2009 Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI Review – $43K, 30 mpg and 406 lb. ft torque = A No-Brainer.

Expert Reviews Volkswagen

By Kurt Gensheimer


  • Powerful, Fuel Efficient, Clean and Quiet V6 diesel
  • Off-road prowess
  • Exceptional value
  • Safer than a nuclear fallout shelter


  • No 3rd row seating (but this could actually be a bling depending on one’s affinity for hauling bodies)
  • Umm…that’s it, folks!

Ruling: If you want an SUV that can do everything but schlep more than five passengers, stop your search here.

We Americans are stubborn folk. Once we make up our mind on a topic, there’s no going back no matter what. Want proof? Take for instance the antiquated opinion most Americans still have about diesel cars. Despite the horrible reputation of stench, pollution, gutlessness and noise that diesels built for themselves in the past, based on the sales of diesel cars in America today, we still can’t seem to get past this old – and now completely unwarranted – reputation.

Repeat after me – “Diesel are powerful, clean, fuel efficient and quiet.” Say it again. Then keep saying it until you actually believe it and would consider buying a diesel as your next vehicle.

Say you’re in the market for a new luxury SUV. Why wouldn’t you want one that can get 30 mpg on the freeway and generate over 400 lb. ft of torque to tow 7700 pounds all while emitting less pollution and noise than a gasoline engine? Could it be price? Well, for the luxury SUV I’m referring to in this instance, the 2009 VW Touareg 3.0 TDI, the base price is a scant $42,800 – less than some larger domestic luxury SUVs which have lower towing capacity and half the technological sophistication, handling and refinement.

I’m not going to wait until the end on this review before getting down to those proverbial ‘brass tacks’ – the Touareg 3.0 TDI is the SUV that all prospective buyers in the luxury SUV segment should be driving. Why?

  • It’s Powerful - the new 3.0 V6 TDI engine puts out 225 horsepower and 406 lb. ft. of torque.
  • It’s Fuel Efficient – 17 mpg in the city and 25 on the freeway are listed on the sticker, but we were getting 30 mpg on the freeway while tenderfooting it.
  • It’s Clean - The 3.0 TDI is 50-state emissions legal, and the only black plumes of smoke you’ll see escaping the Touareg are from the idiot who inadvertently flicked his cigarette into the back seat, torching the entire interior.
  • It’s Quiet – No rattling, clacking, thwacking, ticking or any other onomatopoeia with an -ing suffix. It’s as quiet as a gasoline engine.
  • It’s Safe – the Touareg earned 5 stars in every NHTSA crash test except the rollover rating, which it received 4 stars.
  • It’s Luxurious – Although VW hasn’t quite earned luxury brand status, the Touareg shares the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 – at half the price. Any vehicle which shares the platform of a six figure SUV is considered luxury in my book.

The only reason why someone shouldn’t be driving the Touareg is because they either have an abundance of children, ‘stuff’, or some combination of the two. Although spacious, the Touareg lacks third row seating, and has 31 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up (71 with seats down).

But even in the scenario of too many children or too much ‘stuff’, buying the Touareg might still be a boon. Having a more reasonably sized SUV will help families whittle down all those unnecessary accouterments of life – something that’s becoming all the rage as our country goes through overconsumption detox.


We’ve already mentioned the vital performance statistics of the new-to-America 3.0 V6 TDI, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how the TDI also excels in other aspects of performance. The 3.0 TDI motor operates on a common rail diesel system, which uses piezo injectors to directly inject fuel multiple times in a combustion cycle. Translation: the engine runs smoothly with virtually no boisterous racket.

It also has an extremely sophisticated exhaust purification system which uses dual catalytic converters and  is injected with a chemical called adBlue, a mixture of 68 percent water and 32 percent urea – yes, uric acid, and no, you can’t micturate into the Touareg – which removes 95 percent of exhaust particulates and turns hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and water. Translation: the exhaust is so clean that you can huff the tailpipe and not die.

(Continued on page 2)

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  • climbamtn says:

    i had the air ride in my 2005 v6 loved it. auto lowers as you get faster and lower even more for get in and out sounds over the top but it will spoil you. v6 was under powered traded it for the h2 both were exceptional rock crawlers vw had more clearance with more power it could have given h2 a run for the money on the rocks. better off road then any reviews give it credit.my next may be a new toureg if i could be convinced of the reliability. jd powers gives it a 4 out of 10 for reliability and my experience supports this

  • marco says:

    I have a 2009 TDI Touareg,just like this picture.It’s a beautiful suv, my only complain is the brake system.To me looks like to be a bit de-powered for that size of suv.May be it’s just a feeling but more power on the brakes would have not bother it.

  • B dub says:

    Has anyone done the air suspension option??

  • Doug Green says:

    Rides better than our Mercedes GL 320CDI, smoother engine and better fit and finish.
    We also bought a 2010 Jetta TDI at the same time, VW hit 2 home runs.

  • Hey Francis, I should point out that the quad exhaust isn’t a factory item, but was equipped on this particular Touareg. And yes, I think it’s worth the extra $ for the quads. Looks killer!

    Kurt G.

  • francois says:

    Color me in love. That car looks fabulous now with the front facia, wheels, quad exhaust. And the hitch reveals that it can do much, much more. Now it can really tow my dream Airstream trailer in style and with efficiency.


  • tonyb says:

    No brainer indeed Kurt … I had a friend that was doing bio-diesel in Hawaii, and when the gen before this Toureg came out, he said a large number of his customers were salivating to get their hands on a copy.

    That much torque is a great sales tool.

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