Compared with more carlike competitors, the Touareg's proportions, packaging, and seating position make it feel more like a brawny SUV from five years ago than a modern crossover. That doesn't mean Volkswagen is ignoring buyers' demands for fuel-efficient vehicles, though. In addition to a hearty 280-hp V-6, the company offers two alternatives to the traditional gasoline engine. A turbo-diesel V-6 produces massive torque and a fuel-economy rating of 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. The gas-electric hybrid model isn't nearly as efficient on the highway, at 24 mpg, but it does add a single mpg to the city rating. If the hybrid's fuel economy is a bit underwhelming, its power is anything but. The core engine is a supercharged V-6, and when combined with the electric motor, total output is 360 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. Both the diesel and hybrid powertrains offer all the responsiveness and refinement that Americans have come to expect from gasoline engines, and all three engines--even the hybrid--are rated to tow an impressive 7700 pounds. The engines are backed by a quick and smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and a compliant ride. The problem with the Touareg is that it's priced like a luxury SUV without the luxury badge on the hood. You can easily outfit a Touareg to be as expensive as a BMW X5 or an Audi Q7. If you can get past that, you'll find the Touareg to be a comfortable, smooth SUV with an upscale interior.
Trim levels: Sport, Lux, Executive, Hybrid
Body style: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger
Engines: 3.0L turbo-diesel V-6, 225 hp, 406 lb-ft
3.0L supercharged V-6/electric hybrid, 360 hp, 428 lb-ft3.6L V-6, 280 hp, 266 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 103.6 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 7700 lb; cargo (rear seats
up/down) 32.1/64.0 cu ft
Volkswagen redesigned the Touareg last year, and it is now longer, lower, and 300 pounds lighter. The company also introduced a new hybrid model. For 2012, the only changes pertain to packaging and available features. The VR6 and the TDI Sport models now come with a touch-screen radio and a six-disc CD changer. A navigation system with an eight-inch touch screen, a 60-gigabyte hard drive, and rear parking sensors is available.
ABS; front, side, and side curtain air bags; tire-pressure sensors; and stability and traction control are standard. Optional equipment includes a rearview camera and parking sensors.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 16-20 mpg city/23-28 mpg highway
- Superb diesel powertrain
- Quick, smooth automatic
- Premium interior
You Won't Like
- No third row
- Mediocre hybrid mileage
Old-school sensibilities in a modern SUV.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Traverse
- Ford Explorer
- Honda Pilot
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