Volkswagen Touareg Origins
Determined to prove its road-worth, the Volkswagen Touareg ran the world race gamut, participating in a slew of motor sport events over the last decade. In 2005, a modified diesel Touareg won the driverless 132-mile DARPA Grand Challenge, and for three years in a row beginning in 2009, a Touareg took the top prize at the Dakar Rally, an off-road 500 mile-per-day endurance race held annually in South America. Other races worthy of mention include the Baja 500 and 1000, and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, for which a VW Touareg set a new division record for the fastest time with a diesel-powered vehicle.
Named after the Touareg people of North Africa, the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI once towed a 155-ton Boeing 747 as part of a marketing campaign, making it the most weight pulled by a passenger car.About the Volkswagen Touareg
The 2.5-ton Volkswagen Touareg is indeed the ""heaviest hitter"" in the history of VW's long and varied vehicle lineup. Showered with industry accolades, calling the Touareg the ""best SUV of the year"" for 2003 and 2004, VW's largest car thus far is loaded with curious and inventive off-road features that help set it substantially apart from its class competitors.
As the first SUV to offer two engines with more than eight cylinders, the Touareg V10 comes standard with an air-suspension system that automatically raises or lowers the car depending on how fast you’re traveling or the conditions of the road. Also standard are a sophisticated all-wheel-drive package that splits the torque evenly between the front and rear axle and an ""Intelligent Crash and Respond"" system which automatically unlocks doors in a collision, disconnects the battery, and shuts off the fuel supply and high-power electric components. The Volkswagen Touareg assure the occupants' safety by installing OnStar emergency assistance.
Other notable features include a 7700-pound towing capacity and an on-board screen navigation system that shows longitude, latitude, the position of the front wheels, and a compass. The navigation system also takes it a step further, helping drivers find their way back to the nearest highway following any off-road excursion.
Despite the Touareg’s obvious pluses, it’s become well-known for a few significant minuses as well: less-than-stellar fuel economy, no third row seating, and an optional CD changer that’s located in the rear of the car as opposed to the dashboard.Volkswagen Touareg Features
Available in four trim models (Sport, Lux, Executive, and Hybrid), the 2012 Touaregs all arrive standard with a load of equipment: dual zone automatic climate control, power-heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, an eight-speaker sound system complete with Bluetooth/iPod functionality, a six-CD changer, cruise control, rear power lift gate, and satellite radio. Options for the Lux and Hybrid models include a navigational system with rearview camera, sunroof, heated side mirrors, rear parking sensors, heated steering wheel and rear seats, and keyless ignition.
Engine output across all four trims include an eight-speed automatic transmission, with three powertrains to choose from. The VR6 comes with a 3.6-liter, gasoline-powered V-6 that produces 280-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, a TDI that features a three-liter, turbo diesel V-6 delivering 225-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, and lastly, the Hybrid comes saddled with a supercharged, direct-injection, three-liter V-6 combined with an electric motor, generating 380-hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. The TDI takes first place for the best fuel economy with 19/28 mpg city/highway.
All Touareg models come with standard safety equipment, such as front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags, stability and traction control, anti-lock disc brakes, and hill-hold assist. With a total passenger capacity of five, the 2012 affords a decent amount of storage space with both rows occupied at 32 cubic feet, and another 39 with the second row stowed.Volkswagen Touareg Evolution
The Touareg’s initial generation made its U.S. debut in 2004 equipped with the choice of either a 220-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 or a 310-hp, 4.2-liter V-8. With the V-6 selling poorly due to its lack of pick-up, most buyers opted for the more powerful V-8 engine, which delivered a healthy 345-hp.
But the real supercharged Touareg of this first batch was the six-liter double overhead camshaft, 48-valve, V-12 engine. Sold only in Saudi Arabia and Europe, the V-12 produced 444-hp, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in only five seconds. All engines during this run were matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.
With its powertrains virtually unchanged over the next couple of years, the only significant changes to the 2006 Touareg revolved around the car’s list of growing amenities. The rear cargo area got a slight electrical boost, with its 12-volt outlet getting an additional 103-volt increase; certain trims had the option of adding a rearview safety camera, MP3 connector, and a DVD-based navigation system.
In 2008, the Touareg was renamed the Touareg 2, but only until 2011, when VW dropped the label and reverted back to its original name. 2008 also signaled the end of its five-liter, V10 model from 2002, being replaced by the V-6 TDI.