2015 Volkswagen Touareg Quick Take: Moving Up. Safely.
The 2015 VW Touareg rolls into the new year with a general freshening that will move this mid-size SUV in a more upscale direction and also enhance its inventory of driver assistance safety features.
Volkswagen has lagged some automakers in the latter respect, but closes the gap with the addition of lane-departure warning, blind spot detection and warning, rear approach warning, post-collision automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control that includes an auto braking feature, part of a new system called front assist. Front assist includes City Emergency Braking, which can intervene in low speed traffic if system sensors (cameras and radar) determine that the driver is not responding to an impending collision.
As its name suggests, post-collision braking asserts itself following an impact by locking the binders so the vehicle doesn't roll into further trouble. Only this post-collision braking system is a standard feature in most trim levels, other than the Hybrid. The Touareg does include a standard cruise control, but the adaptive version is optional.
Unveiled at last April's Beijing auto show, the 2015 Touareg isn't easy to distinguish from the 2014 version. Styling updates are numerous, but subtle. The grille, for example, features four horizontal bars versus two, with a new logo at the center.
The revamped headlight design is set off by new LED daylight running lamps, and new fog lamps flank the lower grille opening. The bumpers have been freshened front and rear, both wearing a chrome stripe spanning the width of the vehicle. There are also three new alloy wheel designs, 18, 19, and 20 inches, and five new exterior colors.
Inside, the 2015 Touareg has a slightly more upscale appearance, thanks largely to judicious use of chrome, elegant wood trim, and white lighting in the instrument binnacle, replacing the previous red.
Powertrains carry over
Familiar also applies to the powertrains. The standard engine is VW's narrow angle VR6, rated at 280 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Options include a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel (240 hp, 406 lb-ft), and a hybrid that combines a supercharged 3.0-liter gasoline V6 (333 hp, 325 lb-ft) and an electric motor (47 hp, 221 lb-ft), for combined system output of 380 hp. All three power sources carry over, and all three are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive system, standard on all trims.
Like the powertrains, the Touareg's structure and suspension are unchanged from 2014, but this is not a bad thing. Consistent with other VW vehicles, the unibody is exceptionally solid, its responses eager, its steering precise, the braking performance strong and fade free. Ride quality-firm but well damped-bespeaks autobahn development, and interior noise levels are subdued.
EPA fuel economy ratings are 17 mpg city, 23 highway for the standard VR6; 20/29 for the turbodiesel; 20/24 for the hybrid, which is hottest performer in the lineup.
Competing in the low- to mid-range of luxury SUVs, pricing for the 2015 Touareg increases on average about $250 for four of the five trim levels. Loaded with all available Touareg features, the Hybrid is the exception with a bottom line of $67,905.
The line starts with the Sport trim, well equipped, from $45,615. The Sport with Technology model lists for $49,655 with the VR6 standard VR6), while the turbodisel TDI model goes for $53,155. The Lux trim starts at $54,080, $57,580 TDI, and the Executive is $59,610 for VR6, $63,110 with the TDI. The freshened 2015 Volkswagen Touareg reaches showrooms in January.
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