Mom’s Taxi: VW Toureg Hybrid offers comfort, fuel efficiency
As parents, we spend a lot of time in the car shuttling the kids to school and doctor’s appointments, to sports practice and ballet lessons. In between there’s the drive to work and trips to the grocery store and dry cleaner. Most of us go about our daily drives without much thought to our own personal comfort. But, if it were a perfect world where there were no such thing as family budgets or bottom lines, wouldn’t driving around in "executive-level" luxury be awfully nice?
Think about it: Some people will go all out to purchase a top-quality mattress and high-thread count cotton sheets to maximize their sleeping experience, because so much time is spent in slumber. Why not go all out on the family car? I realize there’s a big difference between the price of sheets and a luxury car, but you get the point.
These were the thoughts I had while driving around in the 2013 Volkwagen Toureg Hybrid. This five-passenger luxury sport utility vehicle is just loaded with tons of passenger comfort features, all while offering a premium driving experience for the lucky person behind the wheel. Our test car had a base price of $62,575 with many of those creature comforts packed in as standard features.
The 2013 Toureg offers buyers a choice of engines: either the world’s first supercharged hybrid engine, or a TDI Clean Diesel engine. Our test car featured the 3.0-liter hybrid engine that offered a gutsy 380 horsepower and 428 lbs.-ft. of torque. That’s like having a V-8 engine under the hood. But, in fact, what you get is a car with the fuel efficiency of a V-6 and, at speeds up to 30 miles per hour, zero emissions of an electric car. Nice to think of, especially since most of our family driving is around town and usually under 30 miles an hour.
The Toureg was redesigned and re-engineered for the 2011 models, and there are just a few tweaks on board for 2013. They include increased horsepower for the TDI engines, LED tail lights on the Hybrid, 18-inch Karakum wheels and the addition of decorative wood trim. The Touareg’s redesign included adding more inches to the sides and a little less height. With this longer wheelbase there is a little more room inside the cabin for you and your passengers. That translates to a generous amount of head and leg room throughout, as well as a large cargo area to swallow up luggage, golf clubs and plenty of groceries for the hungry hoard.
Other design elements include L-shaped tail lights, a blacked out lower bumper with inset chrome exhaust tips and a chrome plate atop the bumper, which is a nice-looking touch. In the front, fender flares incorporate fog lamps.
The interior of the Touareg Hybrid is all about luxury. Leather seats and walnut wood trim accents set the tone. With an extra 2.7 inches of legroom, your passengers can really stretch out. The rear seats fold in a 40/20/40 split, to offer an array of load-carrying options, and the seat bench itself is flat which is more comfortable for the rear middle passenger.
Designers added refinements to insulation to reduce cabin noise over previous models, and it is definitely noticeable at freeway speed. It is whisper quiet in here.
Some models are equipped with a panoramic sunroof, which is 350 percent larger than previous models. It is standard in the "Lux," "Executive" and "Hybrid" models, and really lets a lot of outside light into the car.
There are many standard active and passive safety features on board the 2013 Touareg. Six air bags, thorax air bags for driver and front passenger, side curtain protection for the front and second row, are all standard. Improved head rests help reduce the risk of whiplash injuries. All models also have Anti-slip Regulation, anti-lock brakes, auto hold and hill hold assist and Volkswagen’s version of Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC).
Overall, the Toureg is a delight to drive and creature comforts abound. The supercharged hybrid engine offers the best of all worlds: speed and fuel efficiency. The vehicle handles well and is packed with safety features to protect the family. It’s a great way to travel if you’re all about comfort and not so concerned about cash.
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