Spied: Is This a Three-Row Volkswagen SUV With Barely Anything On?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

What seems to be a barely disguised Volkswagen SUV has been photographed driving near the automaker’s southern California test facility.

If it is what we think, it’s an important vehicle for the automaker. A three-row SUV has long been part of Volkswagen’s U.S. growth plan, but now it might serve as its survival plan.

Drawing design cues from the 2013 Crossblue concept, the midsize SUV was green-lit in 2014, and production is planned for the end of 2016 at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee facility. The timeline for deliveries is tentatively set for early 2017.

Even as the costly diesel emissions scandal raged around it, the automaker didn’t take money earmarked for the Chattanooga plant off the table. Having an entry in the lucrative midsize SUV market would have been a boon for Volkswagen before the scandal broke, and is even more important now.

The unnamed SUV is expected to seat seven passengers and be similar in size to a Honda Pilot, with power likely coming from a 3.6-liter V6 sourced from the Volkswagen Passat. Earlier speculation about a diesel powerplant has to be taken with a dose of reality now, for obvious reasons.

A gas turbo four-cylinder is another possibility, as is a hybrid setup. With Volkswagen trying to become a leader in electric vehicle development, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a plug-in version to compete with the likes of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

[Image: © 2016 Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Thegamper Thegamper on Apr 04, 2016

    Obviously it not production spec, but VW sure isn't swinging for the fences on styling lately. Drivers wanted for the new Volkswagen Frumpebarge.

  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Apr 04, 2016

    This thing looks pretty bad. Thankfully the new Tiguan is way more relevant to my (and most people as evidenced by its competitors' top 20 sales positions) interests

  • Bd2 I wonder how TTAC is celebrating this JuneTeenth? Rolling around naked in hyundai flavored mud somewhere like they usually do?
  • Wjtinfwb I'd like to see a Ford/Mazda relationship restarted. Both companies have some car guys keeping the flame alive and could develop a sports car slightly bigger than a Miata and pick and choose from each other's parts bin to put together some attractive powertrain combo's. Even a Mazda 3 AWD with the 300HP EcoBoost 2.3L, manual and AWD from the Focus RS would be welcome. Even better, a factory Miata V8 with the 480 HP Coyote (i know it wont fit...) and a manual gearbox. And how about a CX-5 with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with AWD and an chassis tuned for sport. Lots of possibilities.
  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.