With the automobile industry in crisis, it's refreshing to see steps in the right direction like Volkswagon's new Clean Diesel Technology. Their most recent model to incorporate such emission- and pollution-lowering technology is the lean and mean Touareg V6 TDI. Representing a new generation of economical and low emission SUVs, Volkswagon proves once again why they're leaders in the industry.
The new Touareg, available to U.S. consumers in Spring 2009, is one of the most efficient SUVs in line for release. With a 3.0L, turbocharged six cylinder engine that produces 225 horsepower and an impressive 407 lbs-ft of torque the new generation Touareg has plenty of seat strapping push to go along with it's cushy suspension. In a rush? Just put it into sport mode for an immediate response of more power to go along with a stiffer suspension. Most importantly, the Touareg is able to perform at an impressive 25mpg which equates to a driving range of more than 600 miles per tank. I drove it all around L.A., Malibu and back again with plenty of fuel to spare.
In addition to the Clean Diesel Technology, the Touareg TDI is one of the first to feature the advanced DENOx system. By utilizing an aqueous solution of urea known as AdBlue, harmful nitrogen oxide components of the exhaust are converted into harmless nitrogen and water without forming any undesirable side products and reducing nitrogen oxides by 90%. I even performed the "white glove test" by placing my gloved hand on the exhaust for a minute and the result was no discoloration.
While sitting in the notorious L.A. traffic (it took me a little over two hours to travel about 15 miles), I had plenty of time to play with all the interior bells and whistles. A main center console controlling radio, temperature and navigation proved to be intuitive and easy to use. Most importantly all buttons controlling interior functionality is within easy reach of the cockpit and most can be found right on the steering wheel, offering a safer driving experience. High quality materials combined with low-gloss surfaces provide a comfortable but modern experience.
The Touareg also touts some progressive safety features including the Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) which helps maintain directional control in hairy situations. There are also a myriad of sensors built into the body of the car which beep as you get close to anything (including people). This can be annoying and useless at times, but you're going to want to keep the slick body dent-free.
No price has been officially set but expect it to be around $43,000 msrp come this Spring.