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Can second-gen Touareg deliver on hybrid's eco-promise?
Matt Prior
11 March 2010

What is it?

This is the hybrid version of the new Volkswagen Touareg. It is the range's most intriguing model, even though it won't be the best-seller. It's the only petrol Touareg that'll make it to the UK, yet it has the lowest CO2 emissions and the highest power output of a range that also includes 3.0 V6 and 4.1 V8 diesels.

At the hybrid's heart is a 328bhp, supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine coupled to a 45bhp electric motor. They work in parallel so, like a Lexus RX450h, the engine can be uncoupled from the drive to shut down altogether.

Unlike the Lexus, which has an electric motor for the back axle, the Touareg's engine/motor combination both have a say in all four wheels, via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a Haldex four-wheel drive system.

That new transmission contributes much to Touareg's headline-grabbing 200kg weight loss between generations. A heavier-duty option, called 4XMotion, is available on the V6 TDI only; it has a low ratio and a centre differential lock for serious off-road use.

Another big weight saving comes on steel-sprung versions, whose suspension is 47kg lighter than before. Optional air-sprung cars, like our test car, lose 20kg underneath. There's about the same as from the body itself, which is a significantly overhauled first-generation Touareg shell rather than an all-new architecture.

What's it like?

Inside, the Touareg is new and mostly decently appointed. A few interior surfaces on the lower – and a couple on the upper – part of the cabin are disappointingly brittle, but it's all efficiently laid out. Roominess is improved too. The rear seats slide and the boot is big, but there's no seven-seat option.

Performance is brisk, but the engine needs to be worked surprisingly hard to give its best and the gearbox can be sluggish to respond in auto mode. It can be overriden and, given it's better that way and has eight speeds, it's a shame there aren't steering wheel paddles to assist.

Refinement is sound, the ride is above average and, unsurprisingly, there's nothing here for the enthusiast. The Touareg is a more agile road car than a Discovery but far less so than an X5.

Should I buy one?

That depends on whether you were attracted to the Touareg in the first place. Because even the hybrid powertrain and improved overall refinement don't add much to the equation. The technology and emissions have moved on, but the Touareg's overall ethos remains unchanged.

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Bambazonke 16 March 2010

Re: Volkswagen Touareg V6 Hybrid

nicksheele wrote:
Your nitpicking of German products is tiresome and transparent in its intent and is only matched in its irksomeness by your slavering over 'home' products

I agree 100% with nicksheele. You just know that if an Autocar cover features a Brit car and a German car, the text will be manipulated to ensure a home win even when it's admitted that the Brit is dynamically inferior. For example, Rapide v Panamera. It was also self-obvious that the "new" XJ would decimate the S-Class just as we could have predicted months ago that the XK would blow the Carrera into the weeds.

Less sensationalism and more objectivity would be a good recipe.

Dan McNeil v2 15 March 2010

Re: Volkswagen Touareg V6 Hybrid

nicksheele wrote:

MattDB wrote:

nicksheele wrote:

The CO2 emission figure is 193g/km not 195.

Whetever it is, it is still too high.  The Lexus RX 450 is 148 g/km or to put that into perspective, about the same as a 1.8 Ford.

 So VW are late with the tech and off the pace with it, simply not good enough

Matt, the Toyota(Lexus) is a joke - see autocar's own recent road test:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/CarReviews/RoadTestsOnTheRoad/Lexus-RX-450h-SE-L/242834/

0-60 8.2secs, <30mpg in reality versus 45mpg claimed, plus even autocar says it doesn't ride or handle. £55k of utter ugly pointlessness, that's why they're rarer than hens' teeth.

Maybe, but Matt's point was that the Toerag's co2 figure is way too high for a hybrid SUV, which is a point you've failed to address. Instead, it's the usual horsey smoke and mirrors diatribe.

nicksheele 15 March 2010

Re: Volkswagen Touareg V6 Hybrid

MattDB wrote:

nicksheele wrote:

The CO2 emission figure is 193g/km not 195.

Whetever it is, it is still too high. The Lexus RX 450 is 148 g/km or to put that into perspective, about the same as a 1.8 Ford.

So VW are late with the tech and off the pace with it, simply not good enough

Matt, the Toyota(Lexus) is a joke - see autocar's own recent road test:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/CarReviews/RoadTestsOnTheRoad/Lexus-RX-450h-SE-L/242834/

0-60 8.2secs, <30mpg in reality versus 45mpg claimed, plus even autocar says it doesn't ride or handle. £55k of utter ugly pointlessness, that's why they're rarer than hens' teeth.

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