You'll Like The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg If...
If you want the capabilities of an SUV, but the fuel economy and handling dynamics of a sport-sedan combined into one vehicle, we think you'll like the VW Touareg 2 TDI. Whether on or off-road, its excellent chassis can handle anything you throw at it.
You May Not Like The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg If...
While the Touareg 2 TDI's well-rounded character is a big part of its appeal, and few of its gasoline competitors are as capable off-road or get as many miles per gallon, there are both softer and sportier gas options at lower prices. Also, even a fully loaded, $70,000-plus Touareg 2 TDI has neither a premium badge nor a third row of seats.
For 2009, a less expensive, lighter-weight V6 TDI diesel replaces the Touareg 2's previous V10 TDI in the lineup. The new VW Touareg 2 TDI is also legal in all 50 states thanks to refinements made to the engine and exhaust system, making it one of the cleanest diesels on the road.
Step inside the 2009 Volkswagen Touareg 2 TDI and you are treated to a richly-appointed cabin of leatherette and chrome trim. Based on its quality of materials and level of comfort, the Touareg 2 TDI's interior easily rivals the best in the luxury SUV class. Where it can't compete, however, is in seating capacity. Many SUVs now offer a third row of seats, increasing occupant capacity to seven, but the Touareg 2 TDI remains a two-row SUV, thus limiting the number of seats to five. Luggage space, on the other hand, is quite good, thanks to a large, useful, squared-off rear cargo area.
Volkswagen is known for its small cars, but, despite its midsize SUV dimensions, the Touareg 2 TDI looks every bit a member of the VW family, with integrated wrap-around headlamps and a large chrome grille that echoes the look of the Volkswagen Passat. The Touareg 2 TDI's tall, wide stance gives the impression that it's ready to take on the toughest trails, as do short front and rear overhangs that also help improve approach and departure angles.
When behind the wheel of the 2009 Volkswagen Touareg 2 TDI, you might never notice that you are driving a diesel vehicle. Gone are the days of black-smoke belching, smelly, rattle-prone diesels. The VW Touareg 2 TDI has been refined to the point that the only time you know there's a diesel under the hood is when you really push it hard, and then you might get some engine noise in the cabin – which one might be willing to forgive for the prospect of travelling more than 600 miles on a single tank of gas. The TDI comes with VW's excellent Tiptronic six-speed automatic, which offers manual shifting if you want to be more hands-on with the upshifts. The Touareg TDI also features 4XMotion permanent four-wheel drive with adaptive torque distribution and locking center differential, allowing it to take on even the most intimidating terrain.
The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg 2 TDI has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of about $43,500 and can reach $72,000 with every available option included. The TDI costs about $3,000 more than the gas-powered Touareg VR6 FSI, but gets almost 20-percent better fuel economy and has notably better horsepower and torque. The Touareg 2 TDI's main competitor is the Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC, which retails for around $49,500. To see actual prices that consumers are paying for the Volkswagen Touareg 2 TDI, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price. Residual Values for the VW Touareg 2 TDI are expected to be much higher than those of the standard Touareg VR6, and over time remain slightly above those of the Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC.
The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg 2 TDI comes nicely equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, 12-way adjustable heated front seats with lumbar support, dual-zone climate control, multi-function leather steering wheel, park distance control, a power liftgate and a moonroof. The TDI also features a premium CD audio system with satellite radio and Homelink car-to-home wireless control system. Standard safety equipment on the TDI includes six airbags, Electronic Stabilization Control (ESP) with anti-slip regulation and electronic differential lock and anti-lock brakes (ABS).
There are several options packages available for the Volkswagon Touareg 2 TDI. The Lux Package features leather seats, walnut trim and 12-way power passenger's seat. The Lux Limited Package adds to this the poplar wood trim, front/rear valences, side sills and 20-inch wheels. The Technology Package comes with Navigation, rearview camera and a VW Sound 11-speaker stereo system. The Technology Plus Package upgrades to a premium Dynaudio sound system and adds keyless entry and start. Other options include lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, air suspension, a rear differential lock and trailer hitch.
Ultra-Low Emission System
The VW Touareg TDI's ultra-low emission system features optimized turbocharging, common rail fuel injectors and an AdBlue cleaning agent for the exhaust system. All of these features combine together to make the TDI one of the cleanest and quietest diesels on the market.
AdBlue Exhaust Additive
The AdBlue urea-based exhaust cleaning solution is another of our favorite features. Your dealer will add this non-toxic, odorless and biodegradable solution automatically with scheduled maintenance visits. When AdBlue becomes more commercially available, VW has made it easy to access the tank beneath the spare tire if you find yourself in a pinch.
Under the Hood
The Volkswagen Touareg 2 TDI comes with only one engine option, a 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel. Considered a "clean diesel," the exhaust system for the V6 has been modified to inject a urea-based solution called AdBlue into the catalytic converter, which in turn breaks down the pollutant nitrogen oxide into harmless water and nitrogen. The diesel also benefits from a common rail fuel injection system that uses piezo fuel injectors to inject spray through eight-holed nozzles for a finer mist and more efficient, faster combustion. The piezo injectors lower the diesel's emissions as well as reduce noise from the engine. The greatest advantage of the TDI is its 406 pound-feet of torque, giving the Touareg plenty of power at low revs and allowing it to tow up to 7,716 pounds.
3.0-liter V6 Turbocharged
221 horsepower @ 3750-4000 rpm
406 lb.-ft. of torque @1750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25
The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg 2 TDI is a rarity in a world of gas-guzzling SUVs that aren't meant to ever leave the beaten path. The VW Touareg 2 TDI offers highly competent on-road driving dynamics with fuel efficiency rivaling that of a midsize sedan, and is an extremely capable off-roader. Part of the TDI's appeal lies in the fact that many of its parts are shared with the much more expensive Audi Q7 TDI and gas-powered Porsche Cayenne. For those willing to forgo the exclusivity of these nameplates, the Touareg 2 TDI represents an opportunity to enjoy a similar driving experience at a lower price point. Despite its luxuriously-appointed cabin, however, many buyers will find the Touareg 2 TDI's five-passenger design flawed in light of the current trend among SUVs to offer seating for seven, and if diesel prices begin to rise again, you may end up paying a premium at the pump.