Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze previews new SUV
The star of VW’s stand in Geneva, the Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze Concept, is an innovative subcompact convertible crossover intended to serve as a teaser for a new small SUV planned to give the automaker a sport utility model in every relevant market sector. At its reveal, Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brands noted: “the T-Cross Breeze is purely a concept, but we can well imagine putting such a convertible on the market as a production model. This is an affordable fun car that is also entirely suitable for everyday use - it’s a genuine ‘People’s Car’.”
New look, new tech
Slotted beneath an upcoming vehicle that will be similar to the Golf-sized T-Roc Concept presented two years ago, the production T-Cross Breeze would be a Polo-class offering that introduces its own design themes and technologies. Finished in Summer Green Metallic with a black fabric top, Deep Teal plastic fender/bumper accents and a sandblasted finish on its exposed aluminum elements, the T-Cross Breeze has a long 101.0-inch wheelbase, short overhangs and rides on a 19-inch alloy wheels. Its long, wide grille and stylized LED headlamps echo aspects of what we’ll see in the new Tiguan that launches later this year and introduces what VW calls its new, “authentic SUV design.” But the Breeze’s DRL treatment and LED rings around its foglamps are specific to this new mini-ute series. So too is the look of the twin character lines in its bodywork. At the rear, LED taillights flank an easy-loading trunk that lets the Breeze Concept tote 10.6 cu-ft of cargo.
Inside, the 4-passenger T-Cross Breeze Concept has an innovative cabin design based around a next-gen human machine interface that replaces nearly all of the conventional buttons/switchgear with touch surfaces or various “by-wire” alternatives as well as with gesture control. Like VW’s BUDD-e Concept van shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the T-Cross Breeze Concept uses a pair of video screens – a fully programmable Active Info Display in front of the driver and another on the center console that handles infotainment functions, including the Breeze Concept’s 300-watt BeatsAudio sound system that’s compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. Other new tech touches include a predictive driving profile linked to the navigation system that can automatically modify throttle/steering/adaptive shock damping to best suit the driving situation. The setup even incorporates an off-road mode and a topographical map display that it pops into view when it senses the vehicle is no longer motoring on a paved surface.
Motivation for the T-Cross Breeze Concept comes from a 1.0-liter turbocharged/direct-injected TSI gasoline engine that makes 109 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque shipped to the front wheels via a new electronically activated 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. While 0-62 mph takes 10.2 seconds, this VW show car can hit 117 mph and its 10.6-gallon fuel tank gives it a theoretical range of 497 miles.
No word on exactly when the production Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze may find its way into showrooms. But VW indicated a new midsize SUV for the U.S. and China along with a redone Touareg at the top of its range will be the next to arrive followed by the new T-Roc and T-Cross lines.
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