The final design appears very similar to the concept.

The production version of Volkswagen's three-row, seven-passenger CrossBlue concept should go on sale in North America in 2017, and a new batch of spy photos shows the automaker conducting high-altitude testing of the forthcoming crossover. VW still doesn't have an official name for the model, so we're continuing to refer to it with the concept's moniker.

Like the last batch of spy pics, VW's engineers are still hiding the production version's front and rear. The cladding doesn't obscure the square headlights and two-bar grille, though, and both of these parts look almost identical to the original concept. The CrossBlue's muscular fenders and slab sides are visible here, too. The automaker does the best job at concealing this vehicle's rear, but you can spot a portion of the LED taillights. The exhausts appear well integrated and poke out from each corner of the bumper.

VW's three-row crossover will share its MQB platform with models like the Golf. It will reportedly launch with the 3.6-liter V6 from the Passat, but the automaker's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder will potentially join the lineup later. A hybrid, possibly a plug-in, will also reportedly be part of the powertrain range. The German automaker will position its new CUV to challenge vehicles like the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer

VW is investing $900 million into its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory to build the new vehicle there alongside the Passat. The upgrade adds over 500,000 square feet more floor space to the facility. We could see the CUV's final design an auto show soon because the company already confirms production to start late in 2016.

Be part of something big