Volkswagen is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Touareg SUV in 2014, rolling out a new R-Line trim that offers numerous dynamic driving and sport handling features, as well as, an X Special Edition celebrating its birthday.
Over the years, Touareg has made a name for itself as an affordable sport ute. While the badge on its front clearly marks the Touareg as a sibling to the Beetle, its SUV lineage is more closely allied with Audi and Porsche, the two companies that helped Volkswagen develop the mid-sized sport utility a little more than a decade ago.
That lineage alone puts the Touareg a little further ahead of many of the mid-sized SUVs on the road today.
In addition to the new R-Line and the X Special Edition, the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg is offered in Sport Lux, Executive and Hybrid trim levels. The Sport Lux, R-Line and Executive trims offer your choice of either a gasoline or diesel engine. In addition, 4Motion all-wheel drive is standard on all 2014 Touareg trims.
Executive and Hybrid trims now offer two new features that are particularly useful. The first is a hands-free easy-open trunk feature, which opens the liftgate with a swipe of a foot under the rear bumper when you have the keys in your pocket. The second is the available area view 360-degree exterior camera system.
This system doesn’t just show what’s behind the Touareg, it also shows what’s in front and on the sides as well, thanks to four individual cameras mounted on the car. It also offers a birds-eye view of the vehicle from above and a cross-traffic function to help alert the driver to traffic they may not see.
As for the powertrains, your choices couldn’t be better. The 3.6-liter VR6 gasoline engine is one of the most powerful that Volkswagen builds. It produces 280 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque for impressive off-the-line acceleration, strong mid-range response for better passing, and relaxed cruising.
Coupled with the eight-speed automatic transmission that’s standard on all 2014 Touareg models, the VR6 has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 23 miles per gallon on the highway.
For its part, the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 TDI Clean Diesel produces 240 horsepower and delivers a mighty 406 lb-ft of torque at just 2,000 rpm. It also delivers an EPA estimated 29 miles per gallon on the highway. Thanks to a special exhaust injection system, the engine lives up to its “Clean” moniker, meeting the ULEV/Tier 2, Bin 5 exhaust standards in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania.
The 2014 Touareg Hybrid is truly a marvel of technology, but surprisingly isn’t the best choice for fuel economy. It pairs a 3.0-liter 333-horsepower supercharged, direct-injection V6 gasoline engine with a 47-horsepower electric motor. Both systems are capable of running independently, or together. When combined they produce a total of 380 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque, offering the power of a V8 with the fuel economy of a V6.
The real benefit of the Hybrid’s powertrain is its astonishing off-the-line acceleration when gasoline and electric power combine to deliver that 428 lb-ft of torque. If hard acceleration isn’t called for, the Touareg Hybrid can cruise up to 31 miles per hour on electric power alone. However, the Hybrid only delivers an estimated 24 miles per gallon on the highway.
Inside, the 2014 Touareg is all about luxury. There are optional “Vienna” leather seating surfaces in Black Anthracite, Cornsilk Beige, or Saddle Brown with the elegant Walnut wood accents. Sound system choices include an available 620-watt, 10-speaker sound system from Danish audio specialists Dynaudio.
For those choosing the sporty R-Line trim, an interior with unique high-gloss black and brushed aluminum trim on the dashboard, center console and doors awaits them.
This second generation SUV also makes it easier to stretch out in the back. There’s an extra 2.7 inches of knee room, with a 40/20/40-split rear seat that can slide forward or back by 6.3 inches, as well as recline. That makes the Touareg the perfect vehicle for relaxing on a road trip.
In addition to being able to carry five in comfort, the 2014 Touareg can also carry all their luggage. Press a button on the remote key fob to release the power-lifting tailgate and there is space behind the seats to swallow more than 32 cubic feet of cargo.
Need more space? The 40/20/40 split seatback offers an array of load-carrying possibilities. And with all sections folded, the Touareg can carry an impressive 64 cubic feet of luggage.
With its available powertrains and trim levels, the Touareg lineup certainly offers a lot of options if you’re in the market for a mid-sized SUV. And with its German engineering DNA, it is also a lot of fun to drive, which also makes it a great vehicle for summer road trips.