• Jul 13, 2009
2011 Volkswagen Touareg - Click above for a high-res gallery of spy shots

The Volkswagen Touareg (and its Porsche counterpart) are getting long in the tooth, and come 2011, both models are due for a full redesign expected to include a thorough makeover and a diet.

Caught testing in the California desert, the next generation Touareg gets a few new curves, primarily on the undisguised center section and flared rear shoulders – very similar to spy shots of the reworked Cayenne.

Early reports indicate that VW aims to address the two of the main complaints of the current model: limited seating and a bloated curb weight. As such, VW could reduce the overall tonnage of the Touareg by around 300 pounds (although the initial target was 600 pounds) by making all-wheel drive an option on certain drive train configurations. V-Dub is also considering adding a third row, although don't expect the cramped confines to get any more cushy in the process.

In addition to the 3.6-liter V6 and 4.2-liter V8, VW will be adding the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (currently used on the Audi S4 and A6) in a hybrid configuration to the mix, along with a 3.0-liter V6 TDI. Neither the V10 diesel or the W12 will carryover, but considering the current economic climate, no surprise there. Expect the all-new Touareg to debut sometime early next year with sales beginning in the second half of 2010.




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  • 16 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really like the look of the Tiguan, but the Touareg just looks bloated and puffed up everywhere, so I really want to see a major exterior redesign as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i think VW needs to take out at least 1,000 lbs from these behemoths. they're surprisingly good looking for their size though-porsche's cayenne is so ugly in comparison. vw worked out all the visual details well, they're just so damn heavy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      weird, it looks like they gave a touareg liposuction.

      .... which is what it needs!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd expect that the VR6, 4.2 V8, V10, and W12 to be dropped.

      With the 8 speed automatic, and weight reduction, the 3.2 V6 [Q5] could move a rear drive Touareg around acceptably.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When I heard "desert testing" I was hoping for some action like the F150 Raptor. This is real a let down.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have to applaud the VW Touareg for being the only true 4x4 diesel suv left in the US.

      Almost everywhere else in the world people can buy diesel Jeeps, Land Rovers, Toyotas, ect.........but our only option is the Touareg. Amazing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yikes, that was a lot longer than it looked to be while I was typing it up. For the short version I guess one could read the last two blocks of text. ;-)
        • 5 Years Ago
        dcwf hit it on the nose. Try comparing it to other true 4x4 SUVs that can tow 6,000+lbs, not oversized cars. Not only that, but then try comparing the mileage of gasoline vehicles vs diesel vehicles when loaded. Diesels are much more efficient at pulling/hauling heavy loads. They also get their best mileage on the highway, which is typically where people put on the most miles and where they spend the most time towing heavy loads.

        The other added benefit of a diesel is longevity. As you mentioned, diesels have stronger engine blocks, stronger transmissions, stronger suspensions, and other heavy duty components. They also make the majority of their torque at lower RPMS, so you don't have to wind the crap out of the engine to get anywhere.This is why they tend to last much longer than similar gas vehicles. The ability to hold onto your vehicle longer helps to offset a lot of those added diesel costs, as does higher resale value. Maybe for you, that's a downside. But, for someone like me that buys vehicles new and holds onto them for a long time, it's a major plus. I won't buy a hybrid either, as I don't want to worry about having to swapping batteries or electric motors down the line.

        As far as unibody vehicles not being able to off-road, that simply isn't true. One just has to look as far as the Cherokee/Grand Cherokee, which have been off-roading just fine for years. The current Range Rover is also unibody and they do pretty well offroad.
        • 5 Years Ago
        dcwf:

        > downtoearth, neither the RX450h, RX350, X5,
        > Veracruz, ML 350 (RWD or otherwise), nor the
        > SRX are 4X4s.

        The VW Touareg is not as well.

        It's just yet another unibody SUV, like any other in the market. If you drive it off road over long periods of time, it will disintegrate like any other one would.

