With the 2016 Frankfurt Motor Show currently underway, Volkswagen has released new details regarding the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan while also showcasing the higher tier GTE trim.
The revised SUV would be the first non car product built on the company’s MQB platform an incredibly flexible architecture that has already proven to be a nifty piece of engineering in the Golf and GTI hatchbacks and is expected to eventually be incorporated into other VW and Audi products.
The exterior styling seen here is for the European market, but look for the U.S. bound Tiguan to retain much of its Cross Coupe concept inspired styling as well as the availability of an optional CC (Cross Coupe) model. The styling itself does look a bit bland from certain angles, but it still retains a subtle hints of handsomeness especially at the rear of the Tiguan.
The interior of the Tiguan also showcases Volkswagen’s attempts to rectify it’s biggest weakness its relatively small size. While it’s compact oriented design was loved in Europe, it proved to be a big handicap on U.S. soil where it’s predecessor was outclassed by many rivals in its segment. This forced the Tiguan to compete with smaller SUVs that were often lighter and had a lower price point. For 2017, Volkswagen aims to end this trend by offering two different seating configurations for the first time ever. Buyers can choose from either two or three row variants that will allow the Tiguan to be more of a contender in its segment especially in passenger space. It is currently unknown if Volkswagen will take a page out of Hyundai’s playbook and market both the standard model and the CC under one model name (similar to the Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport.)
Speaking of passenger room, it has grown substantially thanks to the extra 2.4 inches on length that the MQB platform provides as well as its 1.3 inches of extra width. These changes along with an extra 3 inches on the wheelbase help increase cargo capacity by 2 cubic feet, and also helps improve headroom and legroom especially in the rear a key weak spot in the last generation Tiguan.
Performance hardware for the 2017 Tiguan will depend on what market it is being sold in. But look for the U.S. version to feature a 1.8 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that will see duty in base models as well as an optional 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder for higher trims. A seven speed DSG gearbox will most likely be the only transmission choice avalible with front wheel drive standard. Buyers in snowy locales can opt for the avalible all-wheel drive system that allows the Tiguan to stay sure-footed even in the toughest of weather conditions.
In addition to the standard Tiguan, Volkswagen also showcased an eco-friendly concept of the Tiguan that will share the stage alongside the production version in Frankfurt.
Known formally as the Tiguan GTE Concept, Volkswagen undertook a multi pronged effort when it came to constructing this concept versus what has been seen with past plug-in hybrid models. All the usual suspects are present and accounted for ( a 150 horsepower gasoline engine, a 13 kWh battery pack, and an electric motor,) But Volkswagen has raised the bar a few notches by going the extra mile when it comes to recharging the vehicle thanks to a roof mounted solar panel that helps boost the conventional AC charging system.
While this is not the first time that solar panels have been seen on hybrid vehicles, Volkswagen’s application allows drivers to complete roughly a mile or so of commuting without plugging the GTE into the wall, or using a single gallon of gasoline. Of course, drivers will have to avoid using any accessories to maximize range but a Volkswagen representative revealed the full potential of this setup stating
“Under ideal conditions, the energy that it generates annually is sufficient to add up to 1,000 km of driving range (Germany 500 km, Southern Europe 800 to 1,000 km) depending on the regional solar radiation power.” When converted to imperial measurements, this translates to 320 miles on the low end, and 620 miles when pushed to maximum range.
When it is not being used for maximum MPG’s, the GTE can also transform into a potent performance CUV thanks to all the electrical components being designed to moonlight as performance enhancers. This occurs when the driver selects GTE mode, and allows this unique Tiguan to use all the system power for maximum acceleration. As a result, Volkswagen claims that the GTE concept is capable of hitting 62 mph in 8.1 seconds which is quite commendable for a hybrid SUV.
It is unknown if this latest iteration of the hybrid power train will ever make it into production, but looking back on the lukewarm reception that greeted the now discontinued Touareg Hybrid. It is possible that this model would meet the same fate, and prove to be unfavorable to U.S. buyers. However, there is a slim chance that it could make an appearance as a Europe only offering thanks in part to that market’s higher gas prices.