Volkswagen restyled the five-seat Touareg for 2008, dubbing the new edition Touareg 2. Don't be fooled — this is hardly the portly SUV's second coming. It's more of a touch-up on the first one, with new front and rear styling and a few extra safety features.
The engines remain essentially the same, with the choice of a 280-horsepower V-6, 350-hp V-8 or 310-hp diesel V-10. All-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic are standard across the line. The Touareg 2 hits dealerships in spring 2007, starting just under $40,000.
Up front, the Touareg 2 gets new scalloped headlights with pronounced bezels. The nose adopts Volkswagen's familiar silver faceplate, which visually connects the grille to the lower air dam. Upscale touches include silver crossbars below the headlights, as well as side mirrors with integrated turn signals. The rear has darker taillights and a new roof spoiler.
Seventeen-inch wheels are standard with the V-6, while the V-8 and diesel V-10 come with 19-inchers. A formidable off-roader, the Touareg 2 boasts enhanced suspension travel and up to 23 inches of water-fording capability with the optional air suspension. Features like Hill Rock Back Assist and Hill Descent Assist aim to make steep slopes more manageable.
Apart from a few equipment shuffles, the interior remains much the same. Volkswagen says the Touareg 2's seats have been redesigned, and a 12-way power driver's seat is now standard. A fully loaded version boasts heated leather seats, four-zone climate control, a navigation system and more.
Under the Hood
A 280-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 powers base Touareg 2s. A 350-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 is optional, as is a 310-hp, 5.0-liter turbo-diesel V-10. All models have a standard six-speed automatic and full-time all-wheel drive. Maximum towing capacity across the line is 7,716 pounds.
New safety features include rollover sensors for the side curtain airbags, an automatic brake-drying feature for rainy weather and an enhanced electronic stability system with brake assist. On loose surfaces like gravel and snow, VW says the antilock brakes can decrease stopping distances by as much as 20 percent by intentionally locking up to push debris in front of the wheels.