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Geneva show: VW concept heralds SUV offensive

Crossed up: Volkswagen might be late to the small SUV party, but it hopes to make up time with a new compact vehicle related to Polo.

Volkswagen gives an insight into its compact SUV direction with Geneva concept


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23 Feb 2016

VOLKSWAGEN has teased a small SUV concept that is expected to form the basis for its belated entry into the hot-selling segment from 2018.

Rumoured to be called T-Cross, the concept vehicle – to be shown at next week’s Geneva motor show – is thought to sit on VW’s flexible MQB architecture and share many Polo mechanicals.

Along with three images of the vehicle, VW released a statement saying the concept car could be seen as the beginning of a broad SUV offensive.

“With this, Volkswagen gives a realistic perspective on a completely new model series and at the same time on the future production model,” the company said.

Distinctive square LED daytime driving lights are the most prominent feature of the vehicle that otherwise has similarities with the upcoming 2017 Tiguan medium SUV.

In what is probably a fanciful design move that is unlikely to be carried over into production, the concept has few switches to operate it.

Instead, like the all-electric VW Budd-e minivan shown at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Geneva concept is expected to have steering-wheel touchpads and voice recognition to run its various functions.

Although it is still at least two years from production, the T-Cross is being hurried into reality to address a major hole in the VW model line-up below the Golf-based Tiguan.

Europe’s biggest car-maker has missed the boat on growth in the small SUV market that, both globally and in Australia, is the fastest-growing vehicle class.

Once it arrives, it will take up cudgels against the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Mitsubishi ASX, Holden Trax and Nissan Juke.

Unlike those vehicles, VW reportedly is planning to offer the T-Cross will all manner of powertrains, including petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric.

The new baby SUV will form part of an SUV blitz by VW, stating later this year with the arrival in Australia of the new, larger Tiguan, this time with a seven-seat option.

It is expected to be followed next year by a related sports crossover vehicle based on 2014’s T-Roc concept, and a flagship Cross Coupe sitting the VW Group’s large SUV platform introduced on the latest Audi Q7.

Also at the Geneva show, Volkswagen will show its latest Up city car, this time featuring alternative natural gas and electric powertrains.

The line-up even includes a crossover version, plus a two-seat cargo variant.

None of these are expected in Australia, where the Up was axed in 2014 due to lacklustre sales.

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