Volkswagen wants to take plug-in power to new extremes. For those who think battery vehicles, are slow and boring, the VW Tiguan GTE Active Concept might get you to change your mind.
The maker is billing the Tiguan concept, making its North American International Auto Show debut, as an “extreme off-road version” of the current VW SUV. It just happens to use a plug-in hybrid driveline that can get up to 20 miles in zero-emissions electric mode when you’re back on pavement.
With VW committed to offering battery-based drivelines on virtually every vehicle in its line-up in the next few years, there’s a more than passing chance that the Tiguan GTE Active Concept will directly influence a production version of the SUV.
The five-seater’s gesture control technology – something VW is showing off on several other new concept models – is also bound to reach showrooms in the near future.
The five-seat GTE Active Concept is based on the next-generation Tiguan SUV, set to arrive in the U.S. in 2017, and features an all-new platform. It will be the first Volkswagen ute to be based on the same Modular Transverse Matrix, or MQB, architecture first used for the current Golf line.
Under the skin, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept pairs a turbocharged and direct-injected gasoline engine with two electric motors that create a through-the-road all-wheel-drive system. (VW prefers to call it an “electric driveshaft.) The front motor turns out 54 horsepower, the rear 114. The total system can deliver up to 221 hp to all four wheels through a six-speed dual clutch transmission.
The concept ute draws power from a 12.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery back that can power it for p to 20 miles, and at speeds of up to 70 mph when in battery mode. Total range with its 16.9-gallon fuel tank, VW claims, is 580 miles.
(VW sales drop below 10 Mil in wake of scandal. For more, Click Here.)
In hybrid mode, the Tiguan concept can hit 60 in 6.4 seconds, with a top speed of 120 mph.
With its Dragon Red Metallic paint, the concept vehicle looks much like a conventional VW Tiguan, but for extreme off-roading, its ground clearance has been increased from 7.9 to 9.6 inches, with more aggressive approach and departure angles. There’s also a new front skid plate and other details designed to handle the abuse of navigating a tough trail.
The Concept comes with special hooks to handle towing. And there are special, high-strength cross-rails on the roof. The Tiguan also gets roof-mounted LED auxiliary spotlights.
(VW may buy back more than 100,000 cars in wake of diesel emissions scandal. Click Here for more.)
Inside, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept features distinctive brushed, dark aluminum strips around the door trim and instrument panel, and dark chrome accents on the steering wheel.
The next-gen infotainment system, meanwhile, is anchored by a 9.2-inch high-resolution touchscreen that incorporates gesture control functionality. A simple move of the hand can be used to operate a number of functions. VW showed a similar gesture system on the eGolf Touch and BUDD-e minivan concepts at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Production versions are expected to follow in some of its models this year.
(VW brand boss Diess says he’s focused on fixing diesel problem, not the costs of doing so. For more, Click Here.)
As for the GTE Active Concept’s drivetrain, VW is clearly moving to fill its line-up with hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles. In part, that will help it find a green alternative to its troubled diesel technology. While this show car might not make it beyond the concept stage, don’t be surprised to see the Tiguan offered with some sort of battery power in the next few years.