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The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg features a classy look, a smartly-designed interior, plenty of performance, and is loaded with standard features.

This luxury, midsize five-passenger sport utility vehicle shares some characteristics with the more heralded (and higher priced) Porsche Cayenne. Two of the Touareg’s three powertrains are the same ones offered by the Cayenne.

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Perhaps a little-known fact regarding the Touareg is it’s a joint project between Porsche and Audi, a couple of German manufacturing heavyweights. The Touareg’s overall appeal puts it in competition with two other highly-touted midsize SUVs – the Acura MDX and BMW X5.

The 2015 Touareg arrives with a little exterior tweaking. It has been slightly revised with front and rear styling, wheel designs, and taillights. The new Touareg grille went from two bars to four. Redesigned fog lights are another change, along with new xenon headlights and LED taillights.

The Touareg is offered in the following trim levels: Sport, Sport with Technology, Lux, Executive and Hybrid. All models, except the Sport and Hybrid, are offered in either a gasoline or diesel V6 engines.

There are certainly decisions to be made when considering what Touareg to choose. The engine lineup begins with a 3.6-liter, V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. This Touareg has been clocked going 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds.

The Hybrid Touareg engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter, V6 that’s paired with an electric motor, and generates an impressive 380 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. Note that the price of the Hybrid – approximately $67,000 – is quite a bit more than other Touareg models, which begin at around $44,700. And a strange thing with the Hybrid model is the gas mileage is only 20-24 mpg.

What many Touareg shoppers will likely consider is the TDI model, a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel, V6 with 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, that gets 20-29 mpg. All Touareg models can haul up to 7,700 pounds, which exceeds most competitors.

2015 Volkswagen Touareg

  • Performance: 3.6-liter, V6, 280 horsepower; turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel, V6, 240 horsepower; hybrid 3.0-liter, V6, 380 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 17-23 mpg;  20-29 mph; 20-24
  • Estimated price: $44,705 – $66,995
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 12 years/unlimited

No matter the engine choice, the Touareg provides a refined ride that is comfortable, offers confident steering and dependable braking. It’s certainly not one of those SUVs that rides bulky with no road feel. However, both the Acura MDX and BMW X5 probably offer a better overall ride.

Although the Touareg interior is not as sophisticated as some luxury models, it offers a nice set up that is intuitive in nature and features a classy design. The materials are soft in nature and new wood accents and chrome add to the overall appeal.

Thanks in part to the leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, the Touareg has comfortable seating for all five passengers. Leg and head room is generous for both front seat and back seat occupants. Cargo space is 32.1 cubic-feet and doubles to 64 cubic feet with the rear seats down. The one knock on the interior is the driver’s rear view look can be impaired.

Standard features for the 2015 Touareg include all-wheel drive; eight-speed automatic transmission; roof rails; heated mirrors; power liftgate; hill hold assist; full-length side curtain airbags; post-collision automatic braking; dual-zone automatic climate control; eight-way power front seats (with manual lumbar adjustment); heated front seats; leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery; Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity; eight-speaker sound system; 6.5-inch color touchscreen control; a six-CD changer, HD and satellite radio with iPod integration.

There are many positives with the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg, a well-crafted SUV with a lot of upside, including appearance, extreme comfort, variety of performance options to choose, and comes with a reasonable sticker price.

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