Thanks to a new eight-speed automatic and some 450 pounds' less weight, Volkswagen's second-generation Touareg looks to be significantly more fuel efficient than its predecessor. Positioned atop the VW lineup, the five-seat Touareg competes with luxury crossovers such as the Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Lincoln MKX.
The Touareg comes with a choice of three V-6 engines: a traditional gasoline V-6, a turbocharged diesel V-6 and a V-6 gas-electric hybrid drivetrain. This makes the Touareg the Volkswagen brand's first hybrid.
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It's clear that Volkswagen's latest face — seen also on the Golf and GTI — is spreading lineup-wide. Unlike its Tiguan sibling, the Touareg has a clean separation between its grille and front air dam, with Audi-like LEDs in the headlights and taillights. Chrome lower accents run the length of the doors, while the rear bumper carries shapely tailpipes and a black lower garnish.
VW laid out the Touareg's cabin fairly conventionally. Climate controls fall below a large center display screen, and the steering wheel adopts the same controls as the Golf's and GTI's. A 6.5-inch touch-screen display with stereo readouts is standard. The rear seat reclines a few degrees and slides forward and backward 6.3 inches.
Thanks to some 5 inches' extra length, the Touareg's backseat is significantly roomier. The rear seats now fold in one motion — far better than the outgoing Touareg's seats, which required a number of steps to fold down.
Under the Hood
Engines include a 280-horsepower gasoline V-6 and 225-hp turbodiesel V-6; both use an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard. Hardcore off-roaders should note that the Touareg gave up some of its heavy-duty equipment, such as a low-speed transfer case, in the name of weight savings. The previous generation's self-leveling air suspension won't be offered, either.
The Touareg Hybrid combines a 3.0-liter V-6 with an electric motor for a combined 375 hp and 428 pounds-feet of torque. It can stay in electric mode for speeds up to 31 mph, and EPA combined mileage ratings are in the low 20s. Towing capacity is 7,700 pounds — far exceeding what the hybrid Lexus RX 450h or Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid can accommodate.
Rather than the electrically variable transmissions many hybrids employ, the Touareg Hybrid has a specialized version of the Touareg's eight-speed auto. The hybrid battery pack resides under the cargo load floor, so it doesn't compromise luggage room. That space would ordinarily go toward a spare tire; in lieu of one, the Touareg Hybrid has run-flat tires with a small repair kit. Back to top
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