By KBB.com Editors
Volkswagen's first SUV has become an unmitigated success. Savvy consumers have warmed to the idea of getting Porsche technology (the Touareg shares much of its suspension and all-wheel drive components with the Porsche Cayenne) at a Volkswagen price. Combining a luxurious and option-rich interior with one of the most complex and capable four-wheel-drive systems in its class, the five-passenger Touareg continues to broaden its portfolio with a new standard V6 engine and the continuation of the segment's only V10 TDI turbo-diesel engine. Tight emission regulations limit sales to just 45 states, but new low-sulfur diesel makes the V10 TDI much more environmentally friendly. And, with 553 pound-feet of torque on hand, this is the midsize SUV to have if towing is a priority.
If you're shopping for an SUV that can go off-road with the best of them, yet can still pamper you like a king when planted on paved byways, the Touareg should be at the top of your list.
If you're a regular Volkswagen buyer the window sticker may shock you, and the Touareg does not offer a third-row seat.
A new 3.6-liter V6 becomes the standard engine on base models, while the Advanced Frontlight System becomes standard equipment on the V10 TDI. New options this year include a power rear liftgate and keyless access with push-button start.
Driving Impressions The Touareg is equipped with a four-wheel independent steel-spring suspension that produces a firm and controlled ride. The somewhat stiff spring rates and spot-on steering allow you to perform some...rather high-involvement maneuvers, proving that, even with a tall ride height, an SUV can still be a stable and competent performer.
V10 Turbo Diesel
The Touareg's V10 TDI diesel marks a major milestone in the American car market, reintroducing the diesel engine to the mainstream car-buying public.
Adjustable Center Differential
An adjustable center differential allows drivers to shift the torque load between the front and rear axles.
Though it seats only five, the Touareg is intended to compete head-on with such well-established models as the Volvo XC90, Acura MDX and BMW X5. To ensure its success, the Touareg has been outfitted with an interior that upstages even the most expensive of those competitors. Generous amounts of leather, wood trim and stylish chrome trim rings adorn the cockpit, affixed to a thoroughly modern dash and interior that look more Audi than Volkswagen.Exterior
The Touareg has combined the familial looks of the Passat and Jetta wagons with a big SUV platform that says, "I'm the real McCoy." Unlike many luxury SUVs, the Touareg's short front and rear overhangs and tall ride-height (evident by the enormous gaps between the tires and wheel arches) speak volumes about where the engineers intended this SUV to be capable to go.
The Touareg features a 3.6-liter V6, six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), traction control, electronic stability control, Hill Descent Assist, full-time 4XMotion four-wheel drive, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, tilt-down right side mirror, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlamp control, power glass moonroof, front side-impact and head-curtain airbags, 115-volt outlet in the cargo compartment, heated seats, tilt-wheel with touch controls, trip computer, 17-inch alloy wheels and a rear wiper/washer.
Options include a 350-horsepower 4.2-liter V8, a 310-horsepower V10 turbo diesel, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, navigation, leather seating, heated rear seat, 12-way power driver and passenger seats, air suspension, bi-xenon headlamps, Electronic Parking Assistance, 19-inch alloy wheels, the Advanced Frontlight System (standard on the V10), power rear liftgate and an upgraded audio system.
The standard 3.6-liter V6 is an acceptable engine for the Touareg and a necessity for those who want to get into this vehicle for less than $40,000. The new FSI 4.2-liter V8 is a gem of an engine. Its power and smooth operation rival more expensive V8s from BMW and Land Rover, but its fuel economy is nothing more than modest. If money is no object, the new V10 TDI diesel engine may be your best bet. Its massive torque provides excellent off-the-line acceleration, not to mention towing abilities above and beyond that of the gasoline engine. On the flip side, the V10 TDI will cost you more at the dealership and at the pump, as diesel fuel costs more than gasoline.
276 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20
350 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
324 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19
5.0-liter V10 Turbo Diesel
310 horsepower @ 3750 rpm
553 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22
By Jones (MI) on Thursday, April 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I considered trading this vehicle in when the fuel pumps failed at 150k miles but decided against it. Repairs on this vehicle are expensive, but I've only had maybe three major repairs in 10 years. I think I've driven the last 50k miles with no mechanical problems. This vehicle has 150k miles on it but it does not feel worn out at all. Its a V-8 engine. It handles great. Its very solid and I still like the way it looks after 10 years."
