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2011 VW Touareg TDI 4MOTION Review & Test Drive

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‘KEEPING IT CLEAN AND LUXURIOUS’ 

The second generation all-new 2011 Volkswagen Touareg combines cutting-edge German design, even more versatility and an array of standard features, all while providing a combination of usability and world-class engineering that you and your passengers have become familiar with in other Volkswagen vehicles.

The class changing 2011 Touareg three powertrain choices for 2011 including Volkwagen’s first-ever world-wide use of a hybrid engine.  All three engines-the 3.0 liter V6 TSI supercharged hybrid, the 3.0 liter V6 TDI clean diesel and the 3.6 liter V6 FSI gasoline-are mated to Volkswagen’s first eight-speed automatic transmission, along with Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system.

I tested the 3.0 liter V6 TDI clean diesel that generates 220hp at 3,500 to 4,000rpm and a healthy 405lb.ft. of torque at just 1,750 to 2,250rpm while delivering class-leading fuel economy of 28mpg/highway and 19mpg/city.  It also gives greater power and torque versus a similarly-sized gasoline engine and super-clean 50 state legal emissions.

A special DeNOx catalytic, augmented by a special injection system that sprays a synthetic urea-based solution (AdBlue) into the exhaust, helps reduce Nox emissions by up to 90%, and lets the engine meet the Tier 2, Bin 5/ULEV II standards imposed across all 50 states.  It is much quieter than before with little chatter. The all-new 2011 Touareg TDI comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission with 7th and 8th gears laid out as fuel-efficient gears.  The 8th gear reduces Engine speed by 33% and compared to 6th gear, which reduces fuel consumption and significantly lowers emissions.  This new transmission is a powerful match for the TDI’s 406lb.ft. of torque.  It runs smoothly and quietly and helps the TDI model easily tow up to 7,700lbs. when equipped with the factory-installed tow package.

The design changes in the all-new 2011 Touareg resulted in a reduction of approximately 350lbs., from last year’s model, creating a more responsive and precise driving experience.  The Touareg’s optimized running gear offers very good vibration control and ride comfort, a low roll angle, responsive handling and excellent dynamic stability.

The Touareg utilizes aluminum in its double-wishbone front suspension setup including steel coil springs for strength, which also helped with reducing the weight of the truck.  The rear 4-link independent suspension also features steel coil springs for increased strength.  Gas charged shocks at all four wheels and front and rear stabilizer bars further reduce on or off road harshness and help with stability during cornering and high speed driving.

The Touareg’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system is mated to a rear limited-slip Torsen differential.  The pairing results in 40:60 distribution of the propulsive force between the front and rear axles to improve the vehicle’s weight and efficiency while improving overall driving dynamics.  The steering of the new Touareg is configured as standard speed-dependent hydraulic rack steering system with variable ratio.  The ratio is more directly configured across the entire steering stroke compared to the previous model.  It is nicely weighted and gives fast response to your inputs with a great feel for the road.

Slowing the all-new Touareg down from speed are large 13 inch vented disc brakes at each wheel.  The front wheels feature four-piston calipers and the rear wheels rotors are gripped with dual-piston calipers.  Keeping you in control during severe braking maneuvers are standard ABS and ESC.

The new Touareg TDI Lux trim level that I tested rode on Everest 19×8 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 265/50R19in. all-season radial tires for excellent grip and a smooth ride.

The exterior changes to the 2011 Touareg reflect the refinements under the hood.  Compared to last year’s model, the 2011 Touareg is wider and has a shorter overall height for a stronger presence.  A longer wheelbase and great length provide more room inside the cabin, while the used of new materials and other adjustments have removed approximately 350lbs. from the vehicle.

At the front is a narrower grille opening that seamlessly connects to the trapezoidal headlight housing that carry U-shaped LED running lights and Bi-Xenon high intensity gas-charged headlamps.  The housings flow into the new fender flares, and a pair of compact foglamps at the lower portion of the front fascia stand underneath the Touareg’s front air intakes.

