There's a new standard in sport-utility luxury. The 2013 Volkswagen Touareg shows the road ahead with advanced, fuel-saving technologies, and a premium driving experience.
The 2013 Touareg model range features both the world's first supercharged gasoline hybrid and a TDI(R) Clean Diesel model. The Hybrid packs the punch of a V8 with the fuel efficiency of a V6-and, at speeds up to 30 mph, the zero emissions of an electric car-while the TDI has EPA estimated fuel economy of 29 mpg on the highway, with a range of more than 700 miles on each tank of ultra-low-sulfur diesel.
New for 2013
As the Touareg was re-designed and re-engineered just two years ago, changes for 2013 are relatively few in number.
The most significant change is an increase in horsepower for Touareg TDIs, from 225 to 240. Other changes include new LED taillights on the Hybrid, 18-inch "Karakum" wheels -now available on VR6 and TDI Sport trims-and "Vavona" decorative wood interior trim in Executive and Hybrid models.
The Touareg's exterior sports a crisp, sleek, aerodynamic look based on the Volkswagen Design DNA. This includes the horizontal front-end theme you see in the latest Golf, Jetta, Eos and Passat, as well the Touareg's smaller sibling, the Tiguan.
Key design elements include a grille featuring twin chrome-faced strips that connect seamlessly to new trapezoidal headlight housings. These feature a dramatic U-shaped ring of bright-white LED Daytime Running Lights along with Bi-Xenon high intensity gas-discharge headlights.
The horizontal theme continues in the sleek, body-colored front bumper with its large, U-shaped, chrome-ringed air intake and large side intakes. The hood features a bold raised section that runs from the grille back to the windscreen A-pillars, adding to the strong, muscular, front-end face.
At the back, the Touareg is defined with pronounced curves around the hatch area, distinctive "L-Design" taillights, and a blacked-out lower rear spoiler with a set of stunning, triangular-shaped chrome exhaust tips.
Thanks to the Touareg's lower body height, short overhangs, and clean, simple surfaces, the car doesn't appear excessively large. Contributing to the seemingly smaller size are features like a broad, full-length chrome side-strip at the base of the doors, black-painted side window frames, and large wheels.
Ignore the rugged, mud-plugging SUV image; the 2013 Touareg is all about luxury. Witness the optional "Vienna" leather in Black Anthracite, Cornsilk Beige, or Saddle Brown. Or the elegant Walnut wood accents. And the available 620-watt, 10-speaker sound system from Danish hi-fi specialists Dynaudio(R). It has never been so comfortable conquering the wilderness or maneuvering through busy city streets.
Stretching the wheelbase on this second-generation SUV has also made it easier to stretch out in the back. There's an extra 2.7 inches of knee room: with a 40/60-split rear seat that can slide forward or back by 6.3 inches, as well as recline, there's no better vehicle for relaxing on a road trip.
In addition to being able to carry five in comfort, the 2013 Touareg can also carry all their luggage. Press a button on the remote key fob to release the power-lifting tailgate and there is space behind the seats to swallow more than 32 cubic feet of cargo. Need more space? The seatback is split 40/20/40 with each section folding to offer an array of load-carrying possibilities. And with all sections folded, the Touareg can carry an impressive 64 cubic feet of luggage.
To let the sun shine in, the 2013 Touareg offers an available expansive panoramic glass sunroof. Measuring 57 inches long and 39 inches wide, it's a full 350 percent larger than the sunroof in the previous model. It is so big that this tilt/slide roof occupies almost the entire roof area above the occupants, thus conveying a unique feeling of open space. The panoramic sunroof is standard in the Lux and Executive models, as well as the Touareg Hybrid.
Mounted in the center of the fascia is either Volkswagen's RCD 550 sound system or premium RNS 850 touchscreen navigation system. The 850 features a crystal-clear eight-inch screen, with a DVD/CD player that has MP3 playback capabilities and satellite/FM/AM stereo. A cool feature of the unit's navigation system is that it can display maps and directions in a high-definition 3D view. To store music, the system features a 60GB hard drive with 18GB of space available to upload media. Located in the glovebox is access for an iPod(R) device or auxiliary input, SD cards and a DVD drive.
