It's not a Mercury, but I can't help but think this Touareg is a bit of a cougar. You know full well that it has received plenty of cosmetic surgery over the past decade, but it's hard not to find the end product-especially with this monochromatic paint scheme-at least somewhat attractive. I'm not the only one, either; before I even left our parking garage, two bystanders commented on the Touareg TDI's good looks.
To me, it's a little funny to see smoked taillights, 20-inch wheels, and monochromatic paint on the Touareg. Despite the sporty dress-up kit, it's still a capable off-roader. Crank up that air suspension dial to the Xtra-Plus setting; it will give you more than enough ground clearance to creep over tall curbs, small boulders, tree stumps, and other sizable obstacles. That said, these Pirelli Scorpion tires are hardly the thing for off-roading.
The V-6 TDI offers plenty of power for the 5300-pound Touareg. The diesel pulls hard, and comfortably cruises between 80 and 90 mph without breaking a sweat. Above that, however, power tends to peter out. That's just as well -- outside of the Autobahn, there are few places where one can comfortably cruise at such speeds.
If there's one thing VW should have incorporated into this refresh, it's the interior. In typical Volkswagen style, materials are first rate throughout, but I'm a little perplexed with the arrangement of the switchgear and displays. I've no idea, for instance, why the clock is placed in the overhead console. I also found two small unmarked buttons on the back of the steering wheel -- one seems to trigger the heated wheel function, but the other apparently has no purpose whatsoever.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer