Cars Coming Soon: Volkswagen’s Cross Coupe Concept Isn’t a Coupe

Volkswagen Cross Coupe concept

The word “coupe” used to mean something.

To label a car a coupe meant it was a 2-door, front- or rear-wheel-drive close-to-the-ground car that might be rather impractical. The Ford Escort Coupe. The Nissan Altima Coupe.

Those cars made sense, at least in their naming conventions. They looked like coupes, and they were called coupes. Now, it seems every automaker likes to take liberties with the word and build vehicles that are not coupes but still call them coupes.

Case in point: the Volkswagen Cross Coupe concept, which debuted this week at the Tokyo Motor Show. Believe it or not, it’s not a coupe.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe concept, profile

Maybe it’s the sloped roofline of vehicles like this concept that gave marketers the freedom to label these squash-backed crossovers coupes. But let’s ignore the name for a moment and get into this concept’s reason for being. It’s actually pretty cool and foreshadows the design of future Volkswagen crossovers. The large grille is reminiscent of Honda’s new face, but I think the VW wears it better. About the size of the Nissan Juke, the Cross Coupe concept is powered by a unique all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain, with two electric motors (one for each axle) paired with a turbocharged gasoline engine. Volkswagen estimates that this powerplant will produce around 262 horsepower, but will be able to drive on pure electricity for about 25 miles. Getting up to 60 miles per hour will take around 7 seconds.

For all the vehicles around that are “borrowing” the coupe name (BMW X6, Land Rover Evoque, Acura ZDX, even VW’s own CC), I think the Cross Coupe concept best executes the new style. The compact shape keeps its proportions well and manages to look bigger than it is without looking deformed. It just needs a new name!

If the VW Cross Coupe made it into production, would you drive one over the new not-really coupes from BMW, Land Rover, Acura and Nissan?


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  1. I can’t warm up to these vehicles with the huge wheels and gigantic expanses of slabs topped by a tiny greenhouse. After all, it’s a truck, so whats wrong with having some space inside and good visability? Some of these trucks have such extreme greenhouses that it even seems hard for people to ride inside.

  2. It looks a lot like the GC from the side… so do the oversize wheels actually. Good looking little car

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