A model that could pose a serious threat to the competition

When Volkswagen debuted the second-generation Tiguan for the 2016 model year, it debuted alongside the Tiguan PHEV GTE Concept – a model that served as a preview for the upcoming Tiguan PHEV. Now, it looks like the production version of the Tiguan PHEV is about to make its debut as it was spotted with zero camo cruising around public streets. As you can see it’s not all that different from the standard Tiguan, but it does have its differences. If the concept is any representation of what we can expect, and it obviously is, the production model should deliver between 210 and 220 horsepower and offer up some 30 miles of all-electric range for those of you with a short commute.

2019 Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV Exterior

2019 Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV/GTE Exterior Spyshots
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Where the standard, entry-level model has an all-black air dam, the PHEV has a pair of chrome louvers

Do you know how to spot an electric or partially electric vehicle? Just look at the front end and find those three louvers across the fake air intakes in the front fascia. They are there on the Golf GTE too. With that in mind, that is, quite literally, the main defining feature of the PHEV. Next to that, you’ll notice it also has the same LED lights around those face corner vents too. They aren’t as big as those on the concept, but they did make it to production. Where the standard, entry-level model has an all-black air dam, the PHEV has a pair of chrome louvers.

Outside of this, the front end is identical to non-plug-in model. It features the same wide headlights with LED running lights down below, the same curved character lines on the hood, and you can’t mistake the big chrome emblem on the radiator grille.

With that in mind, there’s nothing different on the side profile, either. There is a little chrome badge that drifts from the front fender to the front door. The mirrors are bi-colored, and the trim around the windows are chrome too. This prototype was even rolling on official black and chrome rims, so we’re getting a full look here. Around back, it’s more of the same. The chrome trim from the doors wraps around the rear fascia, and the only other real difference is the dual exhaust outlets also done up in chrome.

Overall, it’s not bad considering it’s under the skin that really matters.

2019 Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV Interior

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan High Resolution Interior
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Interior from the standard 2016Volkswagen Tiguan shown here.
Nothing inside the PHEV will differ from the standard model

Knowing Volkswagen, nothing inside the PHEV will differ from the standard model. In this case, that’s not a bad thing, though. When VW updated the Tiguan for 2016, it did a phenomenal job on the inside, giving it a modern makeover in every sense of the word. The dash is light and wide with a small center stack. The infotainment display is quite small, but higher trim levels get an eight-inch infotainment display that completely cuts out all of those physical buttons on the sides. It has a thin center console to provide extra hip room, and the seats actually offer up a decent amount of support for a vehicle this side. The seats and door trim panels can be had in contrasting colors, which really sets things off thanks to the two-tone layout above and below the beltline. The standard model also comes with a semi-digital instrument cluster.

So what will change with the PHEV model? Well, there won’t be much, but there will be some. Expect that eight-inch infotainment display to be standard equipment. It may get a special startup screen to put emphasis on its hybrid nature, but that’ll be it on that front. The only other real difference, aside from a couple of badges, maybe, will be the inclusion of the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as standard equipment. This will feature different software, however, as it will have to cater to the vehicles electric nature. It should display things like battery range, charging state, energy recuperation status, etc. It will also provide information about the various drive modes.

On that note, even though the second-gen Tiguan brought about more space inside – including as much as 58.5 cubic-inches of cargo room with the seats down – the interior of the PHEV may be a bit smaller due to the need to make room for the electric motor and small battery pack. Whether or not that’s true remains to be seen, but you better plan on losing an inch here or there in comparison.

2019 Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV Performance and Range

2019 Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV/GTE Exterior Spyshots
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It wouldn’t be out of the question for VW to improve the technology found in the concept from two years ago so that 12-kWh battery could jump up to 18 or 20 kWh.

There’s no word on what will officially power the Tiguan PHEV, but the concept got motivation from a 1.4-liter gasoline engine that was paired with a battery and electric motor. Total system output was said to reside in the neighborhood of 200 to 215 horsepower. Expect the same kind of power output from the production model, with it delivering no more than 230 horsepower on the high side of things. It will have an electric motor, though, so it could be a torquey little beast, so torque figures could easily reach the 300 pound-foot range.

What will be as equally important is the all-electric range and size of the battery. It wouldn’t be out of the question for VW to improve the technology found in the concept from two years ago so that 12-kWh battery could jump up to 18 or 20 kWh. With the 13-kWh battery offering up 31 miles of range, a slightly larger battery could move that figure into the low 40s. Don’t expect an all-electric speed to exceed 80 mph, though.

Things should be great on the fuel efficiency front. The concept would burn through 1.9-liters per 100 km or attain 124 U.S. mpg. The concept also had a solar roof that would help keep the battery charged, but it’s not as efficient as you might think. According to Volkswagen, the roof on the concept could add “as much as” 621 miles per year. That’s less than two extra miles per day, so it’s nothing really all that significant.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE PHEV Pricing

2019 Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV/GTE Exterior Spyshots
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The Tiguan is currently priced between $24,595 and $37,500. With the current cost of electric drivetrain components, the GTE PHEV will likely be the most expensive version of the Tiguan available. Expect pricing to start around at least $40,000 before options, taxes, and delivery.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE PHEV Competition

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
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The Mitsubishi Outlander sports a fairly sporty look with a sleek LED setup up front to go with some nice chrome garnishing. The side profile and rear end are right within the limitations of looking attractive without going overboard. It is a bit larger than the Tiguan is, however, but as of the time of this writing, there isn’t much else out there in the PHEV segment that fits into the compact SUV\ crossover category. Under the hood, there’s a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that runs on the Atkinson cycle. It’s combined with a pair of electric motors and a 13.8 kWh battery pack. All-electric range is on par with the Tiguan PHEV at around 30 miles while charging takes less than four hours on a 240-volt charger system. The Outlander has a starting price of $34,595 which is cheaper than the expected price of the Tiguan PHEV.

Read our full review on the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV


2019 Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV/GTE Exterior Spyshots
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At this point, there isn’t really much the Tiguan PHEV GTE can really compete with. The compact crossover segment isn’t exactly exploding with PHEVs but give it a couple more years, and the segment will be ripe with pickings. That’s also about the same time that the GTE PHEV will hit the market so it will be interesting to see how it manages to compete in a segment that will experience sudden growth. For what it’s worth, there are a handful of luxury plug-in SUVs on the market, but they sit in a higher price bracket and typically offer better equipment and materials than what will be offered in the Tiguan. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see, but the Tiguan could get an early hold if VW gets it on the market soon enough.

  • Leave it
    • Will likely be the most expensive Tiguan
    • Could experience some serious competition when it hits the market
    • Would like to see more power


2016 Volkswagen Tiguan High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan.

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE.

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