New Volkswagen Tiguan Plug-in Hybrid Debuts as Concept in Detroit
By Christian Wardlaw, January 11, 2016
Hidden within the details about the Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept, shown for the first time at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, are key attributes of the redesigned 2017 Tiguan.
For example, the new Tiguan will offer 5- or 7-passenger seating, be available with LED headlights, and will offer several new infotainment and safety technologies. Perhaps more important, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept showcases Volkswagen’s plug-in electric hybrid technology, which is likely to be offered in this new compact crossover SUV.
Three primary driving modes are available: Hybrid, GTE, and E-Mode. In Hybrid and E-Mode settings, the vehicle is rear-wheel drive until the wheels slip or the driver engages certain 4Motion Active Control selections. Six driving programs are available with 4Motion Active Control: On Road, Off Road, Sport, Snow, Charge, and Battery Hold.
Volkswagen says that E-Mode is the default drive setting each time the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is started and driven. Pushing the E-Mode button on the center console turns this setting to “Off,” and the Tiguan operates in Hybrid mode using both the gasoline engine and the electric motors.
When the driver chooses the GTE setting the vehicle operates in full-time all-wheel-drive mode and software adjusts the engine, transmission, and steering for improved response and a more engaging driving character. In GTE mode, the full 221 combined horsepower is available, and it takes the Tiguan 6.4 seconds to get to 60 mph, according to Volkswagen. Top speed is reportedly 120 mph.
Two additional drivetrain modes include Coasting and Regenerative Braking. If the battery is fully charged, the Coasting mode decouples the drivetrain components and shuts off the gasoline engine when the vehicle is coasting, helping to conserve speed and energy at the same time. If the battery is not fully charged, the Regenerative Braking mode shuts off the gasoline engine but keeps the electric motors connected, feeding kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost into the battery in order to recharge it.
Beyond the plug-in electric drivetrain, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept demonstrates how the new crossover SUV could be outfitted to tackle more than a well-worn path to the family. Featuring what Volkswagen calls “an authentic off-road look,” the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is equipped with off-road tires mounted to 16-in. aluminum wheels, a modified suspension with ground clearance increased from 7.1 in. to 8.9 in., and changes to improve approach, breakover, and departure angles. Matte aluminum front and rear skid plates, bumpers trimmed in a polymer material for increased durability, metal front and rear tow hooks, and protective sill and wheel arch trim complete the functional elements of the design.
Showcasing Volkswagen’s next-generation infotainment technology, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept has a 9.2-in. touch-screen display with gesture recognition and three types of connected smartphone or device projection systems: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Mirror Link. Volkswagen indicates that this setup will serve as the top choice among infotainment systems in future products.
Additionally, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept features the latest Volkswagen safety systems, including forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, an active hood design to reduce pedestrian injury, lane-departure warning system, and automatic post-collision braking.