For true audiophiles-or those who like to play their music just plain loud-there's an available 620-watt Dynaudio(R) sound system with 10 premium speakers (four tweeters, two midrange, four woofers) and DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology.
Engines and Transmissions
The 2013 Touareg offers a choice of three highly-advanced powertrains that each offer unique driving characteristics.
The 3.6-liter VR6 FSI(R) gasoline engine is one of the most powerful that Volkswagen builds. With double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing and direct fuel injection, it produces 280 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Exceptionally quiet and refined, it delivers impressive off-the-line acceleration, strong mid-range response for fast, safe passing, and relaxed high-speed cruising. Coupled with the eight-speed automatic transmission that's standard on all 2013 Touareg models, the VR6 has EPA estimated fuel economy of 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
The 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine in the TDI(R) Clean Diesel model has been significantly revised, with an engine block that is constructed from compacted graphite iron (CGI). This material matches conventional cast iron for strength but allows for a significant reduction in mass to the tune of 55 pounds compared with the previous V6 TDI unit. The engine now produces 240 horsepower (up from 225) and delivers a mighty 406 lb-ft of torque from just 2000 rpm. It also delivers an EPA-estimated 29 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in city driving.
To achieve its 50-state-legal emissions qualification, a deNOx catalytic converter, augmented by a special injection system that sprays AdBlue into the exhaust, helps reduce NOx emissions by up to 90 per cent. This lets the engine meet the Tier 2, Bin 5/ULEV II standards imposed across all 50 U.S. states.
Like the Touareg VR6, the TDI comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This transmission configures seventh and eighth gears as fuel-efficient overdrives: top gear reduces engine revs by 33 percent over sixth gear. (The car's maximum speed is reached in sixth gear.) In addition to offering significant fuel economy benefits, it makes for quieter, more relaxed highway cruising.
The transmission also features manual gear control along with Sport mode and a Dynamic Shift Program (DSP) that adapts to the driver's individual style and adjusts the shift points accordingly.
The 2013 Touareg Hybrid pairs a 3.0-liter 333-horsepower supercharged, direct-injection V6 gasoline engine with a 47-horsepower electric motor.
The electric motor gets its energy from a nickel metal-hydride battery pack fitted beneath the luggage compartment. The 288-volt pack consists of 240 individual cells and offers an energy density of 1.7kWh.
Both systems are capable of running independently, or together. When combined they produce a total of 380 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque, thus offering drivers the power of a V8 with the better fuel economy than a V6.
One of the real benefits of the hybrid powertrain is its astonishing off-the-line acceleration when gasoline and electric power combine to deliver that 428 lb-ft of torque. If hard acceleration isn't called for, the Touareg Hybrid can cruise up to 30 mph on pure, zero-emission electric power.
The Touareg Hybrid also uses a host of innovative new technologies to help it achieve its EPA-estimated 24 mpg during highway driving. For example, when the driver releases the gas pedal at cruising speeds, the engine will shut off and a special clutch disengages the transmission from the engine, allowing the car to "coast" along, emissions-free.
Regenerative braking also allows the electric motor to recover kinetic energy during coasting and braking, to help recharge the battery pack. And, in another first for the Touareg Hybrid, there's a standard Stop-Start system, which automatically stops the engine during idling while, for instance, waiting at a red light. When the brake is released, the engine re-starts.
For this second-generation Touareg, Volkswagen engineers further developed its all-independent suspension. The basic layout, however, remains the same, with control arms at the front and rear. To save weight, the upper links are made from lightweight aluminum with the robust lower links made from steel. Long-travel steel coil springs are used at each wheel.
4Motion(R) permanent all-wheel drive is standard on all 2013 Touareg trim lines. The system features a rear limited-slip Torsen(R) differential that splits the available torque 40 percent front and 60 percent rear for balanced on and off-road driving.
