If the 2011 VW Touareg were a celebrity it would be named the winner of this season’s “Celebrity Fit Club” by a landslide margin. Come on people, this once porky SUV lost almost 350 pounds depending on the trim level! That’s like losing an entire Kirstie Alley!
The 2011 Touareg has also seen its powertrain line-up change considerably as well. In place of the previous V6 and V8 engine options there are now three very unique alternatives. First off there is a 3.6 liter V6 engine that offers 280 horsepower and 265 lb. feet of torque all the while still returning EPA estimates of 16 city/23 highway. This will be the volume engine and will carry the lowest base price.
Next up is the very exciting hybrid variant which mates a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 with a lithium ion battery pack to create the most powerful AND most fuel efficient Touareg ever. According to VW, the 2011 Touareg hybrid powertrain combines to offer up 380 horsepower and 428 lb. feet of torque. Fuel economy estimates are said to better the V6 by 25% with the possibility of 25 miles per gallon in the city.
Lastly, VW is also going to introduce a 3.0 liter V6 turbodiesel TDI variant which puts out 225 horsepower and a whopping 406 lb. feet of torque. Fuel economy estimates are 19 city/28 highway so this TDI motor should give the BMW X5 diesel a run for its money in regards to both efficiency and performance.
It’s pretty much a given that the 2011 VW Touareg looks better than the latest X5 as that BMW SUV has the look of someone who has been eating nothing but carbs. Not that I am anyone to judge but the X5 needs to go on a diet, not so much physically but stylistically. Too many creases and rolls do not flatter any automotive shape.
All Touareg models now come with an 8-speed automatic and when it is attached to the hybrid it features a clutch disengagement mechanism which allows the engine to turn off when you are coasting. This is the first stop/start system that works while the vehicle is still in motion. Regenerative braking and electric generators ensure all of the rest of the vehicle functions normally but it just allows the engine to save gas. Brilliant!
On the inside, leather seats are standard and rear seat legroom has increased for added comfort. Instead of attaining this by making the Touareg the size of a Suburban, VW wisely devised a sliding second row seat mechanism that allows you to adjust legroom and cargo capacity as needs dictate. The dash might not be as stylistically interesting as the one in the previous model but it is still head and shoulders above most of the competition.
Although the old Touareg was never known for being noisy, VW claims the new one is even quieter. Let’s just hope they didn’t cheat by measuring only the Hybrid when the engine wasn’t running. Admittedly that must be one quiet SUV.
VW is also one of the few automakers that have been successful with attempts to lessen the weight of new models. Safety legislation and “Green legislation” are more often than not at cross purposes so kudos to VW for managing to satisfy both. I, for one, can’t wait for the TDI version.
(Note: Pricing information for all 2011 VW Touareg models has not yet been announced at the time of this writing.)
Source: VW Media Newsroom