The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg earns an excellent Total Car Score. It combines off-roading ability (all-wheel drive, advantageous approach and departure angles, moderate ground clearance) with a superb on-road demeanor and a general air of luxury. It also offers a variety of drivetrains, including a diesel and a gasoline/electric Touareg Hybrid (covered separately).
Reviewers like the Touareg's roomy and upscale cabin, premium driving experience and 7,700-pound towing capacity. And while the gas V6 is refined and adequately powerful and the Hybrid offers the best fuel consumption and torque figures, most reviewers come down in favor of the turbocharged diesel version, which has similar low-end punch and fuel economy without the Hybrid's premium price.
Being just a five-seater might deter some buyers, but the rear seats recline and slide fore and aft, while maximum cargo space is a respectable 64 cubic feet. The 2012 Touareg is a Top Safety Pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The second generation Touareg debuted last year, so the only changes for 2012 are some minor tweaks to trim level inventory.
The five-seat 2012 Volkswagen Touareg comes in Sport, Lux, Executive and Hybrid trim levels (the Touareg Hybrid is covered separately on this site). All-wheel drive is standard throughout the range.
The first three trims may be powered by either a gasoline or diesel engine. The gasoline option is a 3.6-liter V6 with 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged diesel is a 3.0-liter V6 making 225 hp and 406 lb-ft. That's not a typo, it really is 406. Both engines are linked to eight-speed automatic transmissions.
Standard equipment for the Sport includes dual-zone air conditioning, leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, roof rails, eight-way power-adjustable front seats with memory, a power liftgate, 19-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof, push-button start, 40/20/40 split/folding rear seats, heated front seats, Bluetooth, an iPod interface, satellite radio and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Lux has 19-inch alloys, plus a panoramic sunroof, heated mirrors, real leather seating surfaces, 12-way power-adjustable seats (with driver's seat memory) and wood trim. Executive trim brings 20-inch alloys, a heated steering wheel and rear seats, push-button start, parking sensors and an upgraded sound system.
Navigation is optional in the Sport, but standard in the higher trims. A towing package is optional throughout.
Standard safety equipment includes traction and stability controls, six airbags (including full-length side curtain airbags), hill decent and hill start controls, plus electronic brake force distribution and a brake disc drying feature.
EPA estimates for the 2012 Touareg are 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for the gasoline engine, 19/28/22 mpg for the diesel.
With the proper equipment, the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg can tow up to 7,716 pounds.
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