The hood features a raised portion that runs from the grille back, finishing at the side mirrors and giving a more muscular appearance.  A chrome accent strip carries from behind the front wheels, and runs along the bottom of the doors to complement the chrome touches bordering the windows.

The back of the Touareg is defined with pronounced curves around the hatch area, new ‘L-Design’ taillights, and a blacked out lower bumper with a set of shaped chrome exhaust tips.  Another new design feature is the standard automatically opening and closing power tailgate that be operated from the inside, at the tailgate itself or through the remote control on the fully redesigned keyfob.

The new Touareg’s interior has also been refined with a focus on comfort and functionality.  Cabin noise has been reduced through optimized insulation and acoustics.

The greater use of curves and further attention to details on the door and dash trim coincide with redesigned leather seating surfaces for five, and cross-stitching on all panels and surfaces.  Both the front and rear passengers can enjoy great legroom with the Touareg’s new overall dimensions and fully adjustable seats, while the rear seatback can be folded from a release in the luggage compartment for more storage and convenience.

When looking up at the roof, you and your passengers will enjoy the new panoramic sunroof which is a full 350% larger than the sunroof in last year’s model.  A ventilated power release wind deflector eliminates turbulence and associated noise to help ensure a quiet drive even when the sunroof is open.

A seven inch display located between the main gauges in the instrument cluster provides you with the latest vehicle status information, including turn-by-turn navigation directions, information from the important engine systems and more.

Also standard is VW’s new premium RNS850 touch screen radio-navigation system.  It features a large eight inch color screen with DVD/CD player that has MP3 playback, Bluetooth, satellite/AM-FM stereo radio, along with a 60GB hard drive with 18GB of space to upload media.  Located conveniently in the glovebox is access for iPod or auxiliary input, SD cards, and DVD drive.  Also standard is power-adjustable front bucket seats, tilt/telescoping/leather wrapped steering wheel, climatronic dual-zone AC, burl walnut and silver metallic interior inlays on the center console, dashboard and doors.  All of the touch points are soft giving the interior that ‘luxury’ feel and look.

More standard features in the Lux model I tested but not mentioned above include cruise control, anti-theft alarm, review camera, front sensors, Homelink, power windows with front express up/down, power door locks, rear side and tailgate privacy glass, grab handles above each door, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, map pockets behind front seatbacks, power adjustable/heated sideview mirrors, self-dimming reaview mirror, rain-sensing, variable intermittent front wipers/washers, rear washer/wiper, silver roof rails, 115 power outlet and four 12-volt outlets, front/rear carpeted floor mats, and 60/40 split folding/heated rear seat with pull-down dual cup holders.

Standard safety features include driver/front passenger airbags, driver/front passenger side airbags, side curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts for all seating positions with front load limiters/pretensioners, LATCH system for child seats, rear door child safety locks, front/rear crush zones, and steel beams in each door.

The all-new 2011 VW Touareg TDI Lux is definitely a notch higher than last year’s model with more rugged looks, excellent powertrain mechanicals and an interior that gets a needed upgrade all around.

COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base VW Touareg TDI $47,950 / As-Tested VW Touareg TDI Lux Package $51,800.00
  • Engine: 3.0-liter Turbodiesel V6 225 horsepower @ 3500 rpm / 406 ft-lbs. torque @ 1750 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
  • Drive: Full time 4WD
  • Wheelbase: 113.9in.
  • Track: f/r-64.9/65.7in.
  • Total length: 188.8/76.4/68.2in.
  • Fuel tank: 26.4 gallons
  • Turning circle: 39ft.
  • Approach angle: 26
  • Departure angle: 26
  • Breakover angle: 21
  • Fording depth: 19in.
  • Ground clearance: 7.9in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.6/38.9in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.4/36.7in.
  • Cargo volume: rear seats down-64cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: rear seats up-32.1cu.ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 19mpg/city, 28mpg/highway

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