Review: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI

Posted on 25. May, 2011 by in Auto News

The Touareg TDI is not your father's Oldsmobile. I know because I drove my father unfortunately 85HP, 1983 Cutlass Cierra diesel when I was a child. Since my father was a glutton for punishment, this was not his first unreliable GM diesel, we also had a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser with the infamous diesel V8. After about 30,000 miles, both our diesel smoked like a 60 year old hooker. Since clean diesel potential buyers in the 30-60 year old demographic fall seems this is still the image that diesel brings many sense, diesel is not reliable, but low-volume Europeans from the 70s and 80s. If sales figures are, however, signs have BMW Mercedes and VW change the tide of public opinion.

VW is trying hard to overcome perceptions of diesel for some time with different tactics. The V10 TDI in the previous Touareg proved that a diesel could quickly and thirsty, can the previous generation diesel Jetta TDI proved terribly slow, but incredibly efficient. The new VW Touareg TDI latest attempt to prove that 90% of Americans with a diesel engine to live every day. At 225hp and 406 lb-ft of twist they might just be onto something. For comparison, the more torque than the 380hp supercharged hybrid Touareg SUV we tested in January and thus is "torquiest" Touareg on these shores. (European buyers are in a position, a 4.2L V8 spec that wins the torque award by a hair.)

The diesel Touareg receives the same high-quality interior of the Touareg Hybrid as we reviewed recently. Dash parts are suitably squishy, are plates with Germanic precision aligned and if it were not for the two-letter logo on the steering wheel, one would think you were in a modern Audi. American buyers are not in a position to buy a Touareg on these shores with VW "Driver Assistance Pack" that contains the euro-zone radar cruise control and a blind spot warning system. This omission appears to contradict the obvious quality interior and pretty hefty price tag.

Speaking of prices, our Touareg TDI came with the $ 9,950 "Executive Package" educating our tester $ 57,500 from the $ 47,950 base sticker of TDI models supported. While this may seem a bit spendy, the 2011 Touareg TDI is widely sold in the pricing of the last oil-burning SUV VW on these shores. One of the ways, VW has reached this price reduction is, by discontenting and bundling options together in packages. The basic model is presented fairly well, as it stands, the $ 3,850 "Lux" package adds 19-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, walnut, brown leather seats with 12-way power driver's seat and electric seat versions. More on the "Executive Package" we tested the buyer receives 20-inch rubber, heated steering wheel, heated seats, keyless entry and go, parking aid and the up-level Dynaudio sound system. All Touareg TDI models regardless of package have the easy-to-use VW RNS 850 navigation system with iPod / USB integration, Bluetooth and Sirius Satellite Radio.

VW latest navigation uses a bright, high-resolution eight-inch color touchscreen display, the easy to read, even in direct sunlight. The latest version of VW's navigation software still touch-driven, in contrast to Mercedes' COMAND system, BMW iDrive and even VAG own brand Audi MMI. The screen layout is logical and easy to follow, the 3D mapping is on par with most systems. I would prefer that such a system can be mounted to a higher on the dashboard, so the user experience (and lowering distraction) while driving. Compared to the latest BMW iDrive but the VW system seems less polished. One of the oddities that turned into a bit of a nuisance during our week, traffic was alert system. It's great that the Touareg telematics system receives traffic information, but unlike most modern systems do not VW chose the card with colored lined overlay the traffic speeds on motorways pass.

The Touareg TDI uses the same engine as its close relative the Audi Q7. First published in 2004, this 3.0-liter 24-valve DOHC engine known in Europe, and found under the hood of vehicles like the Phaeton, Audi A8 and Porsche Cayenne. With luxury brands with this engine refinement is the name of the game. While I was not cold in the winter test, since I began to live in sunny California, the morning temperatures were asleep at 31 degrees during the week of the TDI in my driveway. Unlike diesel We all remember cranked to the TDI as a gasoline engine. On cold mornings I noticed a tiny hint of vibration and chatter when the engine started, but after a few seconds the engine settles down to a purr smoother than I thought, a diesel was capable.

