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Detroit show: VW Tiguan concept goes off-road

Activated: Volkswagen's Tiguan GTE Active Concept has more off-road ability than the first GTE version and can drive from Melbourne to Sydney without filling up.

GTE Active Concept brings all-terrain kit to Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV showcar


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11 Jan 2016

VOLKSWAGEN is offering another glimpse at its small-SUV future at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, with a more off-road focused version of its Tiguan GTE plug-in hybrid concept that was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show last year.

Dubbed the GTE Active Concept, the latest iteration has the same twin-motor petrol-electric powertrain of the Frankfurt show-car, but adds a toughened go-anywhere look and some extra four-wheel driving touches.

Its all-paw drivetrain has gained 5kW over the previous version for a total of 165kW when both motors and the petrol engine are working in unison, with a majority of torque sent to the back wheels until extra traction is required.

If necessary, the driver can select a pure electric mode which relies only on the 12.4 kWh battery for up to 32km of zero-emissions motoring, or when under hybrid power the GTE Active concept can travel about 1000km.

The GTE Active Concept is based on the forthcoming second-generation Tiguan and uses the highly adaptable MQB platform which underpins many Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda models, which is said to give the show-car “confident off-road performance even in all-electric mode”.

Provided the battery has sufficient charge, the Active Concept always starts in pure electric mode to minimise emissions, but will call on petrol power once up and running.

Inside, the GTE has the latest in VW information and entertainment systems with a 9.2-inch touchscreen as the centrepiece, as well as its interpretation of gesture control – an emerging technology among several manufacturers.

Knobbly tyres, protective body trims, roof-mounted driving lamps and roof racks allow the concept to feel more at home off the beaten trail, while lending a tougher, more capable look.

The concept also features crescent-shaped foglights that appeared on the company's Budd-e electric people-mover, which made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. The styling signature is likely to appear on future concepts and may filter down to production cars.

The German car-maker has not hinted at a production version of the Tiguan GTE but with a company-wide focus on more electrified models, it is possible a version could appear in showrooms in the future.

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