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Volvo XC90 D5 AWD and VW Touareg V6 TDI in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Volvo XC90 D5 AWD and VW Touareg V6 TDI in the test
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E rst rollers the wheels through mud, then stones dance in the wheel arch. While the path turns into a gravel road, the view is caught in the sunset. And then the traffic light turns green - the VW Touareg V6 TDI wakes up from its start-stop nap and pulls the driver out of his off-road dream back into the 30 km /h zone. Cinema in the head is not a rare phenomenon for SUV pilots, but can be a decisive selling point. The only catch: guys like the VW Touareg are often viewed critically even among friends: as too bulky, too thirsty. Is that still true?

The VW Touareg V6 TDI needs just 7.5 liters /100 km on our cautiously driven consumption lap (mix of city, country and motorway). Seven point five! This means it is more economical than many a large station wagon or van. And probably pulls twice as powerfully: Its new basic V6 TDI produces 204 hp and a generous 450 Newton meters. The latest common rail injection technology, a convincingly working start-stop system (standard) and an eight-speed automatic transmission that keeps the engine speed nice and low are responsible for the small thirst. This makes the VW Touareg V6 TDI one of the most modern and at the same time most economical large SUVs these days.

VW Touareg V6 TDI is more agile and manageable

We leave it here against the Volvo XC 90 D5, which has been on the market for almost ten years. In the first comparison of figures, the SUV grandpa not only keeps up well, but even has an advantage: Both four-door vehicles are around 4.80 meters long, can carry around 540 kilograms and have around 20 centimeters of ground clearance. At 2,216 kilograms, the XC 90 weighs almost 1.5 quintals less than the tested VW Touareg - even though it has seven seats as standard. There are only five in the VW. Both have all-wheel drive as standard, although the system of the Touareg can be upgraded with a rear axle lock and a reduction gear for an extra charge of 1,950 euros (only for the 245 hp version).

This is not even part of the Volvo program , the XC 90 is nothing more than an asphalt cowboy. Well, he masters a muddy dirt road without any problems, but if you start with too much momentum, you will feel the front wheels spin slightly until the Haldex clutch reacts and also transmits the torque to the rear wheels.

In the VW Touareg V6 TDI, the power flows smoothly andunnoticed to the axles, which makes it more agile and manageable even in fast corners. Although its heavy weight noticeably pushes it to the side (roll stabilization is optional), it stays on course. What is particularly impressive is its steering, which works free of any drive influences. The fact that the Volvo cannot follow so quickly has nothing to do with its suspension setup. The XC 90 lies almost as well on the road and leans less to the side. Its steering feels more artificial in comparison and should give more feedback.

Volvo XC 90 shows considerable savings

The real weak point is buzzing under the bonnet: It's the five-cylinder diesel, which, when installed transversely, takes up little space, but hangs on the gas a bit tired and revs up in pain. Some of the 420 Newton meters of the 2.4-liter engine probably devours the comfortably shifting six-speed automatic converter. Therefore, the Volvo XC 90 loses all sprint ratings.

After all, it holds back when thirsty: 8.2 L /100 km on the auto motor und sport consumption lap does not come out as an eco-fanatic either. The savings are considerable if you consider its technical age and the lack of an automatic start-stop. On the test site, he also proves that his brakes are almost as snappy as those of the VW Touareg. Both have ESP tailored to safety.

The VW Touareg V6 TDI even wins the safety chapter clearly - from the somewhat rough braking adaptive cruise control to the cautiously acting lane departure warning, it can be equipped with all common systems. In the Volvo price list, on the other hand, there is only one blind spot warning that works as exemplary as the one in the VW.

VW Touareg disappoints with the standard equipment

Ironing on its optional air cushions the VW Touareg most of the defects of the road construction authority - however, the three-way adjustable system speaks a little too clearly on cobblestones. It's worse with the Volvo, whose chassis lets the expensive 20-inchers crash into potholes. If the road surface is like cheese with holes in it, the body shakes and winds unsteadily.

Its high-quality, spacious interior, the standard split tailgate, a front passenger backrest and the individual seats that can be moved lengthways are still modern and practical Row two. The latter is also owned by the large VW Touareg, whose two rows of seats are a bit more airy, but its trunk volume is smaller.

As eagerly as he collects points here and clinches a certain victory in the end, he disappoints with the standard equipment. While the Volvo XC 90 D5 Summum already offers leather, navigation system and bi-xenon light for 55,240 euros, the VW Touareg V6 TDI comes rather sparsely furnished for 49,600 euros. At least he should learn from his grandfather.


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