Johannesburg - Research, regardless of its area – always tries to identify solutions that point to the future. Such as Volkswagen's Cross Coupe SUV and its 2.7 litres/100km fuel consumption.Now a fresh version of the vehicle is at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show which, though not a production model yet, could arrive in South Africa eventually as the next Tiguan.That plug-in hybrid had two electric motors and a turbopetrol direct-injection (TSI) engine. The new one is even more fuel-efficient with its turbodiesel direct-injection engine (TDI) and two electric motors.'MODULAR MATRIX'Its combined fuel consumption is only 1.8/100! Yet its top speed is 220km/h from 225kW of (system) power and with a kerb weight of 1858kg.It’s based a ‘modular transverse matrix’ from VW; this has design parameters standardised across model series and brands – such as the distance between the accelerator pedal and the front wheel axis and the mountings for all engines.Variable by model/brand are wheelbase, track and wheel sizes. In the new Cross Coupé, MQB elements for a future generation of SUV’s are the front and rear suspensions, 140kW EA288 engine series and a six-speed DSG.The also use electrical components "made by Volkswagen": lithium-ion battery in the centre tunnel, front and rear electric motors (40kW and 85kW respectively).120 IN BATTERY MODEThe drive tech offers extreme dynamic performance: the new Cross Coupé hits 100km in 6.5sec and its diesel engine can make 400Nm from 1600rpm; the e-motors make 180 and 270. During boosting – using both motors and the engine – the drive system supplies 700Nm, right there today's high-performance sports cars, yet the vehicle consumes less fuel than any small car.In pure electric mode – when speed is limited to 120km/h – the concept car can cover a distance of up to 45km, enough for most people’s commute. One or both motors can be invoked, depending on driving style – City or Sport.As soon as the TDI is needed because of depleted batteries it engages smoothly for drive and, if requested, to recharge the batteries. The battery and total range available is calculated and displayed by the car.There are five driving modes: CITY (eco mode with minimal fuel consumption)SPORT (high dynamic performance)OFF-ROAD (continuous all-wheel drive)E-mode (pure electric driving) as EV-CITY or EV-SPORTCHARGE (via the TDI).The car can also “sail”, provided the batteries are full-charged – that means engine and electric motors disengage if the driver lifts off the accelerator (it used to be called free-wheeling, but WTH - Ed). If the batteries are not “full” the motors become generators to top them up. If all the car’s fuel/battery reserves are used the Cross Coupe could cover more than 1200km. Two TDI engines are available - 1.6 (66kW) and two-litre (140kW).At 4.36m, the Cross Coupé is longer than Golf and shorter than Tiguan. Its 1.87 width and 1.52m height are between the two. Important for off-road are its approach and departure angles: 24.2 and 32.5 degrees (rated ‘excellent’.PROGRAMMABLE INSTRUMENTSVolkswagen said: “Overall the designers also gave the vehicle muscular, athletic and yet very clean lines. In keeping with the powerful appearance of the Cross Coupé, it is equipped with 20” alloys and 265/45 tyres.”Arranged behind the three-spoked steering-wheel is a user-programmable instrument cluster display. The functionally different display mode’s contents are activated based on driving mode selection – a gyrometer, compass and topographic map are shown in OFFROAD mode, for example.Each has a unique layout and colours; there’s even a 3D off-road display.The Cross Coupé has four individual seats, each designed as a shell with a permanent head-restraint. The rear backrests and front passenger seat can be folded to take surfboards or other bulky equipment over their rugged plastic shells. Keep up with the Johannesburg International Motor Show with Wheels24.