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The Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept with petrol plug-in hybrid architecture makes its world premiere this week in Detroit.

The rugged-looking GTE Active Concept follows on from the world premiere of the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan — replete with a GTE plug-in derivation — at the Frankfurt motor show last September. It joins the existing Passat GTE and Golf GTE

One might suggest the appearance of the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is an attempt on Volkswagen’s part to re-iterate its fuel efficiency drive that doesn’t rely on diesel. The company’s US sales have been hit by the ‘dieselgate’ saga.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE 4

The Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept spinoff pairs a 110kW 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors (40kW at the front and 85kW at the rear) and 12.4kWh of battery cells. The front motor is situated inside the same casing as the six-speed DSG transmission.

Total maximum system output is 165kW. The fully electric driving range is 32km, meaning it’s a pure EV for daily commuting — the EV system only works without assistance from the internal combustion engine below about 110km/h.

Unlike a regular Tiguan, the GTE Active Concept’s engine torque is sent by default to the rear wheels, and to the front only when there’s a traction loss. The car also always starts up in EV mode.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE7

It works like this: If the battery is sufficiently charged, the rear electric motor powers the car by itself, while the TSI engine and the front electric motor are decoupled from the drivetrain and shut off to save energy.

But as soon as the driving situation demands it (eg. the roads get slippery) or the driver manually activates a related mode, the front electric motor is engaged. Therefore the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is a zero-emissions AWD.

Finally, and depending on what mode the car is in, the driving speed, and the state of the on-board batteries, the 1.4 engine can either provide additional torque to the front wheels directly, or (it appears) can instead assist in turning the front motor into a generator for the rear unit.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE 2

Inside the cabin, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept sports a redesigned infotainment system that follows on from the company’s impressive array shown at CES last week.

This includes a 9.2-inch touchscreen with gesture control and a high-end glass surface. There are also fully digital instruments and a head-up display.

Externally, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept looks the business, with its rugged BF Goodrich off-road tyres, roof rails and unique bumpers.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE6


The Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept is just that — a concept. But we’ve asked the company if the PHEV Tiguan could come here in time.

As we know, the regular version of the new, second-generation Tiguan arrives around October and is expected to double in sales.