VW’s CrossBlue Concept shown in Detroit previews 7-seat SUV for North America image

Volkswagen’s CrossBlue Concept previews a full-sized SUV that will be produced in the U.S.

The all-wheel-drive CrossBlue will slot in between the Tiguan and the Touareg in VW’s North American lineup. Basicly, the CrossBlue will replace the slow-selling Routan minivan, which is a rebadged Chrysler Town & Country. Offered with a choice of gasoline, diesel and hybrid drivetrains, the production CrossBlue will be assembled alongside the U.S.-market Passat in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

VW plans to launch the six-seat SUV in 2015 at a starting price of around $32,000. The CrossBlue is 196.3 inches (4,986mm) long, 79.3 inches (2,014mm) wide, and 68.2 inches (1,732mm) high. With the CrossBlue SUV, VW targets rivals including the Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer, among others.

As the concept shown in Detroit uses VW’s flexible MQB platform, the production model will likely be mechanically similar to the second-generation Tiguan due in 2014. Engines will be transversely mounted to lower production costs and generous interior space.

The concept has room for up to six passengers on individual seats in three rows, but the production model will be a 7-seater, with a two-three-two configuration. The study is powered by a plug-in diesel-electric hybrid system with a total output of 305 hp.

According to VW’s computer simulations, the CrossBlue sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, while top speed is 127 mph (205 km/h). Combined cycle fuel consumption is estimated at 89 mpg-e on the EPA standard fuel economy equivalent test for hybrid vehicles in hybrid mode and 35 mpg in pure diesel mode.