MPG-o-Matic 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Review Summary: SUVs are particularly well-suited to clean diesel engines, with their gobs of torque and legendary fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, American auto manufacturers have been hesitant to commit to diesel SUVs, other than a handful of short-lived exceptions. The luxurious diesel-powered 2011 VW Touareg TDI hammers home the facts, with a cruising range born for the open road.
The 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI is exclusively equipped with VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive (AWD) system along with its 3.0-liter V6 TDI turbodiesel engine which produces 225 horsepower (HP) and a generous 406 foot pounds of torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission includes VW’s Tiptronic Dynamic Shift Program and Sport mode.
The Touareg is also available in conventional gasoline-burning VR6 Sport 3.6-liter and V6 TSI Hybrid 3.0-liter Supercharged V6 models.
Our test unit was a fully-loaded Touareg TDI Executive model. The official fuel economy estimates for the AWD 2011 Touareg TDI are 19 city / 28 highway miles per gallon (MPG). The VR6 Sport is rated at 16 city / 23 highway MPG, while the Supercharged Hybrid is rated at 20 city / 24 highway.
We covered approximately 700 miles in our Toffee Brown Metallic review unit, and eased past the official mileage estimates, with an average of 31.9 MPG on the Interstate highway and 26.1 MPG combined in spring temperatures. (All testing performed with ultra low sulfur diesel fuel.) Temperatures ranged from the high thirties through the sixties, with Interstate highway testing temperatures in the low-to-mid-fifties. The test vehicle was delivered with just over 3500 miles on the odometer.
The 2011 VW Touareg TDI is equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels, clad with Goodyear Eagle LS P275/45R20 all-season tires.
Interstate Mileage Testing:
- Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off/heat on, windows up: 30.5 MPG
- Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off/heat on, windows up: 33.4 MPG
VW’s published spec for the zero-to-sixty sprint is 7.9 seconds. That’s not too shabby, considering the Touareg TDI’s nearly 5000 pound curb weight (4974 lbs., to be exact). By comparison, VW claims 7.4 seconds for the VR6 and 6.2 seconds for the Supercharged Hybrid.
A monstrous 26.4 gallon fuel tank lands the Touareg TDI’s highway driving range at the top of the charts. When driven conservatively, eight hundred miles per tank should be within range.
The center-mounted multi-function trip computer provides average and real-time miles per gallon information, along with data on efficiency since start, refuel and over the long-term.
Smooth might be the best word to describe the Touareg TDI, from the engine through the suspension. It’s sumptuous but not pretentious. Our only quibble is with the price. Our test vehicle carried a Manufacturer’s Retail Price (MSRP) of $57,500.
That said, the Touareg’s cabin is well-crafted and luxurious. Our Executive-level tester was fitted with Cornsilk Beige Vienna leather and Burr Walnut trim. The front bucket seats provide three-level heating and twelve-way power adjustment with four-way power lumbar and driver memory settings.
A heated multi-function steering wheel and Park Distance Control (PDC) and rear-view camera are included with the Executive option package, along with a ten-speaker 620-watt Dynaudio premium sound system. Voice-controlled hands-free Bluetooth, Sirius Satellite Radio and a Navigation System with real-time traffic are standard.
The USB port is located in the (cooled!) glovebox. iPod and iPhone support are up to snuff. Phonebook downloads and Bluetooth audio streaming are supported.
The Touareg TDI is equipped with four 12-volt power outlets: in the cargo area, at the base of the dash, in the center console, and at the rear of the center console, where you’ll also find a 115 Volt AC outlet.
The second row provides 38.9 inches of head room and 34.9 inches of leg room. The rear seats recline and seating surfaces are heated in the Executive model.
The Touareg TDI’s cargo area allows for plenty of flexible hauling capability, with 32.1 cubic feet of storage with the 40/20/40 rear seat up and 70.9 cubic feet of storage with the rear seat folded down. Electric seat releases and a panoramic sunroof are included with the Lux and Executive option packages.
All-in-all, the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI delivers a wonderful combination of cruising range and comfort. The German automakers have clearly taken the lead with clean diesel. As with the diesel-powered Audi Q7 TDI and BMW X5 xDrive35d, the Touareg TDI proves that fuel-efficient diesel engines are the perfect powerplants for SUVs.
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Note: The V6 Touareg TDI requires AdBlue exhaust treatment (urea) fluid, unlike the smaller four-cylinder diesel engine in the VW Jetta and Golf TDI.
– by Daniel Gray