Variable-ratio power steering gives a precise, responsive feel to the Touareg's helm, requiring 2.6 turns to go from lock to lock.
Wheel choices are dependent on each individual Touareg model. The Sport comes standard with the 10-spoke 18-inch "Karakum" wheel fitted with 255/55 R18 all-season tires. The Lux and Hybrid feature 19-inch, five-spoke "Everest" rims with 265/50 R19 tires. The Executive model has 20-inch "Pikes Peak" wheels with 275/45 R20 tires.
Safety and Security
The 2012 Touareg offers an impressive number of standard active and passive safety features to help keep driver and passengers safe.
Passive safety features include six airbags, including Side Curtain Protection(R) head airbags for the front and rear outboard occupants, and front and thorax units for the driver and front passenger.
The line-up of active systems include an advanced Rollover Sensor System that monitors the vehicle's turning angle and speed, which can help detect a possible rollover situation. If it determines a rollover hazard is present, it deploys the side curtain airbags to help reduce the risk of injury.
There's also a next-generation Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Brake Disc Wiping to help keep the pads dry so as to optimize braking when it's raining, and Volkswagen's advanced Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system.
The Touareg features Volkswagen's Intelligent Crash Response System that automatically unlocks all the doors, disables the fuel pump, and turns on the hazard lights in the event of certain types of collision.
Finally there's the peace of mind of Volkswagen's no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Car Limited Warranty-three years, or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The 2013 Touareg line-up offers customers a choice of four trim levels-Sport, Sport with Navigation, Lux, and Executive-with either 3.6-liter VR6 gasoline or 3.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel power. The Touareg Hybrid is a stand-alone model.
Priced from $43,425 ($46,925 for TDI), the Sport features 4Motion(R) all-wheel drive; eight-speed automatic transmission; 18-inch "Karakum" aluminum-alloy wheels; chrome rectangular tail pipes; silver roof rails; power adjustable exterior side mirrors; Bi-Xenon headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights; front fog and cornering lights; Bluetooth(R); satellite radio; Climatronic(R) dual-zone air conditioning; touchscreen radio with eight-speaker sound system, six-disc CD changer, MDI with iPod(R) cable; eight-way powered and heated front seats with V-Tex leatherette seat covering; leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with manually adjustable steering column; 40/20/40-split rear seat; leather shift knob; four 12-volt power outlets and one 115-volt outlet; remote opening and closing power tailgate with closing assist; power locks; cruise control; Homelink(R); silver metallic interior trim inlays; black high-gloss center console; tire-pressure monitoring.
Sport with Navigation
Starting at $45,490 ($48,990 for TDI), this adds the sophisticated RNS 850 navigation system with an eight-inch color touchscreen, 60GB hard drive, four-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and a rearview camera.
Priced from $49,430 ($52,930 for the TDI), this adds: 19-inch "Everest" aluminum-alloy wheels; panoramic powered sunroof; heated power-adjustable exterior side mirrors with memory; walnut interior inlays; wood center console; "Vienna" leather seating surfaces; 12-way power front seats with driver seat memory and power adjustable lumbar; electric rear seat release switches in trunk.
Starting at $55,155 ($58,655 for the TDI), this adds 20-inch "Pikes Peak" aluminum-alloy wheels, heated multifunction steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, keyless entry with push-button start, Park Distance Control, Dynaudio(R) premium sound system.
With an MSRP of $62,055, it features, in addition to the Sport with Navigation specs: 19-inch "Everest" aluminum-alloy wheels; panoramic sunroof; heated power-adjustable exterior side mirrors with memory; keyless entry system with push-button start; Park Distance Control; "Vavona" interior inlays; wood center console; "Vienna" leather seat covering; heated front and rear seats; leather-wrapped heated multifunction steering wheel; power adjustable steering column with memory; 12-way power front seats with driver and passenger memory; power adjustable lumbar support; metal scuff plates on door sills; aluminum pedal covers. This model is available only in very limited quantities.