Out on the street, the amazing 225hp and torque are more than adequate to the Touareg on a short freeway onramps. Our own test 0-60 in 6.97 seconds, which pretty close to what they have added other publications, and much faster than their 0-60 VW claims is executed. I can only conclude that VW does not want to show up the base Cayenne, which is on an unaudited 7.1 seconds to 60 with a professional driver and a manual and 7.4 seconds to 60 advertised for slushbox drivers. Although Porsche has underestimated the traffic performance of the Cayenne, these are some impressive numbers for an SUV that tested the scales at 4,974 pounds as. Turbo lag is minimal for a diesel that is to say, it reminds me of driving a 1980 turbo car: the delay is there, but it may be a pleasant companion. Probably the biggest reason the 3.0L V6 is worth living is the new 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. The ZF 8HP45 busy helping nearly ratios keep the engine in its relatively narrow power band (compared with a turbocharged gasoline engine). The resulting feeling seems well suited to the diesel engine, while the same gear in the hybrid let me sometimes wondered what was wrong with the 6-speed.

Off road, the TDI is (as one would expect), an excellent companion with suitable gear ratios and plenty of torque at low speeds for crawling and climbing. The problem of course with the Touareg as a true off-road vehicle sales demographic in the United States: the buyer go-anywhere SUV earlier thought, "anywhere" meant suburban outlet stores instead of the downtown shopping center. This lack of demand and the desire to weight and to keep costs down, all the fun bits in the field are not sold in the United States. Not only decide that VW, the better able to keep 4XMOTION 4WD system with low range, a Euro-only option, but the rel-adjustable suspension remains off-limits for American shoppers. U.S. Buyers also be treated to a rather ridiculous looking collapsible spare wheel. However, the factory ground clearance of 7.9-inch and full-time AWD 4Motion system is more than sufficient. Yourself for a trip on the Rubicon Trail

With the decline of the old Explorer, and the death of all GM GMT360 variants that most mid-range SUVs sold in the United States no longer contain the RWD based drives, allowing the moderate towing capacity of about 7,000 pounds. If you are looking for a vehicle for commuting on weekdays, and towing is your Eddie Bauer Airstream trailer with two horses or ponies at the weekend, making a mid-size diesel SUV much economic sense. The diesel Touareg to tow a segment leading £ 7,700, which is nothing to sniff out. By comparison, the Mercedes ML350 BlueTEC is rated at 7200 pounds and BMW X5 xDrive35d is rated at 6500 pounds.

If American metal is your thing, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango tow twins almost as much (7,400 lbs), but must be equipped to deal with the thirst 5.7L V8. Rounding out the trailer hitch suitable SUVs that are Nissan Pathfinder V8 (7,000 lbs) and Lexus GX460 (6,500 lbs). Our test model was equipped with a class three hitch, but my local VW dealer as friendly enough to lend me a Touareg TDI right for a mountain towing fun equipped. 4000 pounds of bricks in a £ 2,100 supporters proved no problem for the Touareg 406 pounds-ft of torque. Again makes the Touareg to tow it worth living is the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. Anyone who has ever tried to tow a heavy trailer uphill. With an old Dodge Ram with the old Cummins engine and 4-speed transmission knows the pain of finally on the power strip just to the transmission upshifts have and be back to square one

Of course, any mention of the competition is a trailer relatively well, but the Touareg TDI is beneficial economy. While the new Durango is average for the package with EPA numbers of 14/20, the Touareg offers an EPA rating of 19/29, which is a touch higher than the BMW and Mercedes diesel SUV offerings. During our week with the Touareg we. Average in mixed driving 27.7MPG on the first tank, an impressive 30.5MPG on a 160-mile trip, and 16.5MPG while towing two tons of bricks Compared with the base V6 Touareg, this represents an increase of 24% of the observed fuel economy for a $ 3,000 bonus. Here on the left coast, the cost of the premium to your base Touareg fuel averaged $ 4.41 on 4/18/2011 and diesel was $ 4.48 (after the CA Energy Commission), so that the break-even point somewhere around 75,000 miles depending on driving style.

Since our 1050-mile week with the Touareg came to an end, I realized that they only visited the diesel pump once a week for an expensive 22-gallon fill-up eke out 610 miles from the first tank. VW has managed to create what GM failed with the Tahoe Hybrid: A fixed SUV that delivers good mileage with or without a trailer that has a bit of off-road cred tossed in (just in case). That being said, the high cost of diesel and the relative uncertainty of what is undoubtedly still a niche market in America should be a concern for buyers. Nevertheless, when the era of high-fuel prices turns out to be our permanent future VW TDI SUV makes a convincing alternative. If you shop a Touareg, just walk right past that base V6 model on the floor and give the TDI a try.

Volkswagen provided. The test vehicle, insurance and one tank diesel

Performance statistics as tested:

0-30: 2.2 seconds

0-60: 6.97 seconds

Average economy: (observed: 30.5MPG Highway) 27.7MPG