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Towing Test


Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

by Ken Walker

23rd May, 2007

Volkswagen Touareg V10 
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Is this 4x4 just another 4x4, or is it a 4x4 disguised as a wolf in sheep’s clothing? In a word ‘yes’ it is the Wolfsburg wolf. Because it is indeed disguised in sheep's clothing, designed to pull the wool over the eyes of other 4x4 drivers. That is the way the team at Next Car saw the outstanding Touareg V10 diesel.

How does it tow though? With so much torque available, this 4x4 is bound to demonstrate to us and others just how the modern day top-line tow cars differ from those of the past.

Volkswagen Group Australia provided the team with a Touareg V10 TDI 'prepared for towing'. We chose to tow an 18’ foot pop-top/shower caravan. Included in the tow kit was a Tekonsho electric brake controller and a round 7-pin plug for the lighting and electrical system. This is where the only problem occurred. More on the problems later in this article. The supplied tow package included an adaptor which fits the European plug, so a quick trip to a local auto parts outlet procured the appropriate connection. And so our towing adventure commenced.

The caravan, a dual axle model fitted with 2 x 60 litre water tanks, which when filled took the loaded weight of the caravan to a little over 2,000 kgs. This is well within the Touareg's towing capacity of 3,500 kgs for the 5-litre V10 diesel model. The tow ball down load is limited to 350 kgs. Our loaded pop-top was certainly less.

After collecting the VW Touareg in Sydney and heading north along the F3 freeway to our base in Newcastle I knew that this was going to be a great working holiday. But I was pondering whether the 2 weeks allocated for our travels was going to be enough to savour the already apparent delights of the powerful diesel engine!

We set off from Newcastle along the New England Highway heading in a northerly direction towards our destination of Moree in north western NSW. The problem mentioned earlier became evident when a morning tea stop was called by a fellow travelling companion in our 2-van convoy. The 3-way refrigerator in our caravan was not cooling. Also, a motorist called on a citizens band radio to inform us that when our brakes were applied the van’s indicator lights came on as well as the brake lights. Checking for short circuits in the van to no avail I then checked the wiring of the vehicle power socket. It was here that I found the plug had been wired with a thin cable of about 2 mm, when a 6 mm cable should have be used to carry enough power from the vehicle to operate the minimum requirement for refrigeration and van lights. Apart from this almost minor hiccup no other faults were encountered. The travelling companions stayed behind to act as a buffer for clear indications of our intentions.

After morning tea in Murrurundi it was on to Gunnedah for lunch. Over the top of the Liverpool Ranges the Touareg V10 TDI put on a display of the attributes that make this a most desirable tow vehicle. It was over hill, over dale without any hesitation whatsoever with the bi-turbo pumping out power that would make Superman feel totally inadequate. Keeping the speedo needle on the advisory speed limit and the statute limit in the slow lane over the ranges not a vehicle overtook this fire snorting monster. It was a different story on the plains however with the rubber-neckers going by open mouthed, doing in excess of 140 km/h, just to clear the rig. Foreign readers should note that the average Australian driver will do what ever it takes to overtake a caravan. The V10 VW has a staggering 750 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm and power is rated at 230 kW at 4,000 rpm. Taking a quick look at the competitors, you promptly determine there is not another diesel 4x4 on the Australian market, at present, which comes close to the torque rating of the Touareg V10 TDI. There is no doubt in my mind that the V10 would tow a van up to 3,500 kgs with excessive ease. One might expect high fuel consumption whilst towing a caravan, with a vehicle this powerful. But this was not to be. Although a fuel usage test was not conducted, our rough calculations suggest about 13 litres per 100 kms was achieved. Impressive, oh yes, as my old 4.2 litre oil burner used 18 litres per 100 kms when towing the same caravan.

Towing the 18’ van was not a problem as it tracked behind the 5.0 litre V10 well, not getting away from the tow vehicle at any time. A 4 bar stabiliser system was used, as this was considered more than adequate given the tow capabilities of the Touareg V10.

The team left Moree after a few days and headed eastward to Inverell, where it was planned to stay for some sapphire fossicking expeditions. Around Inverell, most trips were on gravel roads to the fossicking areas which the VW Touareg handled well, although we did not have the van following us. No doubt in my mind, though, that the loose surface would not cause any sort of problem with towing.

So how did the team rate this tow test? Well, 10 out of 10 was the only figure that came to mind. This consultant is going to approach the editor for a pay increase to buy a Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI because this car deserves to be out there ..... out there towing the grey nomads into the sunset of this great country!

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