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Volkswagen’s next concept previews a small, sub-Tiguan crossover

Volkswagen’s next concept car will provide insight into what its entry-level, sub-Tiguan crossover might look like. The yet-unnamed soft-roader will be presented to the public next week at the Geneva Auto Show alongside the facelifted up! city car.

The teaser images published by Volkswagen do a relatively good job of hiding the concept’s overall design. However, we can tell its front end borrows styling cues such as sharp-looking headlights with LED daytime running lights and a thin grille with hexagon-shaped inserts from the T-Roc concept that debuted at the same event two years ago. The lower part of the front bumper gains aluminum-look cladding that mimics a skid plate, while the wheel arches and the rocker panels are covered by protective black plastic trim. In other words, all of the design cues that have characterized Volkswagen’s rugged-looking concepts in the past are accounted for.

Technical specifications haven’t been published yet, but it’s safe to assume the Wolfsburg-based car maker isn’t quite ready to resume showcasing its TDI turbodiesel technology. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine the soft-roader will use a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain and a specific version of Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, but we’ll have to wait until the Geneva show opens its doors to know for sure.

Volkswagen promises the concept’s dashboard is similar to the one found in the Budd-e concept that was shown at CES last month, meaning the bulk of the buttons and switches have been replaced by large, touch-sensitive surfaces. The infotainment system can be navigated using voice commands and simple hand gestures.

Far from a futuristic one-off, the concept previews a production model. Earlier rumors claim the crossover will take on the second-generation Nissan Juke and the Mazda CX-3 starting in 2018, but it won’t be designed with the US market in mind due to its size. Built on Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform, it will be offered with three- and four-cylinder engines, and buyers will be asked to choose whether they want front- or all-wheel drive.

Related: Inspired by Porsche, Volkswagen could unleash a 300-hp GTI designed for the track

If the rumor is accurate, the production version of the Geneva-bound concept will be the smallest member of Volkswagen’s crossover family, because the 150-inch long Taigun concept that was being developed largely for Latin America has reportedly been given the ax.