VW's Touareg Gets a Hybrid Powertrain
The People's Carmaker ups the fuel efficiency without losing the fun-to-drive factor of its Touareg and Polo.
The big guns are being deployed by Volkswagen here at the Geneva Motor Show with all-new versions of both the Touareg SUV and the Sharan people carrier, not to mention new Polo variants including a 180-horsepower GTI.
Changes to the Touareg are impressive. As much as 441 pounds have been trimmed from the big sport-ute, and a hybrid powertrain has been added to the engine lineup that will out-accelerate many hot hatches as well as returning 34 mpg on the highway.
The entry-level engine is the 3.0 V6 TDI, which develops 240 horsepower, delivers 38.1 mpg* and emits only 195g/km of CO2. More fun will be the 4.2 V8 TDI, which produces 340 horses, will get 31 mpg* and emit 239g/km of CO2.
But it's the hybrid that's of greatest interest, bringing together a 3.3-liter supercharged V6 gas-powered engine that produces 333 horsepower and an electric motor generating 47 ponies. That translates into a zero-to-62-mph time of just 6.5 seconds.
VW's Sharan should have been put out to pasture at least five years ago. Fifteen years is an astonishing shelf life for any car, and Ford saw fit to ditch its version of the Sharan, the Galaxy, in 2006.
Now we have an all-new VW Sharan, and it is extremely handsome. There is the usual range of VW Group gas and TDI diesel engines, with important changes to the interior that include rear seats that fold away into the floor, and sliding rear doors.
The Polo GTI looks exciting, sufficiently compact to echo the agile form of the original Golf GTI. Today, 110 horsepower isn't enough, though, so this Polo gets a 180-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged and supercharged 4-cylinder engine.
Top speed is 142 mph, and it speeds from zero to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds, all with fuel efficiency of 47 mpg* and CO2 emissions of 139 g/km. It's just one of a crop of hot hatches here at Geneva, including the new Citroen DS3 Racing.
Also on display from VW are the Cross Polo and Cross Golf, jacked-up versions of the hatchbacks with rugged bumpers and a 4-wheel-drive-look that isn't carried through to the mechanics.
*Fuel economy figures are based on European measures.