Does the world need a pint-size crossover that happens to be a convertible? Probably not, but such an attention-grabbing concept could give Volkswagen some traction ahead of the arrival of one of its two newly-planned crossovers positioned below the Tiguan, which for its second generation has grown considerably in size.
At this week’s 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the German automaker is presenting the T-Cross Breeze concept which previews a new subcompact crossover that will be based on the same platform as the next-generation Polo hatchback (VW's T-Roc concept from 2014 previews a compact model).
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The T-Cross Breeze an unusual idea that hides some technologies and styling cues bound for production. Despite its retractable top, the concept is a design exercise that previews a new entry-level crossover rather than a glimpse into a new segment. To that end, the T-Cross Breeze is shaping up to be more or less a replacement for the company's CrossPolo sold overseas. At 162.7 inches from head to toe, the T-Cross Breeze is about half a foot shorter than a Buick Encore.
Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze concept, 2016 Geneva Motor Show
The concept is kind of like the everyman's Range Rover Evoque Convertible, at least in theory. Under its hood, the T-Cross Breeze boasts a 1.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline motor that includes a stop/start system and is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Despite its taller-than-Polo stance, the T-Cross Breeze is only a front-wheel-drive model, which helps it achieve 47 mpg combined on the European cycle, according to VW.
Notably, VW says that the T-Cross Breeze builds on some interior technologies from the Budd-e electric minivan concept that debuted earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Inside, the concept largely replaces buttons, switches and knobs with touch-sensitive surfaces that could preview a "by-wire" control setup for a future production model. Even the gear shift has been shown the door with a trio of glass scroll wheels handling all driving functions. Digital instrumentation, part of VW's new Active Info Display, also hints at what could make production someday.
Volkswagen T-Roc concept
While we know VW plans to offer its new compact crossover based on the T-Roc concept in the United States, it’s not clear if the subcompact model previewed by this T-Cross will make it over as well. We’ll update you as soon as more is known.
Note, other high-riding vehicles from the VW brand include a seven-seat version of the new Tiguan, a seven-seat model to be built at the plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and a next-generation Touareg. Some of the mentioned models may also spawn coupe-like derivatives.
For more from the Geneva Motor Show, head to our dedicated hub.