Vehicle Profile: The 2011 Volkswagen Touareg
Touareg offers German engineering with impressive fuel economy and luxury amenities.
Bigger, yet lighter. More powerful, yet more fuel-efficient. The 2011 Volkswagen Touareg is all-new and even better than before. From the sharp new exterior to the premium-grade passenger cabin to its impressive all-V6 engine roster, the Touareg has evolved into something more than an SUV: It’s a destination unto itself. Oh, and the new range-topping Touareg flagship? It’s an amazingly powerful hybrid.
In VR6 FSI®, V6 TDI® Clean Diesel and V6 TSI® Hybrid models, the 2011 Touareg (MSRP starting at $44,450) is a looker. It’s longer than the outgoing model, both in wheelbase and overall length. It’s wider, too. The net gain for the driver and his or her four passengers is more interior space. Upscale touches like LED running lamps and bi-xenon high-intensity gas-discharged headlamps help complete the modern new look.
Inside, VW lavished attention on the passenger cabin, elevating it to super-premium status. It’s quieter, thanks to revised acoustic tuning and insulation. It’s also even more visually impressive, thanks to the increased use of curved shapes and surfaces, plus fanatical attention to detail, right down to the trim stitching.
Technology further accentuates the modern interior ambiance. The driver gets a seven-inch color display between the two primary instrument dials, which shows a wide range of vehicle information depending on the trim level including the status of the available hybrid powertrain and turn-by-turn navigation instructions. An eight-inch screen resides in the center of the dashboard, home to Volkswagen’s RNS 850 premium touch-screen HDD Radio and navigation system with 3D map display. You also get an MP3/WMA-compatible DVD/CD player and a 60GB hard drive (18GB of which can be packed with your favorite media files). Inputs for an iPod, auxiliary devices and SD cards are tucked away in the glovebox, along with a DVD drive. A panoramic power sunroof is available as an option.
All 2011 VW Touaregs have a new eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic® manual shift capability, Dynamic Shift Program and Sport mode. Volkswagen’s 4MOTION® all-wheel drive system is standard in all models. In addition to its sophisticated AWD system, the Touareg has standard Anti-Slip Regulation, Auto-Hold and Hill-Hold Assist and Electronic Stabilization Control.
The standard VW Touareg utilizes Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) V6 gasoline engine, an economical performer that delivers 23 mpg highway (19 percent better than the 2010 Touareg’s) and a muscular 280 hp and 265 lb/ft of torque. The Touareg TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection) delivers best-in-class fuel economy (28 mpg highway, 19 mpg city) via its 3.0-liter turbo V6 Clean Diesel engine.
Both the standard and clean diesel Touaregs are offered in three incredibly well-equipped trim levels – Sport, Lux and Executive. Highlights of Sport-trim standard equipment include standard navigation with rearview camera, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, an adjustable-temperature cooled glovebox, Bluetooth and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The cabin is trimmed in gloss black with metallic inlays. The Touareg Lux trim upgrades to 19-inch wheels and adds the two-piece panoramic roof, heated outside mirrors with memory, leather seating and Burl Walnut interior trim and console, among other features. The Executive trim adds 20-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, keyless entry and push-button start, a Dynaudio premium sound system and enhances the rearview camera by adding Park Distance Control.
Standing alone as the fully-loaded techno flagship of the lineup is the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TSI Hybrid, which delivers V8-level power from its innovative gas-electric powertrain. The hybrid setup is composed of a supercharged 3.0-liter direct-injection V6 paired with an electric motor and 288-volt nickel metal-hydride battery pack. Each system can operate the vehicle on its own (meaning the Touareg Hybrid can cruise at up to 30 mph on electricity alone). When working in combination, the hybrid drivetrain punches out a whopping 380 hp and 428 lb/ft of torque via the eight-speed automatic transmission.
Thanks to a feature that kills the engine and disengages the transmission when the driver lifts off the gas pedal, the Touareg can coast along without using either the gas engine or electric motor. Re-applying the throttle seamlessly re-engages the powertrain. Likewise, a stop-start system that shuts the engine down at traffic lights, etc. is also standard. The result is an estimated fuel economy rating of 25 mpg highway, a number not normally associated with a drivetrain this monstrously powerful.
Naturally, the Touareg’s list of standard safety equipment is comprehensive, beyond the driver aids and safety features mentioned earlier. Joining advanced airbag protection, (which includes front side thorax supplemental restraints and Volkswagen’s Side Curtain Protection® airbags front and rear) and antilock brakes, the 2011 Touareg gets an improved, whiplash-optimized head restraint system (WOKS), which helps to keep occupant head rotation to a minimum in the event of a rear impact.
Finally, the 2011 Touareg offers the confidence of a 10-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, 24-hour roadside assistance for three years or 36,000 miles and the Carefree Maintenance Program, which covers all scheduled service as laid out in the maintenance booklet for three years or 36,000 miles, in addition to its three-year/36,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
Is the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg the ultimate premium SUV? With great power and efficiency, combined with an astonishing level of the latest luxury and technology features, the answer is “yes.”