Touareg 3.0 V6 TSI Hybrid
and 4x4 dont
easily-wedded ring of horse
up until very recently hybrids were
only to be found in mainstream
family cars such as Hondas
Prius, where petrol
engines working in conjunction
with electric motors are designed
to raise fuel economy and reduce
FOLLOWING ON FROM THAT, petrol-electric hybrids have also found favour improving
the torque and performance of larger, more luxurious premium brand vehicles
for instance, the Lexus RX 450h large 4x4 thereby
allowing a big, silky-smooth conventional engine to accelerate marginally faster
while being more fuel-frugal, cleaner and consequently, cheaper for company
And now VW has seen the light and joined the hybrid league its recently
introduced, latest generation, large 4x4 SUV, the Touareg, can now be bought
with a petrol-electric powertrain.
All Touareg models have a high level of standard specification with even the
lowest cost SE model getting leather, burr walnut, 2Zone climate control, power
windows and door mirrors, touchscreen navigation, DAB radio, six airbags and
4Motion four-wheel drive.
the SE are Escape and Altitude specifications (for the 3.0-litre diesel-engined
versions; the V8 TDI only comes in Altitude trim). The Hybrid has just one trim
offered and that provides a very high level of equipment. Touareg prices
run from £40,155 up to £59,580; the Hybrid costs £57,970.
Defined by clean styling
lines, the latest Touareg
draws inspiration from
the design direction
established by the most
recent Golf and Polo
models. And while
theyre lower and appear
sleeker, the new
Touaregs are larger than
the previous models
40mm longer in
wheelbase and overall
length. Offsetting that,
it weighs 200kg less and
is up to 20%
Defined by clean styling lines, the latest Touareg draws inspiration from the
design direction established by the most recent Golf and Polo models.
And while they're lower and appear sleeker, the new Touaregs are larger than
the previous models 40mm longer in wheelbase and overall length. Offsetting
that, it weighs over 200kg less and is up to 20% more fuel-efficient. However,
unlike some large SUV competitors with seven seats, the Touareg remains a committed
The load space is huge: 580 litres with the rear seats in use; 1,642 litres
with them folded away. Due to the battery pack under the load floor, the new
Hybrid has slightly less but it's still way more than enough: 493 litres
and 1,555 litres respectively. All Touareg versions have a practical and usable
braked towing weight of 3,500kg.
While it can effortlessly out-accelerate many hot hatches through its combination
of supercharged 328bhp 3.0-litre V6 TSI petrol engine and an electric motor
generating 46bhp (a total output of 374bhp) with a substantial 427lb ft of torque,
the Hybrid principally uses its combination of petrol and electric for power
and drivetrain refinement.
Despite a zero to 62mph time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 149mph, the Touareg
Hybrid is officially capable of returning 34.4mpg in the combined cycle while
emitting 193g/km of CO2 from its tailpipes. Road tax is £445 for the first year,
reducing to £245 for the second and subsequent years.
Business users will appreciate the lower CO2 figure because it means a Benefit-in-Kind
tax bill of 28% a little less than the 3.0-litre diesel versions and
7% lower than they'd fork out for the 4.2-litre V8.
Fuel economy varied considerable during my Hybrid test drive from 19.2mpg
commuting in and out of towns to an overall average of 24.9mpg after some long
runs, including motorway journeys. But even that was still short of the official
Combined Cycle's 34.4mpg.
So far as warranty coverage goes, there's no difference: Hybrid owners get the
same three years/60,000 miles plus three years paintwork coverage, 12-years
body protection and three years UK and Europe breakdown assistance.
Touareg may be large but, thanks to its new lightweight construction, it's also
a comfortable and agile 4x4.
high-up stance guarantees excellent visibility and at both low in-town stop-start
speeds and during acceleration on the open road, the petrol-electric drive system
is remarkably flexible and smooth.
I should mention that
much of the smoothness
and progressive power
delivery is down to
standard on all models.
The maximum speed
of 149mph is actually
achieved in sixth gear
seventh and eighth are
overdrive ratios that help
with fuel economy...
An automatic stop/start function is standard and, mercifully, this is very fast
re-starting the petrol engine as the battery is always being topped up by regeneration
or energy recovery.
The electric motor can operate independently of, or together with, the petrol
engine, and there's a constant shuffling of power to all four wheels from both
Depending on the flatness of the surface, pulling away quite often happens in
electric motor mode only before the engine takes over as speed increases. There's
an electric-only mode which can, for instance, be selected for a stealthy pull-away
so as not to wake the neighbours on early morning starts.
I should mention that much of the smoothness and progressive power delivery
is down to the eight-speed automatic tiptronic transmission that's standard
on all models. And the maximum speed of 149mph is actually achieved in sixth
gear seventh and eighth are overdrive ratios that help with fuel economy.
For example, cruising at 50mph calls for just 1,200rpm; and even at the UK's
70mph legal motorway limit you'll see less that 2,000rpm on the rev-counter.
Against? Only seats five, expensive to buy and, despite hybrid power, real-life
fuel economy cannot match the official figures or the fuel economy of the 3.0-litre
On the plus side you get a highly-specified, large, classy 4x4 with power and
performance that's competitive with the 3.0-litre diesel models for road and
company car tax although not for fuel economy.
At present we have two hybrid camps: hybrid use for fuel economy and hybrid
use for extra performance. Make no mistake, the Touareg Hybrid is firmly in
the latter camp. David Miles
Touareg 3.0 V6 TSI Hybrid
Maximum speed: 149mph | 0-62mph: 6.5 seconds | Overall test MPG: 24.9mpg
Power: 374bhp | Torque: 427lb ft | CO2 193g/km