Volkswagen Touareg TDI
Beauty and Brawn
THE BUZZ: The Touareg is no suburban poseur; it's a first-rate off-road machine ready to take on Moabbut with a clean-burning V-6 turbodiesel, leather seats, and a limousine-quiet interior.
THE TEST: We powered easily over rocksthanks to monster torque (406 lb-ft)made quick work of deep sand, and then dropped the suspension, low-rider style, from 11.8 inches to six, and purred along at 80 mph on the interstate. And even with four adults and luggage, we got close to 30 mpg while doing it.
THE VERDICT: True interior luxury, a 7,700-lb towing capacity, and the same gas mileage as a Subie wagon? You couldn't ask for more from an upscale SUV. From $43,960; mpg, 18 city/25 hwy; vw.com