The 2010 VW Touareg Hybrid mid-size SUV equipped with a V6 TSI engine and a 52 hp electric motor will feature whopping 26mpg (9.05l/100km) fuel economy in the combined cycle, besting even the oil-sipping 2009 Touareg V6 TDI diesel-powered model that was first unveiled at the LA Auto Show last November. Currently existing only as a prototype, the vehicle will be shown in flesh either simultaneously or fairly soon after the second generation of the popular luxury off-roader will be officially revealed to the public.
There is lots of ‘firsts’ about this upcoming model.
Although many carmakers usually start their experiments with all sorts of hybrid drives using smaller Polo-class hatchbacks as their guinea pigs, it the 2010 VW Touareg mid-size crossover SUV that will get the “Hybrid” plaque on its radiator grill and will be Volkswagen’s first model equipped with a hybrid powertrain. According to the German conglomerate, they are going to use a conventional parallel hybrid system, which will make the SUV be able to run either on electric power alone (at speeds below 50km / 31miles per hour) or with the electric motor and internal combustion engine working together to supply it with a grand total of 374hp and 406lb-ft (550Nm) of torque and a plenty of acceleration power when needed.
Volkswagen also says the upcoming Touareg will be the first hybrid-powered vehicle with a rated towing capacity of 3.5 metric ton (7716 lbs). This is almost 1.25 times better than a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and only 10 percent short of what a standard issue 2009 Tahoe V8 can do. So, the vehicle is going to be as versatile as a normal version of the truck, so, if saving you some petty cash on fuel doesn’t make you feel especially enthusiastic, you may find solace in the fact that you can play your part in saving the planet without giving up the usual pleasant amenities that a luxury German SUV brings into your life.
It is also reported that the car-based SUV will also be one of first VW’s models to feature an eight-speed automatic gearbox that in theory will play its part in making the car more fuel efficient while giving you smoother acceleration and putting less strain on the V6 engine. Also, there is a really good chance that soon after the introduction of this model we will also see its much more expensive sibling -the Porsche Cayenne- wearing a hybrid badge, too.
It is not yet clear when VW plans to actually show the model off, but, if history tells us anything, it is going to be either Munich’2010 or Geneva (or possibly even New York given how valuable is North American market for the German car manufacturer) of the same year. The vehicle will probably go on sale close to the end of 2010, but don’t quote me on that.
As for yours truly, I’m still on the market for a diesel-electric hybrid, although, truth be told, I highly doubt that I will ever see one due to the widespread fear of diesels being ‘dirty’ and ‘unclean’.
Photos and “x-ray” image: Volkswagen
See also: 2009 BMW X6 Hamann tuning kit