The model is slated to go into production later this year.

Volkswagen has been late to embrace the crossover craze but that's slowly starting to change as the company has built the first test body for its midsize crossover in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Volkswagen says the move is a major milestone and an "early step" towards building the production model.  The first test body was made to check the calibration of the plant's body shop equipment and the body will now undergo further testing and development to ensure everything is ready for full production.

The company has been relatively tight-lipped about the crossover but the model was originally previewed by the CrossBlue concept and will compete with other seven-seat crossovers such as the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander.  The crossover's design remains a closely guarded secret but previous spy photos have shown the model will have a sculpted hood, muscular fender flares, and plastic body cladding.  

Engine options remain unconfirmed but the crossover is expected to be powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces approximately 280 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.  The model could also be offered with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The crossover will go into production later this year and is scheduled to arrive in dealerships in 2017.

Source: Volkswagen

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VOLKSWAGEN CHATTANOOGA BUILDS FIRST MIDSIZE SUV TEST BODY

May 4, 2016

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (May 04, 2016) — Volkswagen Chattanooga has reached an early production milestone with the completion of the first assembled metal test body for the upcoming Midsize SUV.

The production of the first assembled metal test body is an early step towards the full production of the Chattanooga-made Midsize SUV, scheduled to begin production late this year and hit the market in 2017. The first test body build is for the purposes of checking the calibration of body shop equipment and processes. The body is then passed on for further testing and development.

This milestone was commemorated with a group photograph that included management and body shop team members who contributed to its production.