KBB Editors' Overview
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're a regular Volkswagen buyer the window sticker may shock you, and the Touareg does not offer a third-row seat.
What's Significant About This Car?
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.
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.
The Touareg shares its chassis and suspension setup with the Porsche Cayenne, a fact you'll want to point out to your friends while they're trying to digest the Touareg's sub-$40,000 starting price. For those who prefer a less European-style ride, Volkswagen offers an advanced air-suspension system that does an excellent job of damping out road imperfections without sacrificing too much of the Touareg's sporting capabilities.
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.
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.
Notable Standard Equipment
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.
Notable Optional Equipment
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.
Under the Hood
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
The Touareg V6 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $38,660, which can quickly move up as options are added. The V8 Touareg stickers for $43,660, while a fully-loaded V10 TDI tops out around $70,000. The Fair Purchase Price shows the actual prices consumers are paying in your area, so be sure to check it out before you buy. The Touareg V6 competes well with the price and resale figures of the Acura MDX and Lexus RX 330, and bests the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. Over a five-year period the V8-powered Touareg posts slightly lower resale values than the more expensive BMW X5 4.4i, but slightly higher than the Mercedes-Benz ML500. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport has the same high resale value as the Touareg V8 but costs nearly $30,000 more.