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7 Top Cars at the Detroit Auto Show

VW CrossBlue Concept

At the Monday rollout for this concept, Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen of America, said Volkswagen is growing in the U.S. but "we are absent from the large and growing mid-sized SUV segment.

"Perhaps we can surprise somebody (and) deliver a stylish SUV that is fun to drive, in this class, one you might expect VW to take on," Browning said, noting that the segment is expected to grow by 22% in 2012 as "SUVs are replacing the classic minivan."

VW said the CrossBlue would flesh out its SUV lineup with a seven-seat midsize crossover that slots in above the Tiguan and below the premium Touareg. One advantage -- for the first time VW has an SUV with a name that does not sound like the name of a pet tiger. Also, CrossBlue features a plug-in hybrid powertrain with estimated fuel economy of 89 miles per gallon in the electric mode and 35 mpg as a hybrid.

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