By KBB.com Editors
In a world dominated by SUVs that might look tough, but cower when led over challenging terrain, the 2010 Volkswagen Touareg is a rarity. It offers highly competent on-road driving dynamics, but when the pavement ends the Touareg also proves to be an extremely capable off-roader. Part of the VW Touareg's appeal lies in the fact that its underpinnings are shared with the much more expensive Porsche Cayenne. For those willing to forgo the exclusivity of the Porsche nameplate, the Touareg represents an opportunity to enjoy a similar driving experience at a lower price point. Despite its luxuriously-appointed cabin, however, many buyers will find the Touareg's five-passenger design flawed in light of the current trend among SUVs to offer seating for seven or more.You'll Like This Car If...
If you want the capabilities of an SUV and the handling dynamics of a sport-sedan combined into one vehicle, we think you'll like the VW Touareg. Whether on or off-road, its excellent chassis can handle anything you throw at it.You May Not Like This Car If...
While the Touareg's well-rounded character is a big part of its appeal, and few of its competitors are as capable off-road, there are both softer and sportier options in its price range. Also, even a fully loaded, $60,000+ Touareg has neither a premium badge nor a third row of seats.What's New for 2010
For 2010, the V8 model is dropped from the Touareg's lineup and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity is made standard on all trims.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2010 Volkswagen Touareg's on-road manners lean towards the sporting side of things, owing its firm, stable road feel to the suspension it shares with the Porsche Cayenne. The optional four-corner air-suspension helps smooth out the taut ride and adds more than three inches of ground clearance when adjusted to the highest level. Though few owners will ever take a Touareg off-road, those who do are likely to be amazed by its abilities, as a standard locking center differential and Hill Descent Assist make crawling up and down the steepest of trails a remarkably uneventful experience. Hard-core off-roaders will also appreciate the Touareg's ability to ford 22-inch deep water and the anti-lock braking system tuned to shorten braking distances on loose surfaces.Favorite Features
V6 Turbo Diesel
Volkswagen has long been a leader in bringing diesel engines to the American car buyer. With huge amounts of torque and a high level of refinement, the Touareg's clean diesel V6 may be the engine that finally converts American drivers into diesel fans.
The Touareg's standard 4XMotion four-wheel-drive system delivers the goods for bold and brave off-road enthusiasts. A low-range gear, adaptive torque distribution and locking center differential help take the Touareg over the most intimidating terrain.
Step inside the 2010 Volkswagen Touareg and you are treated to a richly-appointed cabin of leather, wood and chrome trim. Based on its quality of materials and level of comfort, the Touareg's interior easily rivals the best in the luxury SUV class. Where it can't compete, however, is in seating capacity. Many SUVs now offer a third row of seats, increasing occupant capacity to seven, but the Touareg remains a two-row SUV, thus limiting the number of seats to five. Luggage space, on the other hand, is quite good, thanks to a large, useful, squared-off rear cargo area.Exterior
Volkswagen is known for its small cars, but, despite its midsize SUV dimensions, the Touareg looks every bit a member of the VW family, with integrated wrap-around headlamps and a large chrome grille that echoes the look of the Volkswagen Passat. The Touareg's tall, wide stance gives the impression that it's ready to take on the toughest trails, as do short front and rear overhangs that also help improve approach and departure angles.Notable Standard Equipment
The standard equipment list for the VW Touareg includes features designed to enhance its on and off-road abilities, including anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control, stability control, Hill Descent Assist and 4XMotion four-wheel drive. Among the standard comfort and convenience features are dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights, 12-way power driver's seat, heated seats, sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels. Enhancing the safety of all Touareg's are front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, a sensor that can activate the airbags in the event of a rollover and a tire-pressure monitoring system.Notable Optional Equipment
There are four main option packages offered for the 2010 Volkswagen Touareg. Highlights for the Lux Package includes leather and wood trim, a heated steering wheel and a 12-way power passenger's seat, while the Lux Limited Package adds 20-inch wheels and body colored sport bumpers. Included in the Technology Package are hard-drive based navigation, single disc CD/DVD/MP3/WMA player, auxiliary audio and USB inputs, Bi-xenon headlamps, keyless entry and start and a rear back-up camera. To get the Dynaudio sound system, one must upgrade to the Premium Technology Package. Other available options include a tow hitch and, on TDI only, a four-corner air suspension.Under the Hood
The base 3.6-liter VR6 engine provides adequate power and helps the VW Touareg achieve its $41,500 starting price, but the new 3.0-liter V6 diesel is the engine of choice – especially for those who need maximum towing power. Not only does the diesel provide swift acceleration, it also delivers better fuel economy. All Touareg's are equipped with a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel drive.
280 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
265 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19
3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel
225 horsepower @ 3500 rpm
406 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25
The VW badge might fool you into thinking the 2010 Touareg is a moderately-priced SUV, but it actually competes in the luxury SUV class with strong players like the Acura MDX, Lexus RX 350, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC and the Land Rover LR4. The base price for a Volkswagen Touareg VR6 is about $41,500, while the Touareg TDI starts near $45,000. At its most expensive, a fully-optioned Touareg tops out around $60,000. To compare the actual transaction prices that consumers are paying for the Volkswagen Touareg, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Prices. Residual values for the Volkswagen Touareg are expected to remain on par with the Land Rover LR4, Mercedes-Benz ML550 and 350 BlueTEC, but fall behind those of the BMW X5, Acura MDX and Lexus RX 350.