2009 Volkswagen Touareg Performance

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Performance

Any time you drive a vehicle that weighs north of 5,000 pounds, you should expect to pay a hefty price at the pump. That is generally true for the 2009 Volkswagen Touareg, but a new V-6 turbodiesel engine option helps ease the pain when filling up for your next adventure.

As noted earlier, the big news for the 2009 Volkswagen Touareg is that it now offers a relatively fuel-efficient, torque-happy V-6 turbodiesel engine. ConsumerGuide lists power output at 221 horsepower, while the other options include a "3.6-liter V6 model [that] has 280 hp [and] the 4.2-liter V8 model [that] has 350." Performance from the Touareg Volkswagen's standard V-6 isn't overly impressive, as ConsumerGuide notes that "the V6 labors in mountain driving and highway passing sprints," but the Volkswagen Touareg's V-8 "delivers better all-around acceleration and is a necessity for towing." The turbodiesel, on the other hand, wins rave reviews in articles researched by TheCarConnection.com. Car and Driver says that the Volkswagen "Touareg V-6 TDI is a remarkably smooth SUV" with "almost none of the characteristic growl that distinguishes the Touareg V-10 TDI from its gasoline-powered competition." Motor Trend adds that "even though the TDI Touareg has less horsepower than the gas V-6 and the diesel version weighs about 110 lb more, you wouldn't know it from behind the wheel."

The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg lacks impressive on-road performance, though its off-road ability is respectable; fuel economy is dismal, but those who need better numbers now have a new clean-diesel option.

Despite the availability of three different engines, Edmunds says that "a six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and a low-range gear are standard." Motor Trend raves about the "excellent six-speed automatic" that is fitted to the Volkswagen Touareg, while Kelley Blue Book reports that "hard-core off-roaders will also appreciate the Touareg 2's optional locking rear differential."

Diesel engines are known for two things: high torque and high fuel economy. The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg TDI delivers on both counts, but probably more impressive is fuel economy. While the EPA estimates that the conventional V-6 will get 14 mpg city, 20 highway highway and the V-8 gets just 13/18 mpg, the TDI fares much better. While official EPA estimates aren't available, reports read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that the turbodiesel should get 17 mpg city, 25 highway.

The Touareg Volkswagen's hefty curb weight exacts a bit of a penalty in terms of handling, though ride quality is a plus. On the 2009 Volkswagen Touareg TDI, Automobile Magazine reviewers "found the amount of body roll to be excessive." ConsumerGuide, meanwhile, reports that "the steering has a linear feel, but it isn't as precise as it should be." Braking isn't exactly a strong suit either, with Car and Driver claiming that the Volkswagen Touareg has the "longest braking distance of this pack" of eight SUVs in their comparison test. The Touareg's off-road credentials are impressive, though, with Popular Mechanics calling the Touareg "hypercapable off-road." Also on the positive side, the Volkswagen Touareg's ride quality is compliant. ConsumerGuide contends that "the impressively rigid structure enhances comfort," although "bumps intrude on models equipped with the 19-inch wheels, and some testers complained of float in Touaregs so equipped."

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