THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Volkswagen Touareg2 V10 turbodiesel SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: It is German engineering at its finest. Need we say more? OK, the 2008 version has received minor styling changes. But the power train keeps its status quo. After all, the permanent all-wheel-drive SUV boasts outstanding on- and off-road ride and handling.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: Available in three trims, a 5-liter V10 TDI twin-turbo diesel engine pumps out 310 horsepower at 3750 rpm and 553 pounds-feet of torque at 2000 rpm. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, which also can manually shift gears. A Servotronic power steering, which relies on the vehicle's speed, guides the vehicle to its destination. Front suspension is handled via a double wishbone. The rear suspension is equipped with a four-link independent with four-corner adjustable air capabilities. The permanent all-wheel-drive system with low-range gear and locking center differential come into play during off-road situations. The 7,716-pound towing prowess certainly deserves a mention.
LOOK & FEEL: The front and rear fascias sport a revised look, mainly with a matte chrome grille, chrome eyebrows and air intakes, organically-shaped headlight housings, darkly tinted brake lights and the dual chrome exhaust tips. The cabin coddles occupants with splashes of walnut wood on the instrument panel, dashboard, front and rear doors and center console. The overhead console depicting compass, time and date is useful. The four-spoke leather steering wheel is bulky but solid. Other standard conveniences are dual automatic climate control, 12-way power front seats, manual rear side sun shades and a power lift gate. The cargo area opens up 31 cubic feet of space, which is more than enough for loading luggage for a weekend jaunt. And if that isn't enough, just fold flat the 60/40 rear seat.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with engine and hydraulic brake assist, stability and traction control, locking center differential, rollover protection, antiskid system, Hill Descent and Climb Assist, two-speed transfer case, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.
OUT THE DOOR: $68,340, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 275/45R19 all season; wheelbase, 112.4 inches; length, 187.2 inches; weight, 5,086 pounds; fuel capacity, 26.4 gallons; highway, 20 mpg; city, 15 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Whether you plan to venture off the beaten path or stay glued on to the road, you can depend on this power horse for a spirited performance. Further sealing the deal is a top-notch interior, bold exterior styling and abundant safety features.