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2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2

Posted: 02/11/2008 - 1:04 PM ET

The totally redesigned 2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2 is a well built midsize SUV with a luxurious interior. Sharing the same car based platform as the Porsche Cayenne, the Touareg 2 has impressive off-road capabilities, but unfortunately it is not as fuel efficient or practically designed for daily use as most others in its class. The Touareg 2 is available in 3 different all-wheel-drive trims that are equipped with either a V6, V8 or V10 diesel engine. The most obvious change for all versions of the 2008 Touareg 2 is their stunning new front and rear fascias. In addition, the V6 model has 17 inch alloy wheels added to its list of standard features, and the V8 and V10 models now come standard with 19 inch alloy wheels. The electronic stability control system has been enhanced with a number of safety features including hydraulic brake assist and active rollover protection.

The 5 passenger SUV's 3 model names coincide with their engines - the VR6, the V8 and the V10 TDI. The list of standard features for the VR6 is impressive and includes 17 inch alloy wheels, a power lift gate, rear park assist, a sunroof, automatic windshield wipers, heated leatherette upholstered power adjustable front seats, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 10 speaker audio system with satellite radio and CD player, and dual zone climate control. The V8 has 19 inch wheels and adds bi-xenon headlights, leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, and an adjustable air suspension system. The majority of the V8's additional features can be added as a la carte options to the VR6. The V10 TDI adds a few more comfort features including a heated steering wheel and power height adjustable front seat belts. There are two options packages available for all models. The Technology Option Package bundles a rearview camera, 11 speaker DVD/CD player audio system with trunk mounted 6 CD changer and auxiliary jack and a navigation system. The Lux Plus Options Package consists of a keyless ignition, heated rear seats, an upgraded audio system and 4 zone automatic climate control.

Although each Touareg 2 model comes with a different engine, all models have a 6 automatic transmission and 4 wheel drive system with a low-range gear. The VR6 has a narrow angle 3.6 liter V6 that delivers 280 horsepower. Gas mileage is below average at 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. The V8 is equipped with a 4.2 liter engine that produces 350 horsepower and gets an average of 12 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. The V10 TDI features a 310 horsepower 5.0 liter turbo diesel engine. This engine is not available in California emissions states, but the V10 TDI can tow an astonishing 7700 pounds and gets 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

It is unfortunate that this VW SUV suffers from an unjustifiably high MSRP price and the hefty curb weight that has resulted in such poor gas mileage ratings for the VR6 and the V8. The smaller than average and less flexibly designed back seat is also one of the Touareg 2's drawbacks. In light of the fact that there are better value propositions in the family friendly cross-over and mid-size SUV markets, the 2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2 offers a diesel powered engine choice, a highly refined luxury sedan style interior, a lengthy list of standard features and real all-terrain conquering capability.

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