What Is the Touareg's Fuel Economy Performance In the Real World?

In the United States every car has a fuel economy rating assigned to it by the Environmental Protection Agency and the automakers use these numbers in their marketing efforts. Consumers also use the numbers when car shopping to compare the fuel economy performance of different models.

The trouble is are these numbers accurate? Sometimes they are quite accurate and sometimes they can be off by a significant amount. One case where they are not quite as accurate as they could be is in the case of the VW Touareg TDI and its MPG estimates.

Real World VW Touareg TDI MPG Numbers

As you may have heard the way the EPA does the testing that results in a fuel economy rating is not exactly a good replication of the way you and I drive on a daily basis. Sometimes the results of the fuel efficiency tests match the real world capabilities of a vehicle fairly well but in other cases they vary in favor of the car or against it.

Volkswagen has become somewhat legendary for the turbodiesel TDI models they produce. Originally the only models were the Jetta TDI and Passat TDI but the lineup of diesel models is expanding and their popular Touareg TDI comes with a 225 HP, 407 lb-ft of torque capable engine.

This model is rated for up to 28 MPG on the highway but if you take a look at what some owners report getting with the model it becomes clear that with a closer look at the Touaregs MPG performance the model stand out from some of its competitors more than you might guess since many owners report getting 30-36 MPG with their SUVs.

So why are the EPA numbers inaccurate and can you expect to get 30+ MPG if you buy a VW Touareg? As we mentioned before the EPA test that results in a fuel economy rating does not actually involve driving the vehicle on roadways and precisely measuring how much fuel is used. Rather the test consists of mounting the vehicle in a stationary manner with the wheels on rollers and straps attached to keep the car immobile.

Air is fed into the front with a fan or two and the “driver” attempts to follow a curving line on a chart. The chart or graph line changes and the driver has to adjust the accelerator inputs to keep the vehicles engine speed on track with the chart output. This is meant to simulate real world driving but it isn’t hard to see some of the flaws.

While the rollers that the car's wheels are on can theoretically vary the effort required to spin them in a way that matches climbing hills and aerodynamic drag it seems that the test isn’t always that accurate.

Can You Get 30+ MPG In Your Touareg?

If you get a Touareg your ability to achieve MPG numbers higher than the 28 MPG estimate depends on a few variables.

If you do a lot of highway driving you shouldn’t have a problem hitting over 30 MPG on some tanks especially if you make sure to keep your tires well inflated and are driving with summer fuel. You may also be able to improve MPG performance with the right fuel additives such as a cetane booster.

If you do a lot of urban driving your chances of hitting the 30 mile per gallon mark are much more slim but that not to say that you can’t do better than the estimated MPG numbers for the city. Typically though in city driving hybrid drive models are somewhat superior since they can spend a lot of time running off of battery power.