Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 Volkswagen Touareg: The Best Diesel SUV Americans Can’t Buy

The Touareg was Volkswagen’s first foray into the SUV world, and it was a vehicle that combined the practicality with the Volkswagen name. They were late to the SUV party, introducing the Volkswagen Touareg to American drivers in 2004. Fans in the United States were disappointed when VW decided to discontinue the Touareg in 2018 and put its focus on the other two SUV’s in its lineup, the Tiguan and the new Atlas. However, it was a different story in Europe, where German drivers still get to enjoy this posh and powerful four-wheel-drive vehicle.

The Volkswagen Touareg goes diesel

Before being plagued by the emissions scandal, Volkswagen produced some excellent diesel engines. One of these was in the original VW Touareg. The very first generation Volkswagen Touareg in 2004 had an available 310-horsepower V10 turbo-diesel designed to set the Volkswagen brand apart. Putting out 553 lb-ft of torque, the original Touareg brought everything that was good about diesel together.

This original Volkswagen diesel was offered as an option from 2004 through 2010. A V6 TDI was offered from 2007 through 2010, and from 2009 through 2015, the infamous Volkswagen Clean Diesel V6 was offered in the Touareg. It was a very high-end vehicle for Volkswagen, competing with luxury SUVs from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Lexus. 

The 2020 Volkswagen Touareg diesel is only available in Germany

In the heart of Volkswagen country, the Touareg lives on. It’s only produced in Germany in 2020, and one of the options is a massive V8 TDI diesel engine, putting out 416 hp at 5,000 RPM. This powerhouse boasts twin-turbo sequential-charging plus and an additional electric compressor supercharger to pump up a lag-free response. The engine has a sophisticated twin-turbo design, and it puts out 664 lb-ft of torque at 1,000 RPM at just above idle. 

Power is delivered through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the 2020 Volkswagen Touareg rockets from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, which is very impressive for a vehicle this size. According to Volkswagen, it has reached a top speed on German highways of 167.6 miles per hour.  Reviewers at Car and Driver found the V8 diesel in the 2020 Touareg to be much smoother than average V6 engines, and it’s also nearly silent, which they found refreshing for a diesel option.

The new Touareg has a variety of engines

If you pick up a 2020 Volkswagen Touareg in Germany, you’ll have a choice of engines including two diesel engines. In addition to the V8, there’s a 3.0-liter V6 TDI. Volkswagen also offers a gas 3.0-liter V6, as well as a plug-in hybrid version of the V6 combined with an electric motor. Although it’s going to be a while before Volkswagen can brag about gas mileage, the new powerful V8 gets excellent fuel economy and is rated at 31.8 combined mpg.

Other features in the German 2020 Touareg include a button-operated air suspension that gives drivers an extra 2.8 inches of ground clearance. The all-wheel-drive system has an available off-road package that is software-based and adds sand and gravel settings to the system. The Touareg is just as luxurious as ever, with a 15-inch center screen and an all-digital instrument cluster. It has premium Dynaudio audio that is one of the best sound systems available in an automobile. 

While VW has turned its attention to the all-new Atlas with its car-like performance and handling, Touareg fans can be happy knowing the luxury SUV is still being produced in Germany. That means the only place we’ll get to experience the new V8 diesel engine is with a trip to the autobahn.