2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2

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13 CITY / 19 HWY
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What Changed for 2008:
  • Revised front and rear styling

  • Mirrors and rear spoiler reshaped to improve aerodynamics

  • New wheel designs

  • New color palette

  • Updated interior design with improved front seats

  • Improved programming for electronic stability control system
The Touareg was Volkswagen's first SUV (though purists might argue that the Beetle-based Thing of the 1970s takes that title). Introduced in 2003 and designed in conjunction with the Porsche Cayenne, the 5-seat Touareg delivered a blend of car-like handling and off-road prowess despite its low stance, according to the manufacturer. The 2007 model year saw the return of the diesel-powered Touareg, with a 10-cylinder twin-turbo engine that delivered better acceleration and fuel economy than its gasoline-powered counterparts. For 2008, the changes are broad enough that Volkswagen decided to give the model a new name: Touareg 2. The front end features headlights similar to those found on Volkswagen's Passat and Eos models. Other changes include a revised interior with improved front seats; new programming and features for the electronic stability control system; and braking assistance features.

Model Lineup
As with other Volkswagen models, the 2008 Touareg 2's trim levels are determined by engine: 3.6-liter V-6; 4.2-liter V-8; and 5.0-liter V-10 turbodiesel. All models come with power windows, locks, mirrors and driver's seat; dual-zone automatic climate control; CD player; Sirius satellite radio; sunroof; alloy wheels; rain-sensing wipers; anti-lock brakes (ABS); and electronic stability control. The V-8 engine brings with it leather seats; power adjustment for the front passenger seat; adjustable lumbar support; rear side window sunshades; Xenon headlights; and a sport-tuned suspension. The V-10 turbodiesel engine is accompanied by a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel and air suspension. The model with the V-6 engine offers a Luxury package with leather seats; wood trim; power-adjustable passenger seat; and Xenon headlamps. A Luxury Plus package, available on all Touareg 2 models, adds keyless entry and ignition; upgraded stereo; 4-zone climate control; and heated rear seats. Other options include a navigation system, rear-view camera, rear differential lock, and air suspension for V-6 and V-8 models.

The Touareg offers a choice of V-6 or V-8 gasoline engines, both featuring FSI direct fuel injection, as well as a V-10 turbodiesel engine. Output for the 3.6-liter narrow-angle V-6 engine is 280 hp at 6200 rpm and 265 lb.-ft. of torque at 2500-5000 rpm. The V-8 engine is a 4.2-liter unit with an output of 350 hp at 6700 rpm and 324 lb.-ft. of torque at 3500 rpm. The V-10 turbodiesel engine displaces 4.9 liters (Volkswagen advertises it as a 5.0-liter engine, but actual displacement is 4921 cc) with an output of 310 hp at 3750 rpm and 553 lb.-ft. of torque at 2000 rpm. All three engines use a 6-speed automatic transmission and drive all four wheels through VW's 4XMOTION all-wheel-drive system, which includes a low range for better off-road performance, says Volkswagen. EPA fuel economy figures are 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway for the V-6, 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway for the V-8, and 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway for the turbodiesel. Towing capacity is 7716 pounds (3500 kg) for all three engines.

Standard safety equipment on the 2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2 includes front air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags, two-row side curtain air bags, ABS, and electronic stability control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash-tested a 2007 Volkswagen Touareg (structurally identical to the 2008 Touareg 2) and awarded it a perfect 5-star score for frontal and side impacts and 4 stars for the rollover test.

Updates to the 2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2 include several improvements to the electronic stability control system (Electronic Stability Program, or ESP, in Volkswagen parlance). The system's rollover sensor detects a potential rollover situation and attempts to take corrective action. If a rollover is imminent, the side curtain air bags are activated. Other changes improve performance in understeer conditions, Volkswagen reports. The braking system has been altered so that should the driver suddenly lift off the accelerator, the system boosts pressure in the braking system in anticipation of a panic stop. The braking system also boosts pressure in situations where the brakes may fade (lose effectiveness from repeated hard use).

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