With three fantastic engines to choose from, there are many reasons to love the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg Crossover SUV. The 3.6-liter V6 is voted as one of the most powerful engines in this segment. It is complemented by an eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and a fine-tuned suspension. With 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, this engine is more than comfortable towing 7,700 pounds and it returns 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Now, if you want a vehicle that operates on diesel with very low sulfur content, the available TDi Clean Diesel model will be right up your alley. It may deliver 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, but an average of 29 mpg on the highway is to be appreciated. There is also the world’s first supercharged hybrid available too. As you would expect from Volkswagen, the ride quality is superb. Plus, a 39-foot turning circle means that you won’t struggle to park in tight spaces.
• Touchscreen Entertainment System - The touchscreen stereo includes a six CD changer, HD radio, eight premium speakers, MP3 playback capabilities and it can play UMA CDs, so you can load hundreds of songs on one disc. An upgraded 620-watt Dynaudio system with DSP technology and 10 premium speakers is also available.
• Navigation - The touchscreen navigation is definitely a selling point for the Touareg. Its full color display features 3D landmarks, plus turn-by-turn directions allow you to keep your eyes on the road while in motion.
• Bluetooth - Receive, send and end calls without taking your hands off the wheel. It can also stream your playlist, listen to podcasts and more.
Although crash tests have not yet been done on the 2013 Touareg, one can expect the vehicle to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors. The 2012 model received a “Good” rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in front, side and roof-strength protection. Plus, it was able to stop from 60 mph in only 121 feet; a very admiral distance. A specially reinforced safety cage with hardened steel B pillars and side door beams surround passengers for optimal protection. Other safety features include:
• Intelligent crash response system
• Electronic stability control
• Electric parking brake
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Cornering lights
• Engine immobilizer
• Turn signal mirrors
• Traction control
• Emergency braking preparation
• Adaptive headlights
• Child seat anchors
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Rear door safety locks
• Emergency braking assist
• Front seatbelt pretensioners
• Brake drying
• Whiplash protection system in front head restraints
Since the Touareg was redesigned in 2011, not much has changed, which is unfortunate because it does still appear a little dated. There are more rounded door panels now though and the LED running lights have been squared-off a little to highlight the pronounced arches found at the front wheel well. Lastly, the dual exhausts are finished with stylized chrome tips.
The cabin is definitely a strong selling point for the Touareg; there is really nothing to complain about. The seats are comfortable and supportive and front seat passengers get more head and leg room than what is found in the BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz M350. Trim materials are high-quality throughout and the rear seat reclines a full 6 inches for optimal comfort. The rear seats are not as plush as the front ones, but you likely will not hear any complaints about them either. Controls are thoughtfully sized and placed, and the navigation system is outstanding. However, the push button start/stop system is a disappointment.
Cargo space is a huge disappointment in the Touareg, as it falls short of much of its competition. You do get a very generous 32.1 cubic feet with the rear seat in place, but overall you only get 64 cubes, with the seat down.