GENEVA, Switzerland – Always striving to establish new niches, automotive manufacturers are now trying their luck with convertible SUVs, and a new such concept just appeared on stage at the Geneva Auto Show.
Based on the Polo’s platform, the Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze is a four-passenger, subcompact utility vehicle that promises fun in the sun and good times at the beach. It boasts a design that’s similar to the new Volkswagen Tiguan’s, but with some distinctive styling cues, such as the square LED daytime running lamps around the fog lights. It also rides high on 19-inch alloy wheels and is painted in a colour called Summer Green Metallic.
Inside, the emphasis is put on the vehicle’s infotainment system, or what manufacturers call a Human- Machine Interface. There are almost no buttons on the dashboard of the T-Cross Breeze, replaced by touch-sensitive surfaces and gesture control functionality that was initially showcased in the BUDD-e concept van that made its debut at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The T-Cross Breeze is also equipped with a BeatsAudio sound system, which delivers 300 watts of power though a set of speakers that includes a subwoofer located up front in the centre console. The stereo is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.
Under the hood of the Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze lurks a turbocharged, 1.0-litre four-cylinder TSI engine that develops 110 metric horsepower and 129 lb.-ft. of torque, managed by a seven-speed, DSG dual-clutch gearbox. With a reported curb weight of 1250 kg (2756 lbs.), the T-Cross Breeze can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 188 km/h. According to VW, it also consumes fuel at a rate of 5.0 L/100 km.
The little droptop SUV also features predictive driving selection. Linked to the navigation system and with the help of a front-mounted camera, the system can read the road ahead and adjust to changing driving conditions. Throttle response as well as suspension and steering calibrations will vary automatically. The system will also detect when the driver is heading off the beaten path and activate an off-road mode. However, since the T-Cross Breeze has a front-wheel drivetrain, it will inform the driver where he or she can go and where not to go.
So, will the Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze concept reach production? Highly unlikely, even though it looks pretty much like a finished product. However, a proper five-door crossover, inspired by the Breeze and sporting similar dimensions will eventually be on sale. Another SUV, inspired the T-ROC Concept introduced in 2014, will also make it to production.
Both will be positioned below the new Tiguan, which will only arrive on the Canadian market in 2017, possibly 2018. And that Canadian version will be the longer – and more spacious – variant called the Tiguan XL. Along with the upcoming large seven-passenger SUV that will be built in USA, Volkswagen will soon have a model lineup composed of no less than five utility vehicles.