The 2011 Volkswagen Touareg is significantly refreshed for the new model year. The large five-passenger SUV enters its second generation this year. The Touareg was Volkswagen’s first SUV, having been introduced for the 2004 model year. Among the changes for 2011 are a new hybrid engine option and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Volkswagen is using lighter materials to build the Touareg, which has resulted in decreased weight and greater fuel economy.
The 2011 Touareg is offered with in six trim lines: VR6 Sport, TDI Sport, VR6 Lux, TDI Lux, VR6 Executive and TDI Executive. The Touareg is one of the few models offered with available gas, hybrid, and diesel engine options. Base models come with a 280-liter, V-6 engine, while diesel models have a 3.0-liter, V-6 diesel engine that produces 225 horsepower. However, the diesel engine produces 405 pound feet of torque, 140 pound feet more than the gas engine. Base VR-6 Touaregs start at about $44,000 while TDI Executive models can top $60,000.
The Touareg hybrid takes the 333-horsepower, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 from Audi’s excellent S4 sedan and S5 convertible and pairs it with a 47-horsepower electric motor. Combined the engine produces an output of 380 horsepower. The hybrid replaces the 350 horsepower V-8 offered in 2010 at the top of the Touareg range. The hybrid engine gets an estimated 21-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. The same hybrid engine is also available in the Porsche Cayenne.
Fuel economy is good in all three engines offered on the Touareg. In addition to the hybrid, diesel Touareg offers EPA estimated fuel economy of 19-mpg city and 28 mpg-highway fuel economy, while the gasoline-engined Touareg offers 16-mpg city and 23-mpg highway, which is nearly a twenty percent improvement over the 2010 gas-engined Touareg.
The 2011 Touareg has 32.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the seats up and 70.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded flat. This closely compares to the 2011 Ford Edge, which has 32.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat and 68.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. The Touareg is rated to tow a maximum of 7,700 pounds.
If you are considering purchasing a Volkswagen Touareg, you may also want to consider the Porsche Cayenne, which was named Motor Trend’s 2011 SUV of the year, the Acura MDX, BMW X5, and Lexus RX350. However, the Porsche and BMW can become considerably more expensive with added options. While it can cost over $50,000, the Touareg has a top quality interior, handsome exterior, and smooth ride.