2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Off-Road Test Drive

14 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Off-Road Test Drive

2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Off-Road Test Drive

by Ryan ZumMallen on 09.26.2013 04:30

You would expect an SUV as refined as the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Lux to be less capable off-road. You would expect an SUV this rugged to be less delicate inside the cabin. You’d be wrong, both times.

Sporting true driving luxury and more torque than an aircraft carrier could use, the 2013 Touareg TDI is an anomaly when it leaves the pavement. It seemed to welcome the punishment from the rocky terrain, and did so without asking passengers to sacrifice ride quality. It even managed to make a turbocharged diesel engine seem smooth. How?

Well, it charges you a lot of money. That’s how.

[ Photos No. 1-4 and 6-10 courtesy of Myles Regan, ReganDigitalImages.com ]

There are four versions of the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI, the Lux trim we drove came without any options for $54,325 MSRP before destination. That gets you 19-inch wheels and a sliding panoramic moonroof over the base TDI Sport. Climb up to the TDI R-Line or TDI Executive for 20-inch wheels or premium sound.

But this drive isn’t about amenities; it’s about flinging the car over a mountain. The Touareg TDI may not look the part, like the VWerks Predator or Toyota 4Runner, but it damn sure delivers in the dirt. This ostrich egg with headlights had zero trouble climbing and descending steep grades designed with the Wrangler in mind. Some of that had to do with the easy yet tight steering, forgiving suspension and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Mostly, it had to do with the incredible engine.

For a diesel, the 3.0L V6 is surprisingly quiet at idle. It doesn’t sound like a powerboat is leaving the dock behind you, which is a massive improvement over most diesels. Tickle that accelerator with a feather, however, and 240 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft of mighty torque rumble to life like the Touareg is standing still and the mountain is moving. Crawling is its forte, as the Touareg TDI uses its many gears and consistent power band to call upon that torque at any speed.

Loose gravel was no problem as the SUV bounded from bluff to bluff.

On road, you’ll have to deal with more practical issues. Is the car’s 20/29 MPG rating enough to justify its $3,500 premium over the conventional (17/23 MPG) V6 Touareg Lux with smoother ride quality? Is the interior luxurious enough for a $50,000 SUV?

Does the exhaust note scare small children in a quarter-mile radius?

Get the thing off-road and none of that matters. The 2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Lux performs better than it should in the dirt, thanks to the brilliance of its turbodiesel engine, and it’s time we got the message.

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