2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Executive

This redesigned Volkswagen Touareg is so much smaller than the previous generation that I had to look twice at the model name on the key chain to make sure that I wasn't getting into VW's smaller sport-ute, the Tiguan. Not surprisingly, it felt smaller and more nimble from behind the wheel, too, despite only a minor reduction in overall weight. But while downsizing was good for vehicle dynamics, it might seem a bit counterintuitive in terms of vehicle sales as the Touareg's passenger and cargo volume is within 10 cubic feet of the much more affordable Tiguan. The advantage of stepping up to the more expensive Touareg though, was evident once I stepped on the throttle. While the Tiguan only has one available engine, the Touareg offers a roster of three powertrains, the most notable player being the responsive turbo-diesel in this example. It's completely unobtrusive and gives the Touareg a significant bump in fuel economy -- it's actually rated at 28 mpg highway, 4 mpg better than the Touareg Hybrid. It's 400+ lb-ft of torque would also be a boon to those who plan to tow a trailer.

Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms

The Touareg feels like a collection of everything this company does well: high-quality interior, superb diesel power train, premium German driving dynamics. Like Jennifer, I could have sworn I was driving the smaller Tiguan with how nimble and responsive the Touareg feels. It helps that the diesel, paired with the eight-speed automatic, always feels like it's in its ideal rev-range when you step on the gas pedal. Some might argue that a sumptuous $60,000 SUV has little place in VW's American lineup, but I'd counter that it's a perfect counterbalance to the brand's push down market.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

nice car, how can get it?
I had an '04 Touareg, V8, lemoned it and got an '05 without any questions for free. Then I proceeded to lemon the '05. It took me 18 months but I got it done. The biggest issue I have is that VW does some things very well, and then they stop caring and refuse to acknowledge the problem, they blame you for bringing it up, then they quietly sort of fix it without ever acknowledging the problem. Or they just tell you "we don't re-engineer parts" ie, they won't allow the service dept to fix a squeaky armrest, because that's how it was made, so deal with it. Or a loud alarm goes off when you start the car and there is no-one in the passenger seat and there is no way to silence it. Or the air bag turns on and off in the passenger seat as my 120 lb wife moves around, or when we hit a bump. Or the leather rips prematurely, or the rear windshield wiper rattles when it moves, or their is the "lag of death"... take it down to about 20 mph and then hit the gas, you will count to 3 before anything happens. POS.
good car
I love the TDI engine. Had an ALH and BHW and now the CBEA engine. I really love the Touareg and want to write a check and get one. But, I wished it had a third row of sears. Q7 is too big. Thats really the big issue for me. Im also worried about the HPFP. I love the design, ride, and all the standard stuff like the back up camera, Nav, etc...
read the NHSTA report on V6 TDI HPFP failures
While Volkswagen and Porsche have done a great job restyling the respective Touareg and Cayenne to look more sleek and smaller, I must remind both Jennifer and David that the new Touareg/Cayenne are bigger than their predecessors. In virtually all dimensions - length, wheelbase, height, and width - the cars grow about an inch or two. As far as driving dynamic, that can only go to show the much improved handling that the company has been able to get out of the platform, but in no way is this in the same size class as a Tiguan.

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