The Volkswagen Touareg TDI though branded with the modest “People’s Car” moniker, credibly dukes it out with the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz in its category.
It it a significantly fortified upscale vehicle not only in design, but qualified by its hardware and performance, refinement and poise.
And if that doesn’t convince you this is luxury goods, the $65,000 price tag of the Executive model we took a short drive with in the Colorado Rockies should.
Starting at the Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Habernash, Colorado we got the chance for a brief back trail drive up into the grandeur of the fall forest, feeling out the Touareg’s powertrain and chassis behavior.
Sitting in its rich leather seats, enjoying the fine grain woods of its cabin, and the soft purr of its 3.0 liter turbo-diesel V6 was a treat from start to finish.
The engine which is also shared with some Audi models offers some 240 horsepower and an astounding 406 pound-feet of torque.
Standard is 4MOTION all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Here, there is a console mounted drive selector for either on or off-road use.
It doesn’t have the complex variety of terrain modes that some competitors do, which could be a deficit in some mind. It takes the more automatic set it and forget it philosophy.
Power from the engine, particularly in our slow moving grade climbs was silky smooth in its delivery of torque. This comes at low RPM in satisfying lunges of turbo boost that you feel in your back.
Its transmission shifts politely smooth at all times and can be shifted manually if you choose. There aren’t steering wheel mounted paddle shifter here though.
Being the top-line Executive model, our tester had literally everything offered which here included a vast panoramic roof. And the scenery here was a nice reminder of what is so nice about these.
Our drive was short here, as is our report. We’ll have a much more detailed review soon when we get more time with the VW Touareg TDI, likely a 2016 model which while identical in hardware, has new tech features for the coming year.