Volkswagen's latest baby 4x4
16 November 2006

Volkswagen has looked to sister company Audi for the design cues of its latest concept car. The 4.5m-long VW Neeza may be 600mm shorter than the Audi Q7, but these first official images show that it has adopted many of the bigger car¹s features, including the basic side window form and complex tailgate structure.

Conceived at the Shanghai design centre, VW's X3 rival will be based on the same platform as the upcoming Tiguan off-roader, which shares its wheelbase with the Golf and track width with the Passat. "This is a proposal for a compact crossover vehicle in the Golf class," said VW's Shanghai design boss Stefan Fritschi."If we decide to build it, the Neeza will complement the rest of the range rather than replace any existing model." This platform repurposing fits well with the early promise from incoming VW chairman Martin Winterkorn to line up the Volkswagen Group's various brands in a bid to create greater economies of scale.

The VW designers have softened the Q7's bullish road presence with large angular headlamps, a re-profiled bumper and fresh front end styling, using a heavily chromed grille similar to the one on the flagship Phaeton.Other features include downsized exterior mirrors and suicide doors.

In keeping with the current soft-roader trend, the show car rides 20mm higher than the equivalent Volkswagen models, giving it a quasi off-road look.

The new car will be powered by a wide range of VW engines, from the 170bhp 1.4-litre in-line four Twincharger used in the Golf GT to the 300bhp 3.6-litre V6 found in the new Passat R36.

Greg Kable

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