May 22, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Thursday, 10 March 2011 11:17
It has never been easy to understand the thought processes of Volkswagen management. In recent months, the admirable midsize Jetta has been promoted extensively on the basis of an under-$15,000 base price. But the brand’s gasoline-electric hybrid SUV, presumably intended for “green” types with an eye to saving fuel and the planet, comes with a supercharged, 380-horsepower V-6 engine, gets only 24 mpg on premium fuel on the highway and costs a jaw-dropping $60,565.But give VW time. For example, the first diesel engine to be bolted into a Touareg was a monster V-10 that delivered only 20 mpg on the highway. Now you can buy a V-6 turbodiesel Touareg that gets 28 mpg. So maybe the hybrid system eventually will work its way down to the Touareg’s less endowed models and nudge fuel economy into the 30s, where it belongs.
Our test car was a 2011 Touareg Supercharged Hybrid, rendered in Night Blue Metallic with a Black Anthracite interior. Fuel economy during our week with the Touareg in Western Connecticut never crept much above 22 mpg. But the car’s performance was spectacular, and not just the straight-ahead rush you’d expect from 380 horses. The Touareg, exhibiting Porsche influence at every turn, handles crisply and predictably. And the hybrid system, if not quite seamless, is for the most part barely noticeable.
Indeed, the Touareg is the whole SUV package — smooth, quiet, yet rugged when it needs to be — and nice looking, too.
The Touareg underwent a redesign for 2011. It’s roomier, yet only a little heavier than the Touareg 2 V-6 we drove in 2008, despite carrying the hybrid system’s extra pounds. The weight results not from flimsy construction but the elimination of the heavy dual-range transfer case as standard equipment.
Everybody who drove the Touareg thoroughly enjoyed it. The car has style, performance and refinement in abundance.
At above $60,000, competing with Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Land Rover, Volvo, Lincoln, Infiniti and Cadillac, the Touareg needs to be well equipped, and it is. Among the major standard features are navigation system, rear-view camera, heated seats front and rear, panoramic sunroof and power liftgate.
The Touareg comes in three flavors, with variations in each category: the FSI V-6, the V-6 TDI Clean Diesel, which costs another $3,500; and the hybrid. Gone are the gasoline V-8 and diesel V-10, at least in models sold in the United States.
An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, the Touareg has done poorly overall in Consumer Reports magazine reader surveys measuring reliability. Engines and transmissions have been much more reliable than average, however.
For those who love Volkswagens and feel they need an SUV, but find the Touareg too beefy, pricey and thirsty, VW offers the Tiguan. It’s a compact SUV that starts at $23,720 and gets 25 to 26 mpg. (We haven’t test-driven one yet.)
Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged gasoline-electric hybrid V-6, 380 horsepower, 428 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic shiftable automatic
Weight: 5,135 lb.
Suspension: Four-wheel independent, double wishbone front, multi-link rear
Wheels: 19-inch inch alloy
Tires: 265/50R19 all-season
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 32.1 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 70.9 cu. ft.
Towing capacity: 7.700 lb.
Fuel capacity: 26.4 gallons
Fuel economy: 20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway
|< Prev||Next >|
The requested URL /components/com_soyd/tent.php was not found on this server.