With us since 2003, the is more capable off-road than most folks would assume. I remember driving one in Moab, Utah, and being suitably impressed. It was clearly not just a crossover made to look like a rugged sport ute.
Now there's an all-new Touareg, which is 1.6 in. longer than before and rides on a wheelbase stretched by the same amount. This new Touareg, whose overall height has been reduced by 0.8 in. (which makes it look more like a tall and perhaps a bit less willing to romp in the dirt), will maintain its off-road prowess, thanks to short overhangs and a 4-wheel-drive system that complements the Touareg's on-road settings with low-range gearing and locking center and rear differentials. What's more, the 5-seater is up to 440 lb. lighter than before (depending on model), and has an impressive list of standard features that includes an 8-speed automatic transmission, start/stop technology, touch-screen satellite navigation, a sliding back seat and a system that automatically shuts of the high-beam headlights when oncoming traffic approaches.
Most significant, the new Touareg will be available as a hybrid. The new Touareg Hybrid model boasts a supercharged 333-bhp 3.3-liter V-6 and a 47-hp electric motor, the latter able to operate independently of the gasoline engine. In fact, the Touareg Hybrid can operate on battery power alone for speeds up to 30 mph. This Touareg Hybrid is very quick, says , able to hit 62 mph in 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph. Fuel economy is 28.3 mpg in the combined European cycle, a somewhat easier than the EPA's.
Other models of the new Touareg are powered by 3.0-liter V-6 TDI and a 4.2-liter gasoline V-8. No word yet on when—or which models—of the new Touareg will be coming to the U.S., but deliveries to the U.K begin in August.
Of note, the 3.0-liter TDI V-6 Touareg gets even better fuel economy than the Hybrid—an impressive 31.7 mpg in the combined European cycle. Clearly, the Touareg Hybrid is positioned as the hot rod of the bunch.