VW's latest plug-in hybrid is built for off-roading

The Tiguan GTE Active Concept is a green machine that can tackle sand dunes.

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VW's latest plug-in hybrid is built for off-roading

Most plug-in hybrid vehicles are better-suited to the streets than mud and rocks, but Volkswagen thinks it can make an exception. Its just-unveiled Tiguan GTE Active Concept mates a 148HP gas engine with two electric motors to provide an environmentally responsible off-roader. It can drive 20 miles solely on electric power, even in rough conditions, but has that conventional engine to provide extra grunt and range (580 miles total) for long expeditions.

It won't surprise you to hear that this experiment has some clever cabin tech. This Tiguan is supposedly the first SUV in its class to have gesture control (good for grimy hands), and the 9.2-inch touchscreen is large enough to handle multiple tasks at once. VW isn't saying whether or not the GTE Active Concept will ever reach mass production, but the core Tiguan it's based on reaches the US in 2017. There's certainly an incentive to consider the idea -- when the automaker is facing lawsuits and recalls over dodgy emissions, it needs every environmentally-friendly vehicle it can get.

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