You might recall one of the great automotive oddities of the aughts: the Volkswagen Touareg with a 5.0-liter turbo-diesel V-10 engine, one which produced an absurd 553 lb-ft of torque but raised the price of entry for this supposedly mainstream SUV to an equally absurd $70,000. Those who closed their eyes and wrote the check invariably loved their ten-cylinder kid haulers, but you have to admit that it was a bit extreme, and eventually VW dropped the V-10 because it wasn’t worth updating it to meet new American emissions regulations.
As it heads for a redesign, the Touareg is again offered with a diesel, but both the cylinder count and the displacement have dropped by 40 percent. Torque is down by about 27 percent, but not to worry: the V-10 could have propelled two of these 5300-pound Touaregs without breathing hard, so even the new 3.0-liter TDI V-6 moves this hefty SUV with ease. Most important, the Touareg TDI gets 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, the interior is as sumptuous as ever, and the exterior’s 2007 refresh is wearing well. There’s nothing odd or absurd about all that.
ON SALE: Now
Engine: 3.0L turbo-diesel V-6, 225 hp, 406 lb-ft