Aside from the muted diesel clatter on startup, you'd hardly know that you're driving an oil-burner when you're behind the wheel of the VW Touareg. As with previous Touaregs, VW doesn't skimp on the niceties, with a host of standard features including a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, Sirius satellite radio, burl walnut trim and aluminum accents, and power everything. And, while the vehicle is undeniably heavy, it doesn't feel particularly large when you drive it. This is partly due to the fact that the Touareg isn't as long as most of its competitors, having only two rows and accommodating just five passengers. If you have a large family or need to haul lots of people, that fact might immediately take the Touareg off your shopping list in favor of a three-row SUV. But if you need a rugged vehicle that can haul a boat or a camper without guzzling inordinate amounts of fuel (combined city/hwy EPA rating of 22 mpg), the Touareg might be a smart choice.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor