2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI Test Drive: So. Cal. to Baja Road Trip with a Clean Di

BleachedBora

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As seen here:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/blogs/automotive_news/4297474.html

December 30, 2008



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2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI

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2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI

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2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI

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VW TDI Touareg Baja 1000 unlimited Trophy Truck class





2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI Test Drive: So. Cal. to Baja Road Trip with a Clean Diesel Engine


ENSENADA, MEXICO — The Volkswagen Touareg was a latecomer to the SUV game, debuting as a 2004 model in a booming sport-ute market that was encouraged by relatively cheap fuel. A handful of V10 TDI Touaregs became available in the U.S., but the car's monster torque was accompanied by a high price tag and less than stellar emissions—not exactly the best of both worlds.

Four years later, things have changed. Clean diesel technology offers big torque and low emissions in a package whose only drawback seems to be the uncertainty of diesel prices. The new Jetta TDI paved the way with Prius-beating fuel economy, so we were excited to put the 2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI to the test.

To gauge how it handles a long-distance drive, we road-tripped from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico for the 41st annual running of the Baja 1000, where a highly modified VW TDI Touareg was scheduled to run in the unlimited Trophy Truck class. The action in the dirt was exciting. But the civilian V6 TDI offered a revealing look at how next-gen clean-diesel technology can make long trips in a large vehicle efficient, and fun too. —Basem Wasef

The Specs

Unlike the monster V10 TDI engine in past Touaregs, the 2009 Touareg V6 TDI model is equipped with a reasonably sized 3.0-liter V6 that uses an advanced DeNOx emissions system. Its common rail-injection system uses piezo units operating at nearly 29,000 psi, with eight-hole nozzles designed to introduce tiny amounts of diesel fuel for combustion. The direct-injection system works in conjunction with an intercooled turbocharger, and quick-start heater plugs are capable of hitting 1800 degrees Fahrenheit within 2 seconds.

Nitrogen oxide from combustion is cleaned up using urea that's sprayed into the exhaust stream before exhaust gases hit the DeNOx catalyst. The solution is called AdBlue, a trademarked formulation of synthetically produced aqueous solution that's nontoxic, odorless and biodegradable, according to VW. Adblue is stored in a 4.5-gal tank underneath the spare tire. It is sprayed continuously and metered according to the amount of exhaust gas produced by the engine; your Adblue consumption will vary based on how aggressively you drive, but the system is intended to be filled up at VW dealerships during regularly scheduled maintenance.

The V6 produces 221 hp and 407 lb-ft of torque, enough twist to placate most enthusiasts who pine for the late, great V10 model. Expect 60 mph to be reached in about 8.5 seconds, with an electronic speed limiter kicking in at a healthy 130 mph. Because nitrogen-oxide emissions are reduced by up to 90 percent, Volkswagen claims that "the engine's exhaust gases are cleaner than the air it breaths in," though we're suspecting that claim might vary depending on what city you're in. The V6 TDI is EPA-rated at 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and meets Tier 2, Bin 5/ULEV II standards.

The diesel powerplant is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission and permanent four-wheel drive with adaptive torque distribution. The Touareg's unibody construction meets continuous damping control through a four-corner, adjustable air suspension system. Six adjustable ride heights can be dialed in from the cabin, and three adjustable damping settings can also be manually adjusted. The Touareg V6 TDI comes standard with six airbags and an advanced tire pressure monitoring system. Techy options include adaptive cruise control with a forward collision warning system and active braking and acceleration. An available side-scan lane-change assistant warns the driver of vehicles in blind spots.

The Drive

Depending on time of day, the arteries that connect Los Angeles and Ensenada, Mexico, can be clogged with travelers or pleasantly wide open. During our early afternoon, midweek drive we encountered some slowdowns as we traveled through Orange County, but once past the Orange Curtain, traffic along Interstate 5 moved briskly. In fact, the flow of cars was so brisk at some points that it became difficult to test the V6 TDI's fuel economy. It's tough to remain economy-minded when cars blast past at 85 mph.

The Touareg's five-passenger cabin is roomy and quiet at highway speeds. In the best conditions—constant-speed traveling with cruise control engaged—we pulled an impressive 29.3 mpg from the diesel V6, according to the onboard digital trip computer. We would have preferred to measure our consumption the old-fashioned way (by filling up and dividing the gallons used by the miles driven), but our incremental use of fuel coupled with the Touareg V6 TDI's gargantuan 26.4-gal fuel tank wouldn't have produced a particularly accurate reading. Some more disciplined long-distance drivers have reported over 30 miles per gallon from the V6 TDI, which is believable since our 65-mile-per-hour pace wasn't the optimum speed for fuel economy.

On those brief lower-speed drives—after stopping for food—we got a tantalizing taste of the Touareg's torque, which pulls this heavy SUV like a big-block V8. And it does press your back into the seat under hard acceleration as a much larger engine would. It's satisfying in a way that hybrids seldom are.

Driving past the border and along the ribbon of highway that winds along the coast of Baja California, the Touareg was well-mannered, if a bit heavy feeling. Though a curb-weight figure has yet to be released for the TDI version, the car felt sure-footed, but not quite nimble enough to dance through a curvy canyon like, say, a smaller crossover.

