Los Angeles--Four Wheeler, the nation's oldest and most prestigious four-wheel drive publication, announced that the Volkswagen Touareg V-10 TDI has been named the winner of its coveted Four Wheeler of the Year award for 2005. The in-depth street and trail test has been held annually since 1974, and the win marks Volkswagen's first-ever in the competition.
This year's competitors included eight new sport-utility vehicles: The Touareg, Land Rover LR3, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty CRD, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, Nissan Pathfinder, Hummer H2 SUT and Infiniti QX56. To qualify for the competition, a vehicle must be entirely new or sport substantial revisions from a previous model year.
"With more torque than many full-size trucks, the Touareg's twin-turbocharged V-10 delivers effortless performance on and off pavement," said Four Wheeler Feature Editor Robin Stover. "Truly a vehicle in its own class, the Touareg encompasses all the vital components we love to see in a 4x4, yet somehow still blurs the lines between SUVs and cars with its station wagon-like styling and performance handling."
Added Senior Editor Ken Brubaker, "The Touareg's V-10 engine is a fine example of a performance-oriented, state-of-the-art diesel engine. Every judge on this year's test fell in love with it. Engine torque is delivered without restraint and low in the rpm band. This helps make the Touareg a superb crawler on rocky trails."
"The new engine gives us pause to re-think what a diesel powerplant is, and what it can be made to do in the hands of inspired engineers," said Editorial Director Douglas McColloch. "Its 550 lb-ft of torque are available throughout the powerband, yet at noise levels associated with well-appointed luxury cars. Its traction control is seamless yet sure-footed, over virtually every type of terrain. On road and off, this vehicle is a pleasure to drive."
The Touareg handily won the On-Road Ride & Drive and Mechanical categories of the weeklong competition, which included mountain trails, desert sand, and every type of terrain in between. With a powerful V-10 turbodiesel engine, driver-adjustable suspension, and electronic locking differentials, the Touareg TDI excelled in virtually every sort of driving environment.
Four Wheeler is published monthly by Primedia Inc. Complete test results and evaluations of all the competitors will be available in the February 2005 issue, on sale December 28, 2004.