The Good The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg TDI's diesel engine provides better mileage than its gasoline equivalent, and lots of power for towing or off-roading. Off-road capability is enhanced with a locking differential. Advanced driver aid technologies such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot detection are available, along with a Dynaudio audio system.
The Bad The navigation system made bizarre route recommendations, and its slow processor made destination input frustrating.
The Bottom Line The 2009 Volkswagen Touareg TDI makes for a practical and stylish diesel SUV option, but its cabin tech only partially passes muster.
2009 Volkswagen Touareg TDI
We've seen dramatically good mileage in diesel cars, such as the BMW 335d and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, but the 2009 Volkswagen Touareg TDI doesn't meet the possibly unrealistic expectations given to us by these other cars. This SUV shows diesel's ridiculously high torque, while delivering the kind of acceleration and general drivability we've come to expect from gasoline-powered cars. But we wanted to see fuel economy in at least the high 20s.
Besides the diesel engine, the Volkwagen Touareg TDI is the same as its gasoline-powered siblings. The cabin incorporates a luxury that puts the Touareg almost into Audi territory. This Touareg TDI also came equipped with Volkswagen's new navigation system, a hard-drive-based unit we first saw in the Volkswagen CC sedan. Unfortunately, the more time we spent with this navigation system, the more we grew to hate it. For other cabin tech, the Touareg TDI gets a special audio port that can interface with iPods, other MP3 players, and USB drives, very similar to the Audi Music Interface.