        Why do you think GM, Ford, Dodge and Toyota all build their pick-ups using body-on-frame design? Why has the Land Cruiser a frame as well? Why did Land Rover build an integrated body frame into their LR3 and Rangeys?

        Because that's the only way to make a vehicles a true 4x4. Touareg shares no such design.

        By the way, the GMC Sierra 4WD hybrid pickup significantly beats the diesel Touareg as well: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/compx2008f.jsp?year=2009&make=GMC&model=Sierra%2015%20Hybrid%204WD&hiddenField=Findacar
        • 5 Years Ago
        downtoearth, neither the RX450h, RX350, X5, Veracruz, ML 350 (RWD or otherwise), nor the SRX are 4X4s. You are comparing apples with bananas.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Woah! I'm long winded, sometimes brutally. But, this...thing you guys are doing here is big time tl;dr
        • 5 Years Ago
        Paul P:

        (ML350 AWD can tow 7200 lbs and needs 20.1 barrels. Sierra Hybrid tows 6000 lbs and needs 17.1 barrels. Touareg 3.0 TDI can tow some 7000lbs and needs 19.7.)

        Again, neither are 4x4 suvs. Apples to oranges. Also, the 4x4 version of the Sierra hybrid is only rated for 5,900lbs, which is a substantial difference from over 7,000lbs. Especially if the tow rating is the same as the gas models (7,716 lbs).


        (Why should an owner of a luxury SUV do that? Don't you know even VW/Audi themselves admit only 2% of people who buy their luxury SUVs use them off road? http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/road-tests/audi-q5-1030992.html

        Similarly few likely use them for heavy duty towing. And even if they do, how much mileage do they clock towing? 1%? All the other miles down the road they're going to waste fuel.)

        Then I'm sure those people who don't need the added benefits of a diesel will buy the gas version, or maybe a hybrid version if that ever comes out. For those of use who do want and will use properly a real SUV in diesel, our only option is the Touareg. We don't even get a choice of a non-"luxury" offering.


        (I'm afraid both EPA and reality disagree with you. EPA says 20 mpg combined for the Touareg 3.0 TDI (55 city, 45 hgw split) and owners achieve exactly this number, as referenced above.)

        Ok, so the majority of current Touareg buyers live in cities. That makes sense. However, there are still those who don't live in cities and/or have second vehicles for local driving. For many the diesel still makes sense. This is due to advantages like greater highway mileage (which can result in less expensive travel depending on fuel costs) and greater range of travel without stopping to refill.


        (This is valid for industrial diesels only, or the consumer ones from the olden days. Modern high revving high precision diesels with high specific power (from a given volume) and expensive, fragile and complex hardware have lost longevity of their ancestors.)

        One would have to talk to engineers from VW, Mercedes, ect to see what the estimated average life expectancies are on their modern gas and diesel engines. It's entirely possibly that they are still designed to last longer than their similar gasoline or hybrid counterpart.

        (They are stronger cause they suffer higher loads (power transferred at lower revs). It does not translate into driveline wearing slower.)

        That may be their purpose for using stronger components, but it doesn't necessarily prove that diesel vehicles don't last longer because of it.


        (There is nothing heavy duty in modern fashionable European car-alike diesel SUVs.)

        They must do something heavy-duty, as I don't know too many European cars that can tow what the Touareg can. In fact, I don't even know too many American uni-body SUVS that are rated to tow that much either.


        (Wrong. Torque at low revs = little power. Check the torque->power formula. By the way, revving a diesel at, say 2000 rpm is just the same for this engine as revving a gasser at 3000 rpm. And you get even more in lower revs section from hybrids due to electric boost (immediate torque from 0 rpm).)

        Low HP doesn't necessarily matter. A vehicle with a lot of torque and low power can still get a load moving at a given RPM compared to an engine with less torque and more power. As someone who has driven multiple gas and diesel vehicles, I prefer the diesels driving characteristics.


