My initial Touareg review was of a first generation model with V6 power and a price tag (fully loaded) of $44,365. It was no surprise at the time that Volkswagen had joined the fray with an SUV version of their own — their first ever (the THING didn’t count), which was actually co-developed with the Porsche off-roaders. The latest is the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Executive.
The first Touareg came in two versions: a V6 powered model and another with a V8. The name, which is pronounced “tour-egg” translates as “free-folk” and is after a self-reliant and sufficient nomadic tribe found in the Sahara desert. Touareg was and is a true off-roader in every sense of the word. A truly amazing vehicle, the Touareg was designed to be equally at home on the Autobahn, regardless of the model chosen or the terrain to be traversed.
The 3.2-liter V6 delivered 220 and the 4.2-liter V8 generated\ed 310 horses. Both engines mated to a six-speed Tiptronic? automatic transmission with Dynamic Shift Program (DSP). Definitively, Touareg was the driver’s SUV from Volkswagen, doing things that other VW’s were incapable of. It was and is simpler, and more user friendly than Porsche’s Cayenne — and for many, more pleasing to the eye with a more contemporary visual approach in its overall styling. The V6 and V8 possessed distinctive design cues differentiating what was under the hood — the V6 ran on 17-inch wheels and tires, sported a painted grille surround and dual exhaust with no pronounced tips. The V8 stood on 18-inch wheels with 19-inchers available, featuring a bright grille surround and a rear fascia with cutouts for the dual chrome exhaust tips.
The second generation Touareg was designated Touareg2, and came with a choice of three engines ? a V6 FSI, a V8 FSI and a V10 TDI. I happened to draw the V8 FSI version for review, which was still a 4.2 liter engine, but cranked out 350 horsepower and 324 pound feet of torque. The motor mated to an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic, and was configured in VW?s 4XMOTION? permanent four-wheel drive system with low range gear and adaptive torque distribution. The base price was set at $48,320 but extras such as: the Luxury Plus Package with Keyless start/stop, Dynaudio, 4-zone Climatronic and heatable rear seats; Technologie (VW?s spelling, not mine) Package with DVD-based Navigation system (included a sound upgrade), Rear View back-up camera, 6-disc trunk-mounted CD changer, and an auxiliary audio input jack; 4-Corner Air Suspension; Rear differential lock; and Destination charge moved the sticker total up to $59,200.
The latest 2015 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Executive offerings now consist of V6 FSI, V6 TDI? Clean Diesel, and Hybrid models, and is redesigned inside and out. There are four gasoline trims, three TDI trims, and one Hybrid trim, with the entry-level V6 Sport starting at $44,705. The TDI model has EPA estimated highway fuel economy rating of 29 mpg, and all Touaregs are now capable of towing more than 7700 pounds. Drivetrains feature 4MOTION? all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Touareg Hybrid features the world?s first supercharged hybrid powertrain.
2015 model year changes for Touareg include: Refreshed exterior styling that includes a 4-bar grille, new Bi-Xenon headlights, LED taillights, new front and rear bumpers, while the interior receives upgraded switchgear, white ambient overhead LED lighting, and new chrome and wood d?cor.
Newly available and standard driver assistance systems offered are: Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Side Assist, Front Assist, and Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.
My test 2015 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Executive came with a rich Black Oak Brown metallic exterior and a Cornsilk Beige interior. The base price was set at $58,700., while the final sticker totaled $62,110 after factoring in the Executive Driver Assistance Package and Destination charge.
SUMMARY: The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Executive model is a delight to drive or to ride in. The V6 delivers crisp acceleration despite the vehicle?s 4,696 pound curb weight. It is essentially, an off road vehicle with the ride comfort of a luxury sedan combined with the driving dynamics of a sports car. Touareg utilizes VW’s proven electronically controlled 4XMOTION? permanent four-wheel-drive system to ensure its off-road prowess. Power is totally satisfactory for virtually all tasks, though the V6 obviously works harder on steep mountain grades than the other powertain choices.
The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg is now available with three powerplants: a V6 FSI? gasoline, a V6 TDI? Clean Diesel, and a Hybrid. All three engines are mated to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptonic? shifting capability. A 4MOTION? all-wheel-drive system is also standard. All Touareg models are now capable of towing 7,716 pounds.
As one of Volkswagen?s most powerful naturally-aspirated engines, the gasoline-powered 3.6-liter V6 delivers 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 266 pound-feet of torque at a low 2,500 rpm. As in all current Touareg engines, the engine utilizes a crossflow aluminum-alloy cylinder head design, twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. The Touareg V6 has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
Other noteworthy features not yet mentioned include: Hill Climb Assist; Hill Descent Control; and tire pressure monitoring system. The navigation system provides both on and off-road configurations — the off-road display graphically indicates the turning angle of the front wheels and is programmable to indicate prominent landmarks.
Touareg VR6 trims include: a Sport VR6, a Sport VR6 with Technology, a Lux VR6 and the king of the hill Executive VR6 with base pricing ranging from $44,705 to $58,700. TDI or Clean Diesel models are priced at a higher level.
In the final analysis, the 2015 VW Touareg in any of its forms is a most impressive SUV once its name?s pronunciation is mastered, doing things that seem initially impossible — make way for the Rubicon trail or the Dakar to Paris rally in comfortable, luxurious surroundings for less money than Porsche?s comparable Cayenne models.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Executive [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$62,110.|
|Engine Type and Size:||3.6-liter DOHC, 24-valve FSI VR6 with variable intake and exhaust timing.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||280 @ 6,200 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||266 @ 2,500 rpm|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / 4MOTION? permanent all-wheel drive system, Torsen center differential, adaptive torque distribution and ESC.|
Front -Upper and lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
Rear – Multilink with coil springs, telescopic dampers.
|Brakes:||Power assisted, dual circuit, 13.0 x 1.3-in vented front discs and 13.0 x 1.1-in vented rear discs with standard four wheel ABS and electronic brake force distribution.|
|Tires:||Goodyear Eagle LS 275/45 R20 100H mounted on 5-Tri-spoke alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||188.8 inches|
|Curb Weight:||4,696 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||26.4 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||17-mpg city / 23-mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.