We’re now officially in summer time, and that makes for great off-roading opportunities here on the Colorado trails. In this video, that’s exactly what we’re up to — taking our “Tough T” 2004 Volkswagen Touareg up a challenging and technical trail. This time, though, our friend Storm also brought along his modified Jeep Grand Cherokee. Both are seriously capable SUVs in their own right, but Storm’s rig isn’t just any off-the-lot Grand Cherokee. Check out the video above for a closer look at just how each SUV performs on the trails.
Starting with Storm’s Grand Cherokee, his 2018 Trailhawk is packing a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine. Instead of going with the Wrangler or one of the Grand Cherokee’s more conventional SUV or crossover competitors, he decided to go this route because of the car’s proven platform and the bang-for-your-buck factor. The standard Pentastar V6 with 295 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Opt for the Hemi (a $3,395 option on the Trailhawk), and that output increases to 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, with the power routed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Back in the 2004 Volkswagen Touareg’s day, you could actually get it with three engine options. Beyond the standard VR6 gasoline engine, you could also get it with a monstrous 5.0-liter V10 turbodiesel in its first generation. However, we have a 4.6-liter gas V8 which put out 310 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque when new. Like the Grand Cherokee, our Touareg also has a unibody construction, air suspension and all-wheel drive. This particular car goes one step further with a center and rear-locking differential, while the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has an electronic limited-slip rear differential as standard equipment.
Tires and ground clearance
Since both cars do have air suspension, they’re able to raise up to a more practical ride height for going off-road. When straight ground clearance isn’t enough though, Storm made use of both Mopar rock sliders as well as aftermarket underbody protection for his Grand Cherokee. The Jeep is riding on Falken Wildpeak A/T3W tires, while the Tough T Touareg uses BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrains.
Thanks to the beefier tires on both SUVs, there’s about 13 inches of ground clearance when both cars lift up to their off-road settings. Mind you, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is 14 years newer, so its air suspension works much faster to raise it to its maximum height. The all-terrain tires add another inch or so of ride height to each car, allowing the bodies to rise well out of the way of any obstacles.
As far as capability is concerned, the $4,600 Volkswagen Touareg manages to keep up well with the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. Storm spent $32,000 on his one-year-old example when he bought it, plus another $3,000 or so in parts. While that is a ton of money against the VW, it actually represents a good value proposition against something like a Wrangler or a Toyota 4Runner.
Of course, we’ll have more off-road videos coming up soon, so stay tuned to TFLcar.com for much more!