The midsize diesel plug-in hybrid SUV measures 4,987 mm in length, 2,015 mm in width and stands 1,733 mm tall, meaning it will slot between the company’s Tiguan and Touareg vehicles in a segment that will see it compete against the likes of the Ford Explorer and Toyota’s Highlander in the American market. Sitting on Volkswagen’s MQB platform, propulsion comes from the new 142 kW (190 hp) 2.0-litre EA288 diesel engine mated to a six-speed DSG along with a pair of electric motors. A tunnel-mounted 9.8 kWh lithium-ion module feeds the 40 kW (54 hp) unit on the front axle and one rated at 85 kW 114 hp) on the rear. On the road, 100 km/h appears in 7.5 seconds, while the top speed of 204 km/h (127 mph) is reduced to 120 km/h (75 mph) when running purely on electricity.
In electric mode – using the rear motor only, a range of 33 kilometres and 89 MPGe is achievable; when running on diesel alone the combined consumption is 6.7 l/100 km (35 US mpg), but running in hybrid mode, Volkswagen estimates that you will get through just 2.1 litres of fuel every 100 km (112 US mpg).
Seemingly nearer to a production model than the previously seen Cross Coupé Concept, the CrossBlue looks like an Americanized Touareg with its bold aluminium radiator grille and flared wheel arches that appear to have been borrowed from the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Rumoured to hit dealerships by 2015, those three rows of two seats will morph into seven, meaning the eleven families that bought a Routan will be able to replace it with one of these.