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This Tiguan GTE is VW's knobbly tyred, 222bhp hybrid SUV

Volkswagen reveals its Detroit show concept, and helpfully it can run emission free

Volkswagen has launched a car at the Detroit motor show. And to help silence any placard-waving critics, it’s a plug-in hybrid with petrol and electric power.

Meet the Tiguan GTE Active Concept. Like the Passat and Golf GTE production cars, it marries a 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine with two electric motors. Here, though, it yields a higher total output of 222bhp, which is roughly the same as a Golf GTI.

Naturally it’s four-wheel drive, with an electric motor at each axle. Start the Tiguan up fully charged and it will operate as a rear-drive electric car. Put excitable thoughts of zero-emissions skids aside, though, as when traction is lost, the front motor kicks in to supplement it.

It’ll manage 20 miles without petrol power, with a top speed of 70mph in electric-only mode. When battery power runs low (or the driver notches the Tiguan into hybrid mode), that rises to 120mph, supplemented by a hot hatch-like 6.4sec 0-60mph time.

Predictably, there’s lots of clever tech to keep petrol consumption low and battery efficiency high, with regenerative braking and coasting among the drivetrain’s functions. Its total range is 580 miles.

It differs from VW’s previous Tiguan GTE concept with its off-road intentions. As well as knobbly tyres and copious underbody protection, the GTE Active Concept comes with a plethora of driving modes to ensure the ‘Active’ part of its name isn’t just some marketing waffle. Cue driving modes suited to tarmac, rocks, sludge, snow, sand and gravel. Not all of these will be necessary on the King’s Road.

The ground clearance is also up 45mm (to 225mm), while its approach and departure angles are improved too. It’s a hint at a proper off-roading pack for the standard Tiguan. We hope the roof-mounted LED spotlights also form part of this…

It also demonstrates VW’s new gesture control infotainment system. Ever the fan of an initialism, it’s called MIB (modular infotainment platform, not Men in Black) and it comes with a large 9.2-inch screen. Its displays are customisable, and can mirror your phone with tech such as Mirror Link, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Note the Audi Virtual Cockpit-style instrument display, too.

It all fits rather neatly with VW’s vow to invest in plug-in hybrid cars based on its modular MQB platform (as the latest Tiguan is) and cleverer connectivity systems. And we think the car itself is rather neat. Agree?

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