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GREEN | 6 out of 10
2012 Volkswagen Touareg: 16 mpg city, 23 highway (VR6); 19/28 mpg (TDI); 20/24 mpg (Hybrid)
The VW Touareg spans a broad range of fuel economy ratings with its three powertrains. If you're looking for the ultimate driving range, the diesel version is best, but a hybrid model also improves on the basic V-6's numbers.
The roomy Touareg's standard V-6 engine earns the lowest numbers of the lineup. The EPA rates it at 16/23 mpg, understandable for its size but off the mark when less expensive five-seaters like the Cadillac SRX are compared. Both the hybrid and TDI turbodiesel models top that easily; they're rated at 19/28 mpg (TDI) and 20/24 mpg, though with either, there's a stiff price premium.In truth, Volkswagen's effort with the Hybrid doesn't make a very good argument for itself, as the Hybrid is not only much more expensive than the TDI but worse in combined fuel economy. While we value the Hybrid as a stepping stone toward greater electrification, we'd advise shoppers to make the practical choice toward the TDI—especially if they plan to do more suburban or highway driving.
Diesel and hybrid models set the fuel-economy pace for the VW Touareg; V-6 versions aren't as good.