USA TODAY US Edition
Volkswagen reveals redone Tiguan SUV
Redesign likely to hit European showrooms in April
Volkswagen revealed a redesigned Tiguan crossover at the Frankfurt Motor Show, part of its bid to solidify its newfound status as the world’s largest automaker and give a jolt to its portfolio in the U.S.
The second-generation Tiguan is making its debut at Germany’s Frankfurt auto show, one of the biggest and most influential in the world. It is expected to hit European showrooms in April and arrive in showrooms in the U.S. and China in fall 2016.
Engineers said they’ve improved the crossover’s fuel economy by 24% while boosting cargo capacity by 11%.
The German automaker also revealed a plug-in hybrid concept version of the crossover, dubbed the Tiguan GTE, with a solar roof.
The conventional-engine Tiguan is part of what Volkswagen described as “an SUV product offensive” — with an emphasis on the U.S., China and Europe.
The company recently became the world’s largest automaker for the first six months of the year, edging out Toyota.
But to maintain that position, it must bolster its lineup of crossovers — best described as a blend of cars and SUVs — a segment in which the company has had shortcomings in the U.S. The Tiguan hadn’t gotten a total overhaul since 2007.
Europe is getting a Tiguan with a shorter wheelbase than the vehicle that will be delivered to consumers in the U.S. and China, where consumers prefer longer vehicles. It’s the first vehicle to be based on an all-new internally developed global chassis.
The aerodynamically improved vehicle is 1.3 inches lower, 1.2 inches wider and 2.4 inches longer than its predecessor. And it’s equipped with safety features such as a system that raises the hood in an accident if a person crashes into it, reducing the chances that the person’s body will endure a hard impact from the engine.
The company showed off several versions of the vehicle in Frankfurt, including the sporty R-Line, Trendline, Comfortline and Highline, most available with off-road packages. Designers gave the Tiguan dual LED headlights.
But the Volkswagen reveal that draws the most attention in Frankfurt could be the Tiguan GTE plug-in hybrid concept with a solar roof.
The plug-in uses a 13-kilowatthour lithium-ion battery that enables 31 miles of electric driving before a gasoline engine kicks in. The solar roof could generate as much as 621 miles of electric driving range over the course of a year in ideal conditions.