Diesels are finally here, sort of. Now that we have the low-sulfur fuel, manufacturers have responded with vehicles that even the great state of California will allow on its hallowed highways.
Trouble is, these vehicles aren't exactly cheap. Case in point: the 2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI. It starts at nearly $43K, which is over $3,000 more than the base V6. And as the numbers below attest, it's not exactly the fastest SUV we've ever tested.
That said, the diesel engine works well in the Touareg, doling out torque right when you need a stiff push in the back. It's quiet, too, and according to the EPA it will return 25 mpg on the highway. See what our road test editor thought about what it can do at the test track after the jump.
Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen Touareg TDI
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Four-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed automatic
Engine Type: V6
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 2,967cc (181 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 4,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 221 @ 3,750
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 407 @ 1,750
Brake Type (front): Ventilated Disc
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated Disc
Steering System: Power steering
Suspension Type (front): Double-wishbone
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink
Tire Size (front): 255/60R17 106Y
Tire Size (rear): 255/60R17 106Y
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle LS2
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 17-by-7.5 inches front and rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 5,361
0 - 30 (sec): 2.6
0 - 45 (sec): 5.0
0 - 60 (sec): 8.1
0 - 75 (sec): 12.5
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 16.0 @ 83.4
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.9
30 - 0 (ft): 33
60 - 0 (ft): 131
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 61.3
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.80
Handling Rating: Very Good
Db @ Idle: N/A
Db @ Full Throttle: N/A
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: N/A
Acceleration Comments: Surprisingly, this VW doesn't mind pedal overlap and it responds well to brake torque launches. Best run was in the manual gate where it automatically upshifted at the redline. Shifts are exceptionally smooth, but rather slow. Overall, a much quicker vehicle than I expected -- faster, too.
Braking Comments: Inconsistent distances, I believe, were due to all-season tires hunting for traction -- especially from 60 mph to 40 mph. From 40 mph to zero it feels planted and powerful, some bobbing/diving though.
Handling Comments: Slalom: Some steering delay/gain, but more responsive than I predicted. Steering is light but precise and body motions keep up in the transitions. Overall, quite athletic for a big SUV. ESP certainly doesn't help as it just throws out the anchor after the second cone. Skid pad: Light vague steering, but it holds a line well. ESP chops the throttle, not the brakes.