Compared with more carlike competitors, the Touareg's proportions, packaging, and seating position make it feel more like a brawny SUV from five years ago than a modern crossover. That doesn't mean Volkswagen is ignoring buyers' demands for fuel-efficient vehicles, though. In addition to a hearty 280-hp V-6, the company offers two alternatives to the traditional gasoline engine. A turbo-diesel V-6 produces massive torque and a fuel-economy rating of 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. The gas-electric hybrid model isn't nearly as efficient on the highway, at 24 mpg, but it does add a single mpg to the city rating. If the hybrid's fuel economy is a bit underwhelming, its power is anything but. The core engine is a supercharged V-6, and when combined with the electric motor, total output is 360 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. Both the diesel and hybrid powertrains offer all the responsiveness and refinement that Americans have come to expect from gasoline engines, and all three engines--even the hybrid--are rated to tow an impressive 7700 pounds. The engines are backed by a quick and smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and a compliant ride. The problem with the Touareg is that it's priced like a luxury SUV without the luxury badge on the hood. You can easily outfit a Touareg to be as expensive as a BMW X5 or an Audi Q7. If you can get past that, you'll find the Touareg to be a comfortable, smooth SUV with an upscale interior.
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