The Bottom Line

Our drive to Mexico and back in a Touareg V6 TDI required few fill-ups. In fact, after several hundred miles we still had nearly two-thirds of a tank of fuel left. If we maintained our 65-mph cruising speed while getting the indicated 29.3 mpg, we could have traveled nearly 800 miles on a single tank of gas—not bad for an off-road-capable 5000-plus-pound SUV.

As for Volkswagen's participation at the Baja 1000, its Touareg TDI prototype made history as the first-ever Trophy Truck to run using clean-diesel technology. While its V12 (which produces 550 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque) ran without a hitch, a defective gearbox seal challenged the Arciero Miller Racing team, ultimately resulting in a 13th-place finish. It's a respectable showing for a newcomer, considering the rigors of Baja, and the Touareg TDI will hopefully encourage more clean-diesel technology in race-bred vehicles.
 

Blue_Hen_TDI

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BleachedBora said:
If we maintained our 65-mph cruising speed while getting the indicated 29.3 mpg, we could have traveled nearly 800 miles on a single tank of gas—not bad for an off-road-capable 5000-plus-pound SUV.
:rolleyes:
 

Lineman

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While I really want a Tiguan TDI, who knows how long until it gets to the USA. I like what I see so far for the Touareg TDI V6, and if that actually comes to the USA this year I might have to test drive it!

If I like it, I might even buy it eventhough its $10k more than the Tiguan.. *SHAKES FIST AT VW*
 

chewy

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agdtec said:
Sounds like a great suv, but doesn't VW have a 5 cylnder engine? Il'd love to have a touareg and just a touch more mpg.
German VW web site says that the V6 TDI gets 25.3 mpg (combined) while the 5 cylinder TDI with 64 less horsepower gets 24.8 mpg. The V6 TDI is much more advanced than the oldish 2.5 TDI.
 

TheRedMagi

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My wife would like to be buried in this... but personally I think a 35-40 mpg tig is a better choice, fiscally. What the MSRP going to be? hope its not like the v10, where it only came in the top model and a 35k Touareg becomes a 60k Touareg.
 
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wesk1954

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Smithers said:
25mpg? BFD.
Are you kidding me? It's a huge deal. A very large, heavy, plus, all wheel drive vehicle that produces 25 mpg.

Nobody, no way, no where, could touch it.

Wes
 

agdtec

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chewy said:
German VW web site says that the V6 TDI gets 25.3 mpg (combined) while the 5 cylinder TDI with 64 less horsepower gets 24.8 mpg. The V6 TDI is much more advanced than the oldish 2.5 TDI.
How hard would in be to upgrade the engine? I wouldn't think the block would need to be upgraded, right? just the injection and computer.

Or am I wrong again.
 

jasonTDI

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wesk1954 said:
Are you kidding me? It's a huge deal. A very large, heavy, plus, all wheel drive vehicle that produces 25 mpg.

Nobody, no way, no where, could touch it.

Wes
Got that right! My 04 Grand Cherokee W/inline 6 and quadratrac gets 17mpg at 63mph. 15.1 at 75. All bets are off if you are in 4wd.....Around town the trans shifts at 2300rpm. 11.7mpg on a GOOD day:eek: . That truck weighs 4000lbs.
 

Lapidator

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The 2009 Nissan Murano is 18/23. My buddy's 2004 gets 24+ on the highway.

I think the 29MPG at 65MPH is pathetic. I would say 33+ would be the minimum expectation for the premium you'd pay for the diesel package.

Lap
 

wesk1954

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Lapidator said:
The 2009 Nissan Murano is 18/23. My buddy's 2004 gets 24+ on the highway.

I think the 29MPG at 65MPH is pathetic. I would say 33+ would be the minimum expectation for the premium you'd pay for the diesel package.

Lap
I owned a Murano, and yes, consistently received 24 mpg. BUT, there's a big difference between 24 and 29 IMHO, especially when considering the VW is larger and much heavier, not to mention MUCH more optioned. (although out of 13 Nissan's, and over 20 new cars in my life, the Murano still stands as my favorite).

Wes
 

Lapidator

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wesk1954 said:
I owned a Murano, and yes, consistently received 24 mpg. BUT, there's a big difference between 24 and 29 IMHO, especially when considering the VW is larger and much heavier, not to mention MUCH more optioned. (although out of 13 Nissan's, and over 20 new cars in my life, the Murano still stands as my favorite).

Wes
I don't think the Toureg is significantly bigger then the Murano.

29 vs. 24 is only 20% better. Diesel would have to be less than $2.4 based on $2. for gasoline.

Not good enough to justify the extra cost of the diesel Toureg vs. the gasser.

I don't know what the answer is... smaller engine? Still seems to me that 33+ highway should be the goal. I think folks converting their late 90's Toyota 4Runners were getting 30+ highway last time I looked (using the 1.9L engine).

Lap
 

Lineman

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Wait a few months for the price of gas/diesel to be closer.

