than the Discovery Sport, and features a similar seven-seat layout, whereby a pair of seats can be folded into the boot floor when not in use.
Following in the footsteps of the CrossBlue concept, which was unveiled at Detroit in 2013, and the CrossBlue Coupé, which was first seen at the Shanghai motor show two years ago, the Cross Coupé GTE rides on the marque’s MQB platform (components that may include the chassis, floorpan, suspension and steering system and can be adapted to underpin a wide range of vehicles in a car maker’s range).
The concept features a 3.6-litre V6 engine and two powerful electric motors. The V6 produces 276bhp, while two electric motors power the front and rear wheel wheels and provide an extra 76bhp. The total output is 355bhp, and VW claims it can accelerate from 0-60mph in six seconds.
Five different power modes, which are similar to those found in the Golf GTE, are available: E-Mode, Hybrid, GTE, Offroad and Battery Hold/Battery Charge. E-Mode allows the tough SUV to travel for 20 miles on zero-emissions battery power alone, while a button on the dash can activate both sporty and off-road driving profiles.
Inside, there is a new infotainment system that is controlled via a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, plus a 12.3-inch digital dashboard, similar to that seen on the new VW Passat.