The 2013 Detroit Auto Show has nearly run its course – this Sunday, in fact, will mark its last day. But we can hardly say good-by without mentioning what went on at the Volkswagen exhibit last Monday morning, although in years past that would not have been the case.
That’s because the powers that be at VW have vowed to become bigger players in the U.S. market by making their products more relevant to American buyers. Nowhere is this enlightened view more evident than in the two products the company unveiled in the Motor City last week.
Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept
If you think the Chinese have cornered the market on copying vehicle designs, you’d be wrong. Case in point: the Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept that is only lacking the signature 7-slot grille to be a near-clone of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Although equipped with what has come to be the requisite electric-cum-hybrid (in this case a TDI clean diesel) powertrains of auto show concept vehicles, when it finally reaches dealer showrooms some two years hence it will probably come equipped with a choice of four and six-cylinder gasoline engines as well as a four-pot oil burner.
Designed in Germany, the CrossBlue was developed specifically for the U.S. and Canadian markets. According to VW, the production version will also offer three row seating for either six or seven and will slot between the entry level Tiguan and below the upscale Touareg.
Volkswagen Passat Performance Concept
A “concept” in only the loosest of terms, the Passat Performance model unveiled alongside the CrossBlue is much closer to production than the aforementioned SUV.
While its 250 horsepower direct injected turbocharged four (working through a six-speed automatic) gives up 30 or so horses to the VR6 Passat, it’s sure to be both lighter in weight and more economical at the pump.
With less weight up front it’s also likely to be more agile in the handling department, as well.
In addition to the new powerplant (which, by the way, is current available in other markets), the concept also is equipped with handsome 19-inch alloys, bi-xenon headlamps, LED taillamps and rides on a lowered sport suspension.