2009 Touareg 2 New Car Test Drive
The Volkswagen Touareg is a luxury sport-utility with a rare blend of highway composure, refinement, and impressive off-highway capability. Touareg offers a choice of V6 or V8 gas engines and a diesel V6. It offers five-passenger seating.
The 2009 Touareg TDI features a new 3.0-liter V6 for notable advances in mileage and emissions. Replacing the previous twin-turbo 4.9-liter V10, the new turbocharged diesel V6 is legal for sale in all 50 states.
Also new for 2009 is a revised touch-screen navigation system option and a safety package that incorporates adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and a multi-function monitor. And VW is offering all scheduled maintenance free for 3 years or 36,000 miles on 2009 models. Styling changes went into effect last year with the 2008 Touareg lineup, sometimes called Touareg 2.
Like the Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz ML, the Touareg eschews a third row of seats for five-passenger space in a compact package.
The new V6 diesel TDI engine is aimed more at economy than the previous, performance-oriented V10 diesel and is emissions-certified in all 50 states; in cities where the air is really bad the TDI's exhaust will be less toxic than the air going in. All Touareg models use a six-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel drive.
Protected by a rigid structure and full suite of airbags and electronic safety systems, the Touareg cabin is inviting, involving, and efficient. There are more thoughtful touches than you'll notice at first glance, yet the learning curve is quick, the controls not daunting, and comfort remains high even after hours on the road, or off it.
Touareg is a genuinely capable four-wheel-drive vehicle. It takes to trails like you wouldn't believe. Its combination of clearance angles, gearing, fording depth and suspension travel compares to that of the Land Rover LR3, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hummer H2, and Lexus GX470, none of which offer a 25-mpg diesel.
Back on the highway the Touareg has a Teutonic feel, with smoothness imparted by precision and not softness. It cruises effortlessly regardless of road condition, and belies its heft on winding roads. A sports car it isn't, but you could make a dynamic argument for an inclement weather Grand Touring vehicle.
If you like the Volkswagen Touareg but need a third row of seats at the expanse of some off-road capability, check out the Audi Q7; it uses a stretched version of the same basic structure.
The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg comes in three levels: 3.6 VR6 ($36,300); V6 TDI ($42,800); and V8 ($48,900).
The Touareg 3.6 VR6 comes with dual-zone climate control, power moonroof, power windows and locks, heated front seats, power driver's seat, leather shifter and steering wheel with redundant controls, alarm/immobilizer, cruise control, split-folding rear seat, alloy wheels, fog lamps, trip computer, outside and oil temperature displays, aluminum accents, heated power mirrors with synchronized adjustment and right-side reverse tilt, front and rear park assist, rain-sensing wipers and heated washer nozzles, 10-speaker audio system with Sirius Satellite Radio (three-month service included), power liftgate, and six power points, including one 115-volt outlet.
The Touareg TDI V6 substitutes the diesel engine and is otherwise equipped much like a 3.6 VR6.
The Touareg V8 4.2 FSI features a 350-hp V8 engine and upgrades with leather upholstery and walnut woodwork, bi-xenon curve-following headlights, more chrome trim, 19-inch wheels and more sporting suspension calibration, power passenger seat, driver memory system, power folding auto-dimming outside mirrors, and rear seat side sunshades.
Options include a tow hitch ($500), a rear differential lock ($700), 19-inch wheels and tires for V6 and TDI ($1200), and the air suspension package ($2750). Option packages are often commingled and start with the Lux ($2900), which adds many of the V8 upgrades (leather, wood trim, power passenger seat, bi-xenon headlamps). Lux Plus ($3400) adds four-zone climate control, heated rear seats, Dynaudio sound, and keyless operation. The Technology package ($3350) adds DVD-based navigation, upgraded 11-speaker sound system with CD changer, rear view camera, expanded instrument panel multifunction display, and auxiliary input. The new Safety package with lane departure warning and active cruise control is $2600.
Safety equipment includes rollover-sensing ESP Plus stability control, ABS Plus brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, tire-pressure monitors, Hill Descent Assist, and adjustable seatbelt anchors front and rear. Also standard are front airbags, side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags.