Having owned a 2004 Touareg V6, I've always loved the duality of the vehicle's nature. Equipped with the standard spring steel suspension it was an amazing road-going vehicle with exceptional off-road capabilities. A new feature seen in the 2009 Touareg V6 TDI, called Comfort Suspension, changes the Touareg's driving characteristics-and not necessarily in a good way. While going in a straight line at low speeds it was fine, but as soon as I got up to speed or hit a corner the confident handling that I remembered from driving my '04 was quickly replaced with apprehension and the desire slow down. For the average soccer mom driver the suspension will offer comfort and stability. If you're more performance-minded like moi, opt for the four-corner air suspension or upgraded coil springs with a stiffer suspension and increased handling.

Having driven every variation of the Touareg available besides the V10 TDI, the V6 TDI engine is by far the most promising configuration to date. It's quieter than the VR6 gas engine, has more torque, and most importantly gets much better gas mileage. Volkswagen only expects 15 to 20 percent of Touareg sales to be the V6 TDI, but hopefully the American people can disprove those low estimates. The real hurdle might be keeping the TDIs in stock so consumers have the chance to experience it, because in order to understand it, you have to drive it.

And for those worried that the diesel engine needs more upkeep than the gas engine, the Touareg V6 TDI comes with a no charge Carefree Maintenance Program that covers all the scheduled maintenance including the ADBlue solution for 3 years or 36,000 miles.

2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI
* Layout
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive

* Engine
3.0-liter V6, dohc, 24-valve,turbocharged and intercooled

* Transmission
Six-speed automatic

* Suspensio
Independent front and rear

* Brakes
Vented front and rear discs

* Dimensions
Length/Width/Height (in.):
187.2/75.9/68.0
Wheelbase: 112.4 in.
Curb Weight: TBA

* Performance
Peak Power: 221 hp
Peak Torque: 407 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm 0-62
mph: 8.5 sec.
Top Speed: 130 mph

Price Tag
$TBA

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