        (Batteries last 300k miles easily: http://www.hybridcars.com/fleets/taxis-show-hybrid-battery-durability-25167.html

        Over this distance it's highly probable some of the modern diesel fragile gear like turbos, ultra high pressure fuel pump, superprecise injectors, particulate traps of NOx catalysts fail.)

        It's not the distance I'm worried about, it's the time span. Sure, it can do 300,000 miles in a few years. But what about 300,000 miles over 20 years without batteries being replaced? I've got diesel and gas vehicles that are over 30 years old and still run just fine with little more than basic maintenance. No replacing major components. My question is, how long do the batteries last time wise, especially when used sparingly? For someone with a fleet of older vehicles they could wind up replacing a lot of batteries if they're all hybrids.

        (Electric motors? Are you kidding? Locomotives propelled by electric motors have often 1.000.000 miles overhaul intervals.)

        ...and diesels in modern class 8 trucks are also designed to have 1,000,000 mile overhaul interval
        • 5 Years Ago
        Paul P:

        > I have to applaud the VW Touareg for being
        > the only true 4x4 diesel suv left in the US.

        > Almost everywhere else in the world people can buy
        > diesel Jeeps, Land Rovers, Toyotas, ect.........but our
        > only option is the Touareg. Amazing.

        It's because everywhere in the world people do not understand fuel efficiency. Funny thing that in a country thought to be a gas-guzzler land, people do.

        VW Touareg 3.0 TDI diesel is less efficient than a lot of GASOLINE midsize SUVs with hybrids being just in another league.

        For example: barrels of crude oil as a real measure of energy needed to drive 15k miles:

        Lexus RX450h hybrid.................11.8 [8]
        Lexus RX350 gasoline...............17.1 [4]
        BMW X5 3.0 gasoline.................19.0 [1]
        Hyundai Veracruz gasoline........19.0 [5]
        Mercedes ML 350 RWD............19.0 [6]
        VW Touareg 3.0 TDI diesel.......19.7 [2] (confirmed by its drivers [3])
        Cadillac SRX V6 AWD gas........20.1 [7]

        So there is no point in missing diesel SUVs, they often worsen real fuel consumption and foreign oil dependency.

        Some may argue that this inefficiency comes from Touareg weight but this is typical disadvantage of diesel SUVs. Heavy engines block to sustain higher compression, additional weight from turbos, particulate filters, AdBlue system and heavier driveline to transfer power at lower revs. All this stuff often makes diesel more expensive to run than ordinary gasoline cars because of added purchase, maintenance and repair costs.

        [1] http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/compx2008f.jsp?year=2009&make=BMW&model=X5%20xDrive%2030i&hiddenField=Findacar
        [2] http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=26557
        [3] http://www.spritmonitor.de/de/uebersicht/50-Volkswagen/458-Touareg.html?fueltype=1&power_s=150&power_e=170
        [4] tinyurl.com/n3soew
        [5] tinyurl.com/lytlqf
        [6] tinyurl.com/kjc77g
        [7] tinyurl.com/njo3rh
        [8] tinyurl.com/mpjnob
        • 5 Years Ago
        dcwf hit it on the nose. Try comparing it to other 4x4 SUVs that can tow 6,000+lbs, not oversized cars.

        Not only that, but try comparing the mileage of gasoline vehicles vs diesel vehicles when loaded. Diesels are much more efficient at pulling/hauling heavy loads.

