Spy photos originating from Arizona show prototypes of VW’s upcoming three-row SUV.

Volkswagen introduced the CrossBlue concept more than three years ago at the North American International Auto Show and now it’s putting the finishing touches on the production version. The three-row SUV is destined to hit the assembly line at the company’s Chattanooga factory in Tennessee towards the end of the year and will likely go on sale as a 2017MY.

VW’s answer to the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer will ride on an elongated version of the flexible MQB platform and will come at the right time on the market if we take into account the low fuel prices. Power is expected to be provided by turbocharged four- and/or six-cylinder engines linked to a front- or an all-wheel drive arrangement.

While the concept had a hybrid powertrain with a diesel engine, it is unlikely Volkswagen will sell the production version with a TDI unit given the ongoing Dieselgate. A hybrid or a plug-in hybrid could be on the agenda with a gasoline engine to bump those mpg numbers.

The two prototypes caught on camera performing final testing in Arizona were carrying front and rear camouflage to hide a design which will likely be heavily influenced by the aforementioned CrossBlue. It’s worth mentioning the prototype spied at the beginning of the month with a Hyundai-like badge had a fake front and rear fascia to mask the real design. The size of the SUV will likely stay close to the concept which was 196.3 inches (4986 mm) long, 79.3 inches (2014 mm) wide and 68.2 inches (1732 mm) tall.

The production-ready CrossBlue (likely getting a different name) won’t be the only new three-row SUV from VW. That's because the Mexico-built Tiguan will come with seven seats once production will begin late this year.

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