The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid gets a solid Total Car Score, but that may not be because it's a hybrid. The conventionally powered Touareg (reviewed elsewhere on this site) scores well too, so either Touareg is a strong contender. The hybrid, though, has that added fuel-sipping advantage. Or at least some conscience-salving power.
Think of the Hybrid as the range-topping version, since it has muscle comparable to a V8 but can still return 20 mpg in the city. It also packs in a lot of standard equipment -- all for a range-topping price, naturally.
There's an element of Porsche in this machine. The Touareg shares a platform with the Stuttgart company's peppery SUV and the drivetrain in both hybrid variants is identical (the internal combustion engine is actually sourced from Audi).
The usual gas/electric traits are in attendance, such as a start/stop function that fires the powertrain up again when the brake is released. Those brakes can capture energy and store it in the battery pack; the Touareg can travel up to 30 mph on electric power only. But this setup also has a "coasting" feature where the engine is shut off on downhill stretches, although the vehicle still has power assistance for the steering and brakes.
Reviewers like the Touareg's roomy and upscale cabin, premium driving experience, 7,700-pound towing capacity and quick acceleration. Oh, and the Touareg can also go quite far off road.
Now in its second generation, the Touareg Hybrid debuted last year and sees no major changes for 2012.
The five-seat 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid is a dedicated model within a wider Touareg range. It comes with all-wheel drive as standard.
The drivetrain pairs a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 internal combustion engine with an electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack to produce 380 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque, which is then sent to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone air conditioning, leather seating surfaces, wood trim, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with memory, parking sensors, 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, push-button start, 40/20/40 split/folding rear seats, heated seats front and rear, navigation, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, an iPod interface and satellite radio.
One of the few options is a towing package.
Standard safety equipment includes traction and stability controls, six airbags (including full-length side curtain airbags), hill descent and hill start controls, plus electronic brake force distribution and a brake disc drying feature.
EPA estimates for the 2012 Touareg Hybrid are 20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.
When properly equipped, the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid can tow up to 7,716 pounds.
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