        The other added benefit of a diesel is longevity. As you mentioned, diesels have stronger engine blocks, stronger transmissions, stronger suspensions, and other heavy duty components. They also make the majority of their torque at lower RPMS, so you don't have to wind the crap out of the engine to get anywhere.This is why they tend to last much longer than similar gas vehicles. The ability to hold onto your vehicle longer helps to offset a lot of those added diesel costs, as does higher resale value. Maybe for you, that's a downside. But, for someone like me that buys vehicles new and holds onto them for a long time, it's a major plus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Paul P:

        > Try comparing it to other true 4x4 SUVs that can tow 6,000+lbs

        ML350 AWD can tow 7200 lbs and needs 20.1 barrels. Sierra Hybrid tows 6000 lbs and needs 17.1 barrels. Touareg 3.0 TDI can tow some 7000lbs and needs 19.7.


        > Not only that, but then try comparing the mileage of gasoline
        > vehicles vs diesel vehicles when loaded. Diesels are much
        > more efficient at pulling/hauling heavy loads.

        Why should an owner of a luxury SUV do that? Don't you know even VW/Audi themselves admit only 2% of people who buy their luxury SUVs use them off road? http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/road-tests/audi-q5-1030992.html

        Similarly few likely use them for heavy duty towing. And even if they do, how much mileage do they clock towing? 1%? All the other miles down the road they're going to waste fuel.


        > They also get their best mileage on the highway,
        > which is typically where people put on the most miles

        I'm afraid both EPA and reality disagree with you. EPA says 20 mpg combined for the Touareg 3.0 TDI (55 city, 45 hgw split) and owners achieve exactly this number, as referenced above.


        > The other added benefit of a diesel is longevity.

        This is valid for industrial diesels only, or the consumer ones from the olden days. Modern high revving high precision diesels with high specific power (from a given volume) and expensive, fragile and complex hardware have lost longevity of their ancestors.


        > As you mentioned, diesels have stronger engine blocks, stronger
        > transmissions, stronger suspensions

        They are stronger cause they suffer higher loads (power transferred at lower revs). It does not translate into driveline wearing slower.


        > and other heavy duty components.

        There is nothing heavy duty in modern fashionable European car-alike diesel SUVs.


        > They also make the majority of their torque at lower RPMS,
        > so you don't have to wind the crap out of the engine to get anywhere.

        Wrong. Torque at low revs = little power. Check the torque->power formula. By the way, revving a diesel at, say 2000 rpm is just the same for this engine as revving a gasser at 3000 rpm. And you get even more in lower revs section from hybrids due to electric boost (immediate torque from 0 rpm).


        > But, for someone like me that buys vehicles new and holds
        > onto them for a long time, it's a major plus. I won't buy a hybrid either,
        > as I don't want to worry about having to swapping batteries or electric
        > motors down the line.

        Batteries last 300k miles easily: http://www.hybridcars.com/fleets/taxis-show-hybrid-battery-durability-25167.html

        Over this distance it's highly probable some of the modern diesel fragile gear like turbos, ultra high pressure fuel pump, superprecise injectors, particulate traps of NOx catalysts fail.

        Electric motors? Are you kidding? Locomotives propelled by electric motors have often 1.000.000 miles overhaul intervals.


        > As far as unibody vehicles not being able to off-road,
        > that simply isn't true. One just has to look as far as the
        > Cherokee/Grand Cherokee, which have been off-roading
        > just fine for years. The current Range Rover is also unibody
        > and they do pretty well offroad.

        Fair point but are they driven off road on a regular basis? Because to me, modern Range Rovers and top luxury vehicles on 20 inch rims and low profile tires. Not very off roadish.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd expect this to look good when the wraps drop. IMO the current gen Tuareg(don't know how to spell it. Don't care) is a pretty handsome maybe a tad austere Ute. The curves, especially the tastefully swoopy beltline, should complement it nicely if the nose and tail treatment follow suit accordingly. With any luck it should come out lighter leaner and with some emotion to it other than the current slab sided stare. I don't know near enough about diesels to launch into the above argument, but I feel like Volkswagen has a good diesel system that does the same Urea injection trick that Herr Tristar does. Better mileage, lower emissions, I think the Mercedes system is called Blue... something. Anyway if its dropping in 2011 its worth it to hope.
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