Automakers today do a better job supporting their off-road enthusiasts than ever before. The popularity of crossovers and SUVs has put more people into high-riding vehicles who are curious about driving on some dirt, but you don’t need a shiny new SUV to get the job done.
A new video pits a newer Land Rover Discovery against an older Volkswagen Touareg to see which is the better off-road performer. However, both are tuned, with the owners adding an assortment of performance and engine upgrades, so this isn’t your typical fight of new metal. The Volkswagen looks poised to survive the apocalypse with its snorkel and black bed-liner paint, while the Land Rover is ready for some relaxation with its rooftop tent and interior kitchen.
The 2007 Touareg has a 5.0-liter V10 diesel that makes 352 horsepower and 1,000 Newton-meters (737 pound-feet) of torque. That’s more than 310 hp and 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) in a stock vehicle. It features a 50-millimeter (2.17-inch) suspension lift, giving it 290 mm (11.42 in) of ground clearance.
The Discovery has a smaller 3.0-liter V6 diesel tuned to make 306 hp and 600 Nm (442 lb-ft) of torque. Its suspension lift increased ground clearance to 358 mm (14.10 in). The VW has a power advantage, and it’s lighter, tipping the scales at 2,524 kilograms (5,564 pounds) to the Land Rover’s hefty 3,400-kg (7,495-lb) curb weight.
The two SUVs competed in six off-road challenges that tested both vehicles’ power and control capabilities, their chassis and suspension, turning radius, and more. While the VW looks like the more rugged of the two, the Land Rover’s narrower tires and extra weight – even though it raised the center of gravity – helped keep the Disco better planted through some of the tests.
The Land Rover also had the advantage of having modern off-road technology managing the wheel spin, brakes, and transmission. It makes navigating off-road terrain easier, but it’s not a superpower for these vehicles. While the Land Rover won the overall contest, the less technologically advanced (and cheaper) Volkswagen kept up with little trouble.
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