Volkswagen kicked off the launch of the all-new second-generation Touareg SUV at the Geneva Auto Show with the introduction of a new hybrid model. The new Touareg Hybrid comes complete with a supercharged and direct-injection 3.0-liter V6, electric motor, battery pack and eight-speed automatic transmission. The result is a combined fuel economy rating of 28.6 mpg in the EU cycle, which is likely to be more like 24-mpg combined for the U.S. That’s good, but not as impressive as you might think, when compared to the current TDI model with a rating of almost 32 mpg. Other engines offered include a 3.6-liter V6, as well as a 335-hp 4.2-liter TDI V8 (which won’t be available in North America).
Expect big gains in fuel economy across the vehicle range due to the 8-speed tranny as well as a vastly lighter overall weight (by 460 lbs). VW says the new SUV is 20 percent more efficient than the outgoing model.
We have to say the SUV’s new look is impressive, with a sporty crossover style that includes the two-bar grille found on the current Golf.
And while it may look like a crossover, the Touareg remains an SUV with true off-road capability. Gasoline models get VW’s 4MOTION system with all-wheel drive, a Torsen limited-slip differential and an off-road driving program that increases the threshold for ABS, EDS and ASR, while activating Hill Descent Assist and adjusting the transmission shift points. The V6 TDI can be had with an optional Terrain Tech Pack with a more rugged transfer case, as well as reduction gearing and both center and rear locking differentials. Like the first-generation model, the new Touareg has a rotary switch to control the different off-road settings. The five modes include: On-Road; Off-Road; Low, which includes off-road plus reduced gearing, higher shift points and no automatic upshift in manual mode; The addition of the center differential lock; and finally the addition of the rear differential lock. VW makes the rather (and almost absurd) claim that this AWD system allows the new Touareg to, “conquer any terrain on Earth.”
We’re not sure about that, but the new style updates make a big difference and the improvement in fuel economy is always a plus.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid
Official release after the jump: