In light of my recent piece about European-market diesels, I’d like to highlight one of my favorite diesel cars in recent memory. And that car is: the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI.
The Touareg V10 TDI debuted for the 2005 model year, and – like so many cars in this segment – it answered a question that no one really asked. That question was: Why isn’t there a Volkswagen that tows like a heavy-duty pickup?
Here were the particulars: 313 horsepower, which doesn’t really seem very muscular compared to the Touareg V8. 553 pound-feet of torque, which doesn’t really seem very muscular compared to a midsize ocean liner. And unfortunately, a sticker price of $59,500, which doesn’t seem very reasonable compared to anything. By comparison, the 2005 Touareg V8 started at $45,000.
For so many reasons, the Touareg V10 TDI didn’t sell well in the States. The fact that no one needs it. The fact that no stump-pulling diesel buyer is also a VW crossover buyer. The fact that people knew from day one that it would treat the dealership service department as a second home starting the day the warranty expired. The cost to buy. Our unfamiliarity with diesels.
VW ditched the Touareg V10 TDI after the 2007 model year and replaced it with a normal, fuel efficient V6 turbodiesel that a few people actually bought. But the next time you see a pre-facelift, first-gen Touareg, look close: it might be the one that can pull your house down the street.