Old-school sensibilities in a modern SUV.
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, VW offers two alternatives to the traditional gasoline engine. A turbo-diesel V-6 produces massive torque and respectable fuel-economy ratings of 19/28 mpg city/highway. At 24 mpg, the gas-electric hybrid isn’t nearly as efficient on the highway, but it adds 1 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. The diesel and hybrid powertrains offer the responsiveness and refinement 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, smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and a compliant ride. The Touareg is priced like a luxury SUV without the luxury badge on the hood. If you can get past that, you’ll find the Touareg to be a comfortable, competent SUV with an upscale interior.
new for 2013
For 2013, the diesel model receives a power hike from 225 hp to 240 hp. There are new eighteen-inch wheels for V-6 and diesel models, and the Hybrid comes with vavona wood interior trim and LED taillights.
ABS; front, side, and side curtain air bags; tire-pressure monitors; and stability and traction control are standard. Optional equipment includes a rearview camera and parking sensors.
Superb diesel powertrain
Quick, smooth automatic
No third row
Mediocre hybrid mileage
Base Price Range: $44,300–$62,930
TRIM LEVELS: Sport, Lux, Executive, Hybrid
BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger
ENGINES: 3.0L turbo-diesel V-6, 240 hp, 406 lb-ft
3.0L supercharged V-6/electric hybrid, 360 hp, 428 lb-ft
3.6L 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