a diesel that is available in all 50 states

2006, Volkswagen, Touareg

On October 15, 2006 the oil companies will clean up their diesel fuel, taking it from 300 ppm of sulfur to 12 ppm of sulfur. The best diesel fuel America has ever had and Volkswagen is not making any diesel vehicles, except the Touareg, for 2007. Why? Because the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have tightened the emissions regulation and the auto manufacturers are scrambling to meet the regulations of all 50 states. This means they will be meeting the CARB regulations, which are stricter than the Federal EPA regulations. Why? Because CARB sales represent about 25 percent of America's vehicle purchases. That's right; those big blue states that have tightened the diesel regulations have a stronghold on America.

Most people know that diesel gets 25 percent better fuel economy than gasoline. So, with the rise in fuel prices happening at the same time that diesel is being taken off the road, what does one do for better fuel economy? Buy a Volkswagen V-10 touareg diesel SUV. The 2007 Volkswagen V-10 Touareg diesel is the only Volkswagen diesel that will be sold in all 50 states. There are other Touaregs;

There is a 3.6-liter FSI V6 premium fuel, that gets 280hp @ 6,200 rpm with a Maximum torque of 265 lb.-ft @ 2,500 to 5,000 rpm. The 3.6 has a 0 to 60 mph time of just 9.4-seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 122 mph. The EPA city rating of 16 mpg and a highway rating of 21 mpg. The V-6 starts at $37,990

The 3.6-liter will be replacing the 3.2-liter V6, premium fuel, that has 240hp @ 6,000 rpm with the Maximum torque of 229 lb.-ft @ 3,200 rpm. The 3.2 has a 0 to 60 mph time of just 9.4-seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 122 mph. The EPA city rating of 16 mpg and a highway rating of 21 mpg. There maybe some 3.2-liters on the lots still, though, so you could get a good deal.

2006 Touareg V8 offers a slightly bigger 4.2-liter, 254-cu. inch engine that makes 310 hp at 6,200 rpm and 302 lbs.-ft. of torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. The Touareg V8 goes from 0 to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds and to an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph, and gets an EPA-rated 14 mpg in the city and 18 miles per gallon on the highway. MSRP V-8 starts at $42,990.

And then there is the 2006 Touareg V10 TDI, a high tech diesel, one of the largest, most powerful SUVs on the road. The 5.0-liter, 300.2 cu.-inch ten-cylinder, twin-turbocharged direct injection diesel engine punches out 310 hp at 3,750 rpm and an astounding 553 lbs.-ft. of torque at just 2,000 rpm, with a 0 to 60 mph time of just 7.5-seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 130 mph. As expected from a diesel, fuel economy is better than even the V6 Touareg, with an EPA city rating of 17 mpg and a highway rating of 23 mpg. The V-10 MSRP starts at $59,020. The competitors for the Touareg are, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Infiniti FX35, Infiniti FX45, Lexus RX 330 and LX 470, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Porsche Cayenne and the Range Rover.

But how does the Touareg make the diesel emissions regulations when no other Volkswagen sedan can? By 25 pounds. There is a clause in the CARB law, for 2007, that says that if your vehicle weighs over 5,800 pounds it is exempt from the diesel emissions regulations. The 2007 VW Touareg V-10 diesel weighs 5,825 pounds. Clearly, a game of "tell me the rules and I'll win" on Volkswagens part, but for anyone looking for an SUV that gets a combined fuel economy of 20mpg this is a win for them as well.

Volkswagen has fixed some of the problems with the old Touareg and added upgrades for the '06 models. The 2006 Touareg will be available (known as an option) with an advanced DVD Navigation System that includes audio CD capability for audible commands. There are two displays for visual directions, one is located at the top of the center console and the other is a color display in the instrument cluster, with both displays controlled through a multi-function onboard computer.

Freeing up interior room is an optional outside rear spare tire carrier which is capable of handling a full-size spare tire and matching alloy wheel. Inside the fully carpeted rear cargo area you will find a 115-volt power outlet, replacing the 12V outlet.

The 2006 Touareg V6 model is now equipped with an updated brake system, including ABS (anti-lock braking system) and power-assisted, four-wheel disc brakes. Similar braking systems are also standard on V8 and V10 models. Standard equipment includes traction control with ABS, Anti-slip Regulation, Electronic Stabilization Program with brake assist, Hill Descent Assist and Hill Climb Assist. Both the V8 and V10 Touareg models have the Servotronic power steering as standard. High intensity gas-discharge Bi-Xenon headlamps for enhanced nighttime driving and an electronic parking assist system are standard on the V10, optional on the others.

Standard interior features include heated front seats, Climatronic dual-zone automatic climate control, genuine aluminum and real walnut wood interior trim, and chrome applications on the instrument cluster, doors and glove box. The V8 and V10 TDI models offer genuine Myrtle or Vavona wood interior trim, Climatronic four-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats as options.

The Touareg comfortably seats five adult passengers and can hold up to 31 cubic feet of cargo, or up to 71 cu. ft. with the split rear seats folded down. An optional Class III trailer hitch receiver offers a towing capacity of more than 7,500 pounds.

SUVs are not the darlings they used to be, and that is partly because of the fuel economy. If you are concerned about fuel economy look at the V10 and buy it now. There are more expensive SUVs that are getting 13-18 mpg, while the V-10 TDI gets 17-23 mpg. Diesel vehicles will be in scarce supply for the next couple of years, especially if you live in California.

By Lou Ann Hammond

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Images of the 2006, Volkswagen Touareg

2006 VW Touareg V-10 diesel on Pikes Peak
2006 VW Touareg V-10 diesel on Pikes Peak
the V-10 diesel engine
the V-10 diesel engine
inside the Touareg
inside the Touareg
and you can off-road too
and you can off-road too