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Congratulations are in order for Volkswagen. The Routan has just earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award, making it the ninth Volkswagen vehicle to receive this rating. This also means that Volkswagen has received the highest number of IIHS awards for vehicle safety.
Helping them reach this coveted spot, Volkswagen scored high marks with 2011 models including Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, CC, Passat, Tiguan, Touareg, Golf and GTI. To drive away with a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must earn a rating of Good in the IIHS crash-test series, which includes front, side and rear crash tests, as well as pass the roof-strength test. That means that these VW vehicles provide the best overall protection in the most common accident situations.
“We’re delighted that the Routan has been given this prestigious award. We are even more delighted that Volkswagen now leads the American automotive industry with nine Top Safety Picks,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “This is the reward for all the hard work we continually put in the development of new technologies for our cars.”
On July 13, Rainer Zietlow and his team set a new world record for driving the length of the Pan-American Highway covering nearly 16,000 miles through 14 countries in a 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel SUV.
The team set off on this journey to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the legendary Pan-American Highway. The team began their adventure on July 2 at the southern-most tip of Argentina where the Pan-American Highway begins, then travelling through Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Canada. The team drove day and night, taking five hour shifts throughout the trip.
Zietlow chose the Toureg TDI Clean Diesel for its durability, high-performance and long-range fuel efficiency. The Touareg features a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 TDI engine that produces 225-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The clean diesel SUV consumes 30 percent less fuel and produces up to 25 percent lower CO2 emissions than comparable gasoline vehicles.
The journey was to benefit charity organizations that work in 48 developing countries. Zietlow will donate 10 Euro cents for each kilometer that was driven to two villages in Latin America managed by Plan International.
Zietlow will travel to VW dealerships across the U.S from August 1-30 with the record setting Touareg so the public can learn about the record setting journey.
GALLERY: 2011 Volkswagen Touraeg TDI
A little sad that you’re stuck with a Volkswagen Touareg now that you’re a family man and having to haul around your kids to their weekend soccer games? Variety is the spice of life, and JE Design has released a very clean widebody kit for the new VW Touareg that does a fantastic job transforming the mundane commuter to a (surprisingly) good looking SUV.
It all does come at a price though with an MSRP of around $6,425. That gets you the complete widebody kit including a new front grill, front spoiler, front and back wheel arches (to widen the vehicle), rear diffuser, roof spoiler and rear hatch blend. A new set of blacked out headlights gives the front end of the Touareg a tad more aggressive look. Given that the full kit is constructed in polyurethane and primed when it gets to you, we can understand the price.
JE Design also points out that the rear bumper design is made to fit any sort of exhaust tip, just in case you have some sort of package on your Touareg. For $765, you can grab yourself a JE Design exhaust for the Touareg.
In addition to the performance offered from the exhaust, JE Design offers an ECU remap that increases horsepower of the 4.2L TDI from 340-hp to 410-hp. Torque also jumps from 590 ft-lbs to 685 ft-lbs. The ECU remap is available for $3,850 and comes with a one-year warranty for the powertrain. For $255 more, the warranty can be extended an additional two years.
Lowering the vehicle 1.35-inch or so is an electronic module offered at $1,830. 21×10-inch wheels are available in several finishes along with spacers to match the widebody conversion for $6,665.
You can get the complete package for $25,350 or so that includes paint and installation. Quite a chunk of change, but we’re digging the results.
GALLERY: JE Design Widebody Volkswagen Touareg
Official press release available after the break.