By daniel (DC) on Sunday, January 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "timeless and fucntional design"
Cons: "Needs plenty of premium fuel"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Nice SUV with real off road capabilities that surprise hard core 4wd enthusiasts. Simultaneously, very comfortable and capable highway cruiser, with exceptional road manners also in curvy roads and tight secondary roads. In the city, it is relativley easy to park due to excellent turning radius, it is not a mini or GTI, but surpisingly agile for a 5000lbs vehicle. Excellent towing vehicle that effortlessly tows 5000lb trailers at full highway speeds even on hills and reasonable fuel consumption. Interior build quality and level of luxury are top notch. Negatives really only are fuel consumption in town and only a 5 seater. So far excellent reliability. Electronic warnings are frequent but largely reset themselves, maybe electronics are just a bit overly sensitive"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Critical Driver (MA) on Monday, September 03, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Style, performance, comfort, safety, reliability."
Cons: "Gas mileage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"First off, if you're worried about gas mileage, you're looking at the wrong car. That's the only thing I can say negatively about my Touareg. Any European SUV in this category will be similar. The overall experience with this vehicle is great. Comfort, reliability, performance, off road capability, technology... all great. If you're living in an area with snowfall, this vehicle handles incredibly. Safe and strong in any weather. There's just something about a VW that grabs you and make you an enthusiast. I took my Touareg to the Outer Banks and drove it on the beach for a week... WOW!!! I passed a lot of BMWs that were stuck and even a few Jeeps!"
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Treg408 (NJ) on Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "V8, Air Suspension, Low Range, Lockers, Lights"
Cons: "MPG's, Maintenance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car used with 27000 miles on it back in April of 2012. I can not stress how much I love this car. The only repair it ever needed was to replace the driveshaft. The car is solid and secure in everyway possible. I have had this car off in some pretty rough terrain and it felt just as solid as it does at over 100 mph. The interior is top notch. The leather in my LR4 and the 2012 ML Bluetech can not match up. Everytime I drive the car I love it more and more. The adjustable suspension and the low range are my favorite features. I will keep this car well over 100,000 miles. It may be expensive to maintain but if you take care of it, it will take care of you. I love it and the V8 power is amazing."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Lidia (GA) on Monday, July 16, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"PROS: There are too many to single out, but our 2005 VW Touareg has a timeless elegance to it's appearance that often shocks people to know that it's not a newer vehicle. The quality of the leather seats and the shine of the wood grain and chrome accents adds to it's incredibly luxurious interior. It has amazing handling and offers a sturdy drive. The incorporated in-dash cooler help keeping a cool bottled drink on-hand during long road trips, while the "thunk" to each closing door reminds the driver that there is a great level of sound proofing from outside distractions. We've weathered heavy snow and torrential rains with heavy winds in our VW without feeling "vulnerable". The Touareg holds it's own. It never rolls back on hills and proves it's reliability year after year. CONS: For anything worth having, it's worth having to upkeep. Routine maintenance on the Touareg is a little pricey, but with it, the reliability of the Touareg is hands down PRICELESS. OVERALL: There are so many great things to say about the Touareg, but it's performance and reliability outshines them all. Never had a cold morning where my Touareg didn't start. Never had an engine failure. Never been stranded. Never. Reliability and luxury with an amazing drive; anything else is immaterial."
14 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By think twice (CO) on Wednesday, April 04, 2012
I don't own this caroverall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "super comfortable seats,luxurious inside."
Cons: "to expensive for even simple upkeep"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Beautiful car to look at but thats just about all you can do with it because the car is a GAS HOG!!! With the way gas prices are now adays its impossible to go anywhere.Also whole inside is electric,sounds kinda cool but actually pretty scary.It also has a electric system on the dash to tell you when somethings wrong with it.Not convienent when every five seconds somethings beeping saying its failing.Numerous times Ive been driving and it starts beeping telling me to pull over because the brakes failed.That is not actually the case my brakes are fine,but the system is faulty.ANNOYING and SCARY.I would only recommend if you have alot of money for upkeep,even a simple oil change turns out to be pricey."
16 people out of 17 found this review helpful