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  •   Engine
    Turbodiesel 3.0L V6
  •   Power
    240 HP / 406 LB-FT
  •   Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  •   0-60 Time
    7.0 Seconds (est)
  •   Drivetrain
    All-Wheel Drive
  •   Curb Weight
    4,919 LBS
  •   Seating
    2+3
  •   Cargo
    64 CU-FT (max)
  •   MPG
    20 City / 29 HWY
  •   Base Price
    $52,245
  •   As Tested Price
    $60,080
  •  
There are two particularly great things about diesel-powered cars: torque and range. The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg TDI has both in spades.

We put 190 miles on our test car, and upon return, the computer claimed we still had 490 miles to go. We weren't even averaging the EPA-estimaged 29 miles per gallon highway. Plus, that's in a sport-utility vehicle with tons of room and a whopping 406 pound-feet of torque.

That said, our most recent adventure with the Touareg wasn't totally positive. This thing feels decidedly long in the tooth, despite a 2014 refresh.

Driving Notes

  • The Touareg TDI's powertrain really is the star of the show. The 3.0-liter, turbodiesel V6 has been in service since 2009, but it's still a dynamite engine. With 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which can be called upon at just 2,000 rpm, there's no shortage of thrust under your right foot. Turbo lag is an issue when you get aggressive with the throttle, but don't drive like a boob and you'll be fine.
  • ZF's critically acclaimed eight-speed automatic delivers that power to all four wheels. But where other ZF-equipped vehicles deliver a crisper, sharper character, the TDI's trans is tuned for a far more relaxed driving experience. Upshifts are leisurely; the eight-speed keeps you right in the thick of the Touareg's broad torque curve.
  • The suspension tuning follows a similar philosophy. It's far more comfortable than dynamic, soaking up all manner of bumps and general imperfections with aplomb. That said, the Touareg does not feel floaty or disconnected – just smooth.
  • The greasy bits of the Touareg are very desirable, but the package they're wrapped in is less so. It's not that the interior or exterior designs are necessarily bad – fans of Earth tones will love our tester's Black Oak Brown Metallic paint and Cornsilk Beige interior – they're just kind of bland, or anonymous.
  • The switchgear and buttons come from the Volkswagen parts bin, and while they're fine on a $20,000 Golf, these pieces aren't as appropriate in a vehicle that starts at more than twice the price. The dash plastics and faux wood don't look as nice as what's inside an Acura MDX, or even a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
  • This mid-level Touareg TDI Lux starts at $57,580. From there, you can only add the $2,500 Driver Assistance Package (lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, front assist with autonomous emergency braking, and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel), bringing our car's as-tested price to $60,080. That number is undercut by the top-end versions of both the Acura MDX ($58,000) and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel ($57,990), two vehicles that trump our VW in a few key ways.
  • Both Acura and Jeep offer things that Volkswagen doesn't. The MDX has a standard third-row bench, the Grand Cherokee Summit has ventilated seats. On top of that, the diesel Jeep is more capable off road, it has a better city fuel economy rating, and uses one of the industry's best navigation systems. Acura, meanwhile, offers a stunning set of LED headlamps, and like the Jeep, has a more voluminous cargo compartment and passenger area.

Consider this a mixed review, then. The Volkswagen Touareg TDI offers one of the industry's smoothest powertrains, and the ride quality is stellar. But those facts are overshadowed by the lofty price of our mid-grade model and its lack of features and utility relative to its competition. If the Touareg is what you desire, you're in for a treat. Just be sure to try out its classmates, too.

2015 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Off-Road Mode | Autoblog Short Cuts

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