If you bought a new car 6 months ago when gas and diesel were over 3$ a gallon it was no question that the TDI was the winner.
 

TheRedMagi

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Lineman said:
While I really want a Tiguan TDI, who knows how long until it gets to the USA. I like what I see so far for the Touareg TDI V6, and if that actually comes to the USA this year I might have to test drive it!

If I like it, I might even buy it eventhough its $10k more than the Tiguan.. *SHAKES FIST AT VW*
Well the Audi version of the Tig is coming in the spring according to Audi reps. You could go that route... While the audi A3 is at least a year away, though they had one at the NAIAS last week. Figures if you want a small diesel car right now, its VW, you want a small diesel SUV, its Bimmer or Audi. Now you want a big diesel SUV its VW? Kinda breaks the pattern there :)
 

HumbleSmoker

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Won't the mileage improve to close to 33 mpg as it breaks in? I thought these little diesels picked up considerably with mileage.:eek:
 

spoolhaus

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wesk1954 said:
Are you kidding me? It's a huge deal. A very large, heavy, plus, all wheel drive vehicle that produces 25 mpg.

Nobody, no way, no where, could touch it.

Wes
My '08 Grand Cherokee (3.0CRD) is pretty darn close!!!!:p
 

LRTDI

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TDI update is going to be greatly limited by the higher cost of diesel.

Now why is that and how do we close that gap?
 

German_1er_diesel

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TheRedMagi said:
Well the Audi version of the Tig is coming in the spring according to Audi reps.
The Q5 is coming, but that's a significantly heavier vehicle than the Tig, and based on a completely different platform.
 

tditom

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wesk1954 said:
Are you kidding me? It's a huge deal. A very large, heavy, plus, all wheel drive vehicle that produces 25 mpg.

Nobody, no way, no where, could touch it.

Wes
not sure what the baby touareg will list for, but performance-wise, this certainly matches it:

X5 xDrive35d

Fuel-efficient power.
Starting at $51,200 MSRP
3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder engine
265 horsepower
xDrive, intelligent all-wheel-drive
26 mpg hwy*
View All Model Highlights

 

gary 32

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7 seats please vw

Let's not forget my 2007 GL 320cdi with 7 seats... I have had my past issues with MB and German arrogance but this has been a solid vehicle with no issues. Mine has no exhaust urinal, legally registered in Los Angeles, CA. Real life mileage almost all in some sort of traffic always with multiple passengers and load, 19mpg. Gary
 

Kabin

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HumbleSmoker said:
Won't the mileage improve to close to 33 mpg as it breaks in? I thought these little diesels picked up considerably with mileage.:eek:
Only happens on the forums after drinking the kool-aid.
 

volkswagendude

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TheRedMagi said:
Well the Audi version of the Tig is coming in the spring according to Audi reps. You could go that route... While the audi A3 is at least a year away, though they had one at the NAIAS last week. Figures if you want a small diesel car right now, its VW, you want a small diesel SUV, its Bimmer or Audi. Now you want a big diesel SUV its VW? Kinda breaks the pattern there :)
German_1er_diesel said:
The Q5 is coming, but that's a significantly heavier vehicle than the Tig, and based on a completely different platform.
I would imagine that an Audi equivalent to the Tig would have to be called Q3? Is that even in the cards yet? It would be wonderful if it was. Q5 would be right in line with the Touraeg. And of course, we already have the Q7. Do I have this thinking right?
 

German_1er_diesel

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Q3 is in the cards, but the Q5 is not related to the Touareg.
Q7 is on a stretched Touareg platfor but with a different AWD system.
Q5 is on the MLP platform, like the A4/A5
 

TheRedMagi

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German_1er_diesel said:
The Q5 is coming, but that's a significantly heavier vehicle than the Tig, and based on a completely different platform.
Seems odd to me. Looked at both of them at NAIAS couple weeks ago and the q5 is nearly identical interior space, trunk etc. Now I give you with all the luxo stuff its going to be heavier, but I highly doubt Audi would create a different platform for just the q5. Doesn't make $ sense.
 

German_1er_diesel

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TheRedMagi said:
Seems odd to me. Looked at both of them at NAIAS couple weeks ago and the q5 is nearly identical interior space, trunk etc. Now I give you with all the luxo stuff its going to be heavier, but I highly doubt Audi would create a different platform for just the q5. Doesn't make $ sense.
They didn't create a distinct platform for any of those vehicles. The Tiguan is based on the Golf Plus, the interior is even about 90% the same.
Golf Plus interior:


Tiguan interior:


The Q5 is on the MLP platform, like the A4/A5. It has the same wheelbase - 2808mm - as an A4 quattro. Which is about 200 mm longer than the Tiguan's 2604 mm. There's also about 200 mm more total length in the Q5, 70 mm more width and a bit lower heigth.

Just look at the engine orientation: longitudinal engine in the Q5, transversal in the Tig. The Tig has Haldex AWD with a heavy FWD bias, the Q5 Torsen with a 60% RWD bias.
The top of the line engines for the Tig are the entry level engine for the Q5 (2.0 TDI, 2.0 TFSI).
 
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