VW Tiguan eHybrid: new plug-in hybrid SUV available

2020 VW Tiguan gains plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option that can travel up to 31 miles on electric power alone at up to 81mph

Christofer Lloyd
Jul 7, 2020

Volkswagen has overhauled the popular Tiguan SUV - currently its best-selling car worldwide - for 2020, wih the addition of a new plug-in hybrid model, plus a Tiguan R high-performance version. The plug-in hybrid version should appeal to those who do lots of town driving and can regularly charge the car to get the best fuel economy - but who often need to complete long journeys that may be beyond the range of a conventional electric car.

The new Tiguan eHybrid is capable of up to 31 miles of electric range on a full charge and can be driven in electric mode at up to 81mph. Run out of charge, however, and the car resorts to petrol power, while still having to lug around the weight of batteries and an electric motor. That means that it is unlikely to suit those who think they might not bother to charge the car regularly, as you'd have the expense of the battery with little economy benefit.

If you think you might fall into that category, though, fear not. Electric SUVs like the Kia e-Niro offer a much greater electric range so you don't have to worry about charging so regularly but still get to benefit from zero-emission driving. Better still, as the e-Niro has been around for a year or two there are some great value nearly-new and used models available, making it a much more affordable prospect than a new plug-in hybrid Tiguan.

Prices are yet to be announced for the 2020 Tiguan, but we'd imagine that the plug-in hybrid is likely to be nearly £40,000 when it goes on sale. Conventional petrol and diesel versions, meanwhile, are likely to be on sale from nearer £25,000 upwards.

2020 VW Tiguan: 'eHybrid' plug-in hybrid

VW's latest plug-in hybrid, the Tiguan eHybrid produces 245hp courtesy of its petrol engine and electric motor combination. This makes the Tiguan eHybrid more powerful than the VW Passat GTE plug-in hybrid, which produces 218hp.

Claimed electric range stands at 31 miles, with the car able to travel at up to 81mph on electric power alone. According to VW, the Tiguan eHybrid has been engineered to use electric power wherever possible, though unlike a conventional hybrid - which has a battery pack that is small enough to recharge when braking alone - this plug-in hybrid must be plugged in regularly to make the most of battery power.

VW states that the car should be able to complete typical drivers' everyday trips on electric power alone - provided they charge the car regularly - with the car defaulting to running on electricity whenever there's sufficient charge.

The Tiguan eHybrid includes several drive modes including a mode that can store charge in the batteries to enable drivers to complete urban portions of their trip on electric power alone. This may become more important in future as cities may demand that only electrically powered cars - whether fully electric or plug-in hybrids operating on electricity alone - are permitted to drive in certain zones and/or at specific times.

In Hybrid mode the car automatically juggles petrol and electric power, responding to the driver's accelerator inputs, to maximise economy while providing strong acceleration when needed. GTE mode, meanwhile, prioritises performance, with the petrol engine and electric motor working in tandem for sportier driving.

Plug-in hybrids make less sense for long trips

Fail to charge a plug-in hybrid and it is likely to prove no more economical than an ordinary - and cheaper - hybrid, as it has to carry the extra weight of a larger battery pack with little extra assistance from the depleted batteries.

This means that those considering a plug-in hybrid for its ability to travel on electric power alone around town would be better off choosing a pure electric car, which could easily complete urban trips on electric power alone, while needing less regular charging than a plug-in hybrid with a small battery.

Meanwhile, those who regularly travel very long distances and are concerned about being able to complete these on one charge with an electric car may want to compare the costs and likely fuel economy of a plug-in hybrid car with petrol, diesel and electric alternatives. While a plug-in hybrids are at their most efficient around town - like conventional electric cars - they are much less economical on the motorway.

The Kia e-Niro electric SUV, as an example, is already capable of travelling up to 282 miles per charge - with used models available now from £30,757 or £532 per month.


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