Can an enormous off-roader really be an environmental choice? That’s what VW is hoping to convince buyers with a new BlueMotion version of its Touareg SUV.
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The BlueMotion label represents the most environmentally efficient vehicles in the Volkswagen range and has already been applied to the Polo and Golf ranges, among others. It might seem like a contradiction in terms, but VW really has developed a Touareg to wear the tag. And it’s no mere badging exercise, either.
Touareg’s emissions cut
Based on the existing 3.0-litre V6 TDI turbodiesel automatic, the BlueMotion produces 222bhp and a considerable 405lb ft of torque (pulling power). Yet thanks to a range of detailed modifications, CO2 emissions are down from 244g/km to 219g/km, and fuel economy improves from 30.4mpg to 34.0mpg.
The changes include improved aerodynamics and a 25mm reduction in ride-height to make the Touareg more slippery through the air, a more efficient alternator, low rolling resistance tyres, and the addition of brake energy regeneration. This recovers energy to charge the battery whenever the brakes are applied, reducing engine workload.
Of greater interest to most buyers, the BlueMotion features drop the Touareg into Vehicle Excise Duty band K. At £215 a year, road tax is £190 cheaper than the regular 3.0 V6 TDI, and the entry-level 2.5 V6 TDI manual.
Reduced running costs
Volkswagen calculates buyers will save around two pence per mile at current fuel prices, adding up to £10.99 a tank, or around £400 a year. Performance is more than adequate – 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, and 126mph top speed – while the four-wheel drive Touareg remains capable off road.
Two versions are on offer, BlueMotion and BlueMotion SE. Cruise control, 17-inch alloys and leather multifunction steering wheel are standard; SE adds dual-zone climate control, touchscreen satellite navigation, leather seats, wood trim and 18-inch alloys among its extras.
Priced from £34,150 for the regular model and £37,545 for the SE, the Touareg BlueMotion is £1,490 more expensive than its non-BlueMotion stablemates. So it will take nearly three years of driving to recoup the cost difference.
The Volkswagen Touareg BlueMotion is on sale now. First deliveries are expected in September.
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