Auto123.com - Helping you drive happy

2004 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

Formidable Power for Knights of the Desert

When Volkswagen planned its midsize SUV, in conjunction with Porsche's Cayenne, they designed and engineered it to
The highly praised five-seat Touareg has gone diesel in a big way; that's big as in 4.9-liters, 10-cylinders and 2-turbochargers. (Photo: Rob Rothwell, Canadian Auto Press)
withstand extreme weather conditions, including the searing, arid heat of the world's largest and hottest desert, the Sahara. It was this challenging and demanding environment that inspired the name "Touareg", derived from a tribe of nomadic merchants in the Sahara known as the "Knights of the Desert."

Well those Knights just became a lot more virile thanks to 310 horsepower and a sand dune-flattening 553 pounds-feet of torque. The highly praised five-seat Touareg has gone diesel in a big way; that's big as in 4.9-liters, 10-cylinders and 2-turbochargers. Given the SUV's colossal 2,642 kg (5,825 lb) curb weight, mind you, none of its massive output goes to waste. It's the TDI's trailer-hauling, hill-climbing grunt that distinguishes it from less capable
The TDI's trailer-hauling, hill-climbing grunt that distinguishes it from less capable gasoline siblings. (Photo: Rob Rothwell, Canadian Auto Press)
gasoline siblings. I'll prattle-on later about the many virtues common to all Touaregs, regardless of powerplant, but for now humor me for awhile about the TDI.

Representing Volkswagen's Turbo-Diesel Injection technology, the letters TDI are becoming more and more common on North American roadways. Diesel engines have long enjoyed greater popularity in the European passenger car market than in our domestic market, making up almost half of the EU's current sales. Our somewhat outdated views put diesels in the category of noisy, slow, smoky, smelly, and best suited to buses and trucks. Historically, one would have an uphill battle to argue against that supposition, but time and technology has reinvented the wheel, so to speak.