The EPA notified Volkswagen yesterday that certain models equipped with the 3-liter diesel engine were in violation of emissions regulations by being equipped with a defeat device. The list of affected models does not contain a range of production years as with the previous models that were found to be in violation, but only one specific year for each model.
Owners and enthusiasts are puzzled that the only year of the Touareg listed as affected is 2014 since the model did not change much from the preceding year. One theory is that the EPA has not listed all of the affected models yet and that more would be affected in the future.
There has been a lot of coverage recently devoted to that scandal where Volkswagen revealed that its vehicles have been polluting like a chemical company that dumps out its waste in poor neighborhoods late at night.
But this scandal seems to have taken our eye off the Volkswagen ball. I say this because the whole “cheating on diesel” thing is not Volkswagen’s only issue. It is merely one of a myriad of problems that has launched the brand into the mediocre, also-ran position where they find themselves in America today. And right now, I’m here to remind you of the largest of these problems: that they spend their money on absolutely the wrong things.
Until now, the EPA’s investigation into NOx emissions has centered around Volkswagen’s four-cylinder diesel engines equipped in the Jetta, Golf, Golf/Jetta SportWagen, Beetle Coupe/Convertible, Passat and Audi A3. The EPA is now investigating the larger 3.0-liter diesel, used by Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche, to see if it is compliant or affected by the same “defeat device”, says David Shepardson of the Detroit News.
The larger diesel mill is used in the Touareg, Audi A6/A7/A8/Q7, and Porsche Cayenne.
More as we have it.
The Touareg TDI is not your father’s Oldsmobile. I know, because I unfortunately drove my father’s 85HP, 1983 Cutlass Cierra diesel when I was a kid. Since my dad was a glutton for punishment, this was not his first unreliable GM diesel; we also had a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser with the infamous diesel V8. After about 30,000 miles, both our diesels smoked like a 60 year old hooker. Since potential clean diesel shoppers seem to fall into the 30-60 year old demographic, this is still the image that diesel brings to mind for many, not the reliable but low-volume European diesels from the 70s and 80s. If sales numbers are any indication however, BMW Mercedes and VW have been changing the tide of public opinion.
As a longtime champion of clean-diesel technology in the American market, Volkswagen’s decision to launch its all-new Touareg with a hybrid version comes as something of a surprise. Not only does VW have a stable of proven, efficient oil-burners to choose from, but the firm has, until very recently, savored its role as a skeptic of EV and hybrid drivetrains. And with the GM/Chrysler/BMW/Mercedes Two-Mode hybrid system conclusively failing to build a market for large gas-electric Utes, it seemed that the era of mass-market hybrid SUVs was at an end anyway. So, does VW’s excursion from its comfort zone make more sense on (or off) the road than on paper?
Well, this feels kind of like kicking a dog, doesn’t it? It’s not exactly opening up a new journalistic frontier to say “OMG THE CAYENNE SUX”. Rarely has a vehicle been as reviled as Porsche’s platform-promiscuous porky-pig of an SUV seems to universally be. Still, as Pope once said,
Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne’er tastes, and beauty ne’r enjoys…
And of all the vile variations on the Cayenne (at least two of which, it must be disclosed, your humble author operated as occasional-use vehicles) this “V6″ is the worst, the lowest, the most base, the most loathsome.