2012 Volkswagen Tiguan - dead-on front view

At a small media roundtable session with journalists at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen's head of global design, confirmed that VW's much-rumored three-row utility vehicle will be "most hopefully" revealed at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.

The vehicle is expected to be at once larger and less expensive than the Touareg range, something more akin to a longer Tiguan (shown above) than an off-road juggernaut. That said, Bischoff was quite clear that VW considers the unnamed model to be an SUV, not a crossover. If you're envisioning a body-on-frame vehicle with a low-range, think again. When Bischoff was questioned about what constitutes an SUV versus a CUV, he pointed to design elements like the positioning of the A-pillar, not the hardware underneath. According to Bischoff, the three-row's off-road capability will be "not as strong as the Touareg, but more than good enough to compete... It's an SUV in the European way – in the Volkswagen way."

As far as an MPV for North America goes, Bischoff says that a replacement for the aging Routan minivan is "not on the to-do list," noting that VW will end its relationship with Chrysler, which manufacturers the Routan. Word of no future MPV would also appear to corroborate reports that the retro-minded Bulli concept van of